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Death of Senator Edward Kennedy Draws Web Buzz on Both Sides
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Death of Senator Edward Kennedy Draws Web Buzz on Both Sides

Maggie Gray, Research Analyst, Online Division

When Sen. Edward Kennedy died late on Tuesday Aug. 25, a year after his 2008 appearance at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, news coverage and online discussion began in earnest as soon as the Kennedy family made the announcement.

By the end of Wednesday (Aug. 26) Kennedy attracted nearly 1% of all blog buzz, according to Nielsen’s BlogPulse search engine, and by Thursday morning (Aug. 27), he was the most-discussed person in the blogosphere. His New York Times obituary was also the most-cited news story among bloggers and the phrase “Ted Kennedy dies” was the phrase used most by bloggers Aug. 26-27.

Consumers posted comments about Kennedy, not only on political and news blogs, but on celebrity blogs as well. Key political blogs where discussion took place included liberal-leaning sites the Huffington Post and Crooks & Liars as well as conservative-leaning sites Michelle Malkin and Hot Air, and differences in opinion were obvious. Comments on liberal-leaning blogs recounted Kennedy’s accomplishments as a champion for labor, the poor and for universal health care, which he called the “cause of my life.” Comments on conservative blogs were much harsher and critical of Kennedy, not only for his politics but also for his personal life.

The month prior to his death, the Senator was increasingly mentioned in conversations surrounding the passage of a health care bill as was his wish to have a successor named quickly upon his passing.