22
Oct
07

The Power of Drudge

One of my classmates asked me the other day why I read the DrudgeReport.

Simply put, Drudge is the most powerful influencer of contemporary policital news coverage today. Very often, what you read on Drudge today is what you’ll see in the paper, on the radio, or on TV tomorrow. Although big-name reporters wont admit it, most of them read Drudge multiple times a day.

Enough of my analysis, though. I’ll let the New York Times pick it up from here. Today’s edition has a great story on how political campaigns from both parties are relying on Drudge to drive mainstream media coverage of their candidate:

As Senator Barack Obama prepared to give a major speech on Iraq one morning a few weeks ago, a flashing red-siren alert went up on the Drudge Report Web site. It read, “Queen of the Quarter: Hillary Crushes Obama in Surprise Fund-Raising Surge,” and, “$27 Million, Sources Tell Drudge Report.”Within minutes, the Drudge site had injected Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s fund-raising success into the day’s political news on the Internet and cable television. It did not halt coverage of Mr. Obama’s speech or his criticism of her vote to authorize the war in 2002, but along the front lines of the campaign — the hourly, intensely fought effort to capture the news cycle or deny ownership of it to the other side — it was a telling assault.

Mrs. Clinton’s aides declined to discuss how the Drudge Report got access to her latest fund-raising figures nearly 20 minutes before the official announcement went to supporters. But it was a prime example of a development that has surprised much of the political world: Mrs. Clinton is learning to play nice with the Drudge Report and the powerful, elusive and conservative-leaning man behind it.

That man, Matt Drudge, came to national prominence a decade ago as a nemesis of the Clintons who used the Web to peddle, gleefully, the latest news and rumor generated by the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

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