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Power of Political Endorsements Evident in Web Search

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Power of Political Endorsements Evident in Web Search

Digital Life

Power of Political Endorsements Evident in Web Search

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Okay, here's a big question. How powerful are political endorsements? Answer, in part, why not check on the Web? What do we mean, well, Geoffrey Bennett knows the score and he's our Web producer here at NEWS & NOTES.

Hey, Geoff.

GEOFFREY BENNETT: What's up, Farai?

CHIDEYA: Well, as you can tell, things are starting to crystallize and solidify in terms of this race. So you've got this endorsement of Barack Obama by Senator Ted Kennedy and his niece, Caroline Kennedy. How's that reverberating online?

BENNETT: Well, it's interesting. After Caroline Kennedy's op-ed appeared in The New York Times, searches of her name rose 179 percent, mainly by people over the age of 35 and across the two-thirds of the nation geographically. Now this is according to Yahoo Buzz Index. Now, for Ted Kennedy, his searches went up 248 percent. People were also searching for more about JFK, Maria Shriver and Jacqueline Kennedy.

So the question is, what does it mean for Obama? Well, after this endorsement, people went online to check out his other endorsements. They were searching for information about his religion and for more info about his wife. But Yahoo's overall search analysis suggests that his endorsement - the Kennedys' endorsement might have rekindled more interest in the Kennedy legacy and less, you know, driving support for Obama's campaign.

CHIDEYA: Now, what about the bloggers who are, you know, in our camp. What story are they hitting?

BENNETT: Well, in the Democratic side, among bloggers, the Web site Blogpolls, which measure these trends, posted about Hillary Clinton outnumbered blog post about Barack Obama, leading up to last weekend, South Carolina primary. And interestingly, on January 24th, two days before the voting started in South Carolina, posts about Bill Clinton spiked and they equal the numbers of posts about Barack Obama. But after he won in South Carolina, post about Obama spiked and he's been the most blogged about candidate ever since. Now, on the Republican side, John McCain has been and is the most blogged about candidate.

CHIDEYA: What about on News and Views, our own blog?

BENNETT: Well, lot of issues people are talking about. They run the spectrum. They're talking about Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick's text message scandal, suggesting an affair with his female chief of staff, which could lead to perjury charges. We called it textual healing on our blog.

(Soundbite of laughter)

BENNETT: Bill M wrote about it - read about it and wrote. Kilpatrick's stays in the news proving all the naysayers right with his childish antics and questionable judgment. He should resign.

And there's also the news that Broadway's "The Color Purple" is closing next month due to slow ticket sales and some people said it was because of singer Fantasia left the show without any thunder after she left.

CHIDEYA: All right. Just briefly, what do you think about the newsletter? What does that offer people that everything else we do doesn't? We've got the radio show and the blog. But, you know, you put out this great newsletter every day. What's going on with that?

BENNETT: Well, we've got headlines that pertain to African-Americans. We have highlights from the show. And the difference is - it's called Push me (unintelligible). It's a '90s Internet buzz word. And the idea is that you get all these things that you want sent to your inbox every day without having to surf from Web site to Web site. And it's a service that we offer.

CHIDEYA: All right, well, I hope people check it out.

Geoff, thanks so much.

BENNETT: Thank you.

CHIDEYA: Geoffrey Bennett is the Web producer for NEWS & NOTES, and he joined me in our studios at NPR West.

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