That included a video clip of country music artist Hank Williams Jr. comparing President Obama to Adolf Hitler on “Fox & Friends,” and another clip of conservative journalist Tucker Carlson saying NFL player Michael Vick should be executed for abusing and killing dogs.
The study examined the top five videos listed each week under the “news and politics” channel on YouTube over a 15-month period, from January 2011 to March 2012. The study tracked around 260 videos in all and analyzed “the nature of the video, the topics that were viewed most often, who produced them and who posted them. “
Just over half of the most-watched videos on YouTube originated from a news organization, the study said. However, citizens produced more than one-third of the videos considered in the study.
The remaining 5 percent came from political or activist organizations.
The study describes how YouTube users are playing a key role in shaping the news agenda. People are not only creating video footage that is being used by professional news organizations, they’re also “actively sharing news videos produced by professionals that they consider powerful,” the study said.
Pew observed that more than half of the most popular news videos did not feature any single individual.
While Obama was featured the most in the news videos analyzed in the study, only 4 percent of the 260 videos focused on the president. They included Obama’s 2011 address at the White House Correspondents' Dinner, two versions of the announcement regarding Osama bin Laden's death and the 2012 State of the Union address.
The most popular videos, however, featured natural disasters and political upheavals outside of the United States. That included the Japanese earthquake, elections in Russia and protests in the Middle East. Pew attributed this to 70 percent of YouTube’s Web traffic being concentrated abroad.