PEJ New Media Index: Health Care Bill Dominates Blogs

HealthCareProtestor.jpgThe debate over the health care bill dominated the blogosphere, Apple-product stories topped Twitter, and the most-watched news and politics video on YouTube was an 11-minute movie about Hungarian politics by filmmaker Gery Greyhound, according to the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism’s New Media Index for the week of March 15-19.

A total of 56 percent of news links shared via blogs were related to the health care legislation, marking the highest percentage since 63 percent of shared links by bloggers the week of June 15-19, 2009, were related to the post-election protests in Iran. Health care was followed by: an article in the Los Angeles Times about Virginia Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who launched a conservative Tea Party group, at 11 percent; a BBC story about a man in Britain who assaulted a female police officer with his genitalia, at 10 percent; an interactive graphic, also from the BBC, listing the top 100 Websites, at 8 percent; and yet another BBC item about the 25th anniversary of the dotcom name, at 7 percent.

Among the Apple-related stories that dominated the 21 percent of news links sent via Twitter: a Mashable post about the iPad’s battery-replacement plan and a report in Wired about Web sites that review iPhone applications and request payment from developers in exchange for product write-ups. Apple was followed by: a Wired story about a hacker in Austin, Texas, who broke into a Web-based vehicle-immobilization system, disabling cars or tinkering with their horns, at 19 percent; CNET’s report on Twitter’s new @Anywhere function, at 7 percent; Google at 6 percent, including a CNET story about the possible demise of Google Buzz and an story that Google would drop censorship on its search engine in China; and a blog entry from Seth Godin listing tasks that are better than watching television, at 5 percent.

On YouTube, the Gery Greyhound video was followed by: Jesse Ventura discussing his new book about American conspiracies on the March 10 edition of The View; a seven-minute Web ad by California Senate hopeful Carly Fiorina attacking current Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.); a Reporters Without Borders video against censorship; and a video of crazed customers at the opening of the first H&M store in Toulouse, France.