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December 09, 2009

Public Interest in “Climategate”

Last week, Jan Corn on Associated Content compared the public interest in “Climategate” to the Tiger Woods scandal using an analysis of quantity of Twitter posts.


Building on the Twitter analysis, EUReferendum compared “the number of general web pages on Google compared with the number of news reports recorded.”  That analysis concluded that “the public in general are more interested in "Climategate" than Tiger Woods, by a factor of nearly 20 times.”


Really?  I guess it all depends on how you define the public. 


Does the quantity of twitter messages or web pages on a topic = general public interest? Maybe it is an indication that a subset of the public is inordinately focused on it while the rest of the public is not paying attention? 


An examination (see Health Care and Energy Policy – A Tale of Two Networks ) of the spread of content associated with “climategate” indicates that apart from the conservative bloggers and those that focus on climate skepticism this issue does not appear to be one where the public at large is paying attention.


The maps below represent links from bloggers to the top content (total links from blogs) on this topic from each of the following sources: YouTube; Fox News; the Washington Post; and the New York Times.  With the exception of the Times piece, which relative to the other articles downplayed the importance of the issue, the link patterns clearly show content that is gaining lots of attention from a narrow audience.



(NOTE – Morningside embargoes data from our ongoing research on Health and Energy policy for one week.  Contact us to find out about our non-embargoed subscription service and for custom research).






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