Thursday, July 10, 2008


We have noted before that, contrary to popular image, among the biggest readers of Matt Drudge are other journalists and that more than a few of his stories are planted by these journalists in order to drive readers to their copy. Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post confirms this:

Chris Cillizza, The Fix In interviews with more than a dozen operatives -- many of whom are rightly classified "Drudgeologists" for their intimate study of the likes and dislikes of the man and the site -- two major reasons are offered.

First and foremost, is the depth -- and the quality -- of Drudge's readership. Drudge's number of unique visitors is regularly touted but what is more important, in terms of his ability to drives news cycles, is that every reporter and editor who covers politics is checking the site multiple times a day.

Phil Singer, former deputy communications director for Hillary Rodham Clinton's presidential campaign and now a Democratic consultant, called Drudge's "elite readership" a key to his influence. Singer added that a walk through any press filing center at a debate reveals every other laptop, at least, has Drudge's website up on its screen.

The second major reason for Drudge's influence, according to the Fix's informal poll of Drudgeologists is his ability to sniff out a potentially big story when others -- including reporters -- miss it at first glance.

"He can identify what's a big deal even when the reporters who actually cover and report on an event don't realize what they have," said one GOP strategist granted anonymity to speak candidly. "He scoops reporters' scoops."

Kevin Madden, a Republican operative now with the Glover Park Group, said that Drudge's site serves as a "national political assignment editor of sorts for those covering the campaign trail."

Katie Levinson, former communications director for former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, echoed Madden's sentiment: "The Drudge Report has become the must-read for TV anchors and radio personalities before they go on air, for bookers sorting out what's 'newsy' in a non-stop news cycle, and for political candidates looking to avoid getting blindsided by the press."

Regardless of the reason given for Drudge's power, to a person, everyone The Fix spoke to agreed that there is no single tool more powerful in the modern media for breaking a story or turning up the volume on a little-noticed comment.


At July 12, 2008 2:04 AM, Anonymous Mike Flugennock said...

You've forgotten the most important thing about the Drudge Report, and that's it's an excellent place to find out what brain-numbingly inane sensationalistic "news" is going to make the top of the show on NBC "Today" the following morning – at least more often than not.


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