It’s a typical day for any office worker: come into work; get a cup of coffee; then check the Drudge Report before actually getting to work. One can be guaranteed to read a negative story about Democrats, an article against illegal immigrants, an article about Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, or the current celebrity punching bag of the day. Not every single story is true, but it doesn’t matter; it’s on the Drudge Report! Love or hate Matt Drudge and/or his website, he is the most powerful man in America. He has the ability to make any thought or agenda on his mind talked about by everybody. Popular newspapers, such as the Washington Post, often get ideas for their stories based on what’s on the Drudge Report.
Drudge’s job isn’t as easy and glamorous as one would think. In an interview with the Sunday Times in London, Drudge talked about how he works late, tracking down stories, searching dozens of news agencies, web-sites, newspapers, radio broadcasts, television channels and tip-offs in the hope that he will be the first to bag tomorrow’s headlines. “I was first to break the news about the death of Lady Diana,” he told the Sunday Times “The CNN team couldn’t get into make-up fast enough.” Mr. Druge works a very grueling schedule. “Yesterday I spent 13 hours in my hotel room looking for news. I’ve done seven hours already today and will do another seven tonight.” Matt Drudge, who often exposes the private lives of others, is very guarded about his private life. “I’m not very social. I live on an island in Miami, Florida, and I do my own shopping and pay my taxes,” he says. “And I’m not mean.”
One reason to love Matt Drudge is the fact that he symbolizes the American dream. After graduating #341 (out of 355) in his high school class, Drudge took such jobs as a cashier at 7-11, telemarketer for Time/Life Books, and manager at a McDonalds. Eventually, Drudge moved to Hollywood in 1989, where he would obtain a job in the gift shop at CBS studios. He soon worked his way up to manager and would be able to obtain inside information that founded his Drudge Report, which started as an email newsletter that was posted to the alt.showbiz.gossip Usenet forums. He eventually started to gain a following, even though it was only the early days of the Internet.
In 1996, the Drudge Report website debuted and he was on his way to earning millions. Even though he broke some minor political stories, Matt Drudge would eventually hit his big break on the morning of January 18, 1998, when he broke the Bill Clinton/Monica Lewinsky scandal. Newsweek was originally going to break the story, but after editors declined, Drudge took over and would soon develop a system of journalism in which editors would become completely irrelevant.
Many would say that in Drudge’s world, fact checking has become irrelevant as well. In 1997, Drudge smeared Clinton aide Sydney Blumenthal by citing false reports of domestic violence. He also spread stories about John Kerry’s affair with an intern, CNN’s Michael Ware heckling two Republican senators, and too many other false stories to mention. So is this a good reason to dislike him?
Perhaps, before accusing Matt Drudge of unethical journalism practices, we should look at fallen news anchor Dan Rather and his poorly researched mess. Then, we can read the Los Angeles Times and their pathetic revelation of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s past right before the California Recall Election in 2003. We can always go to the East Coast, look at the New York Times, and come up with two words: 1)Jayson 2)Blair. It all becomes rather apparent that traditional journalism, itself, has turned into joke. Whether shilling for the left (Time, Newsweek, CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC, Los Angeles Times, New York Times) or the right (Fox News), journalism is not the same it used to be. I miss the times one could read a newspaper or magazine that reports an event without a political bias. Matt Drudge is not to blame for the fall of modern day journalism. He is the one who picked up the pieces and ran with them.
Matt Drudge has destroyed traditional journalism and has given power to the blogger. Thanks to the man who was denounced as an idiot with a modem, we can all be critics, reporters, or comics. We don’t need an editor telling us what is right and what is wrong. We don’t need editors hand picking response letters that give an illusion that a certain article was good. Circulation for traditional print magazines and newspapers has been decreasing dramatically over the past couple years. Thank you, Matt Drudge, for a job well done!