New Media Index: Bloggers Find Religion, Tweeters Find Dead Mouse in Their Bread

Bloggers lost their religion over a Los Angeles Times story about a survey showing that atheists and agnostics were more knowledgeable about religion than followers of major faiths, while the most-Tweeted news link was a BBC item about a British food production company that was forced to pay a fine after a man found a dead mouse embedded in a loaf of bread, and the most-viewed news and politics video on YouTube was Swiss finance minister Hans-Rudolf Merz laughing uncontrollably while delivering a speech, according to the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism’s New Media Index for the week of Sept. 27-Oct. 1.

The holy war (or non-holy war) accounted for 23 percent of news links shared by bloggers, and it was followed by: an item from The Washington Post about the administration of President Barack Obama urging a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit over its targeting of a U.S. citizen living overseas with alleged ties to Al Qaeda, at 15 percent; another Washington Post offering, this one a column by Princeton University philosophy Prof. Kwame Anthony Appiah suggesting that future generations will condemn the current one for institutions such as the prison system and practices such as industrial meat production, at 9 percent; also at 9 percent a Los Angeles Times report about comments from former CIA director Michael Hayden that the president should have the authority to shut down the Internet in times of crisis; and astronomers’ discovery of Gliese 581G, the first planet found in another solar system believed to have the basic conditions needed to support extraterrestrial life, at 7 percent.

The dead-mouse sandwich accounted for 13 percent of news links shared via Twitter, and it was followed by: the announcement of the BlackBerry Playbook tablet, at 12 percent; Google’s plans for a new computer-image format that will decrease file sizes by as much as 40 percent compared with JPEG, at 9 percent; the discovery of a 36 million-year-old fossil from a giant penguin in Peru, at 6 percent; and Tour de France winner Alberto Contador testing positive for a banned substance, at 5 percent.

And the cackling finance minister was followed on the list of most-viewed YouTube news and politics videos by: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie confronting a heckler during a campaign rally; Stephen Colbert testifying about immigration before a House subcommittee; footage from the political campaign of Brazilian clown Tiririca; and a video from German comedy group Die Aussenseiter.