Table 7-6
Science/technology-related news stories attracting most public interest: 2000–02
News stories Public interest Date question asked
Reports of anthrax in United States 47 Nov-01
Firestone tire recall 42 Oct-00
Winter weather in Northeast and Midwest 42 Jan-01
Reports of anthrax in United States 41 Nov-01
Hurricanes in Louisiana and Gulf of Mexico 38 Oct-02
Cases of West Nile virus 34 Sep-02
Bush decision on stem cell research 31 Aug-01
Federal ruling on Microsoft 28 Jun-00
Food and Drug Administration's decision on RU-486 26 Oct-00
Outbreak of foot-mouth disease in Europe 22 Mar-01
Midwest floods 20 Apr-01
Droughts in United States 19 Apr-02
Reports on AIDS in Africa 19 Jul-00
Worldwide AIDS epidemic 19 Aug-01
Hackers attacking websites 18 Feb-00
Mad cow disease in Europe 18 Aug-01
AOL-Time Warner merger 17 Jan-00
Government's plan for Microsoft 16 May-00
Mapping human genetic code 16 Jul-00
Earthquake in India 15 Feb-01
Missile defense system 15 May-01
Oil spill off coast of Spain 15 Dec-02
Reports of cloned baby by religious cult 14 Jan-03
Court ruling in Microsoft case 13 Apr-00
Floods in Mozambique 10 Mar-00
United Nations special session on AIDS 6 Jul-01
NOTE: Percents reflect respondents who said they followed the story “very closely.” Because Pew Research Center surveys are conducted every 2 weeks, the “reports of anthrax” item appears twice in November 2001.

SOURCE: Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, News Interest Index, Public Attentiveness to News Stories: 1986–2002 (Washington, DC, 2003).
Science & Engineering Indicators — 2004
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