Opinion

Good Riddance To Drudge

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Posted: Jul 30, 2020 12:01 AM
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
Good Riddance To Drudge

Source: AP Photo/Michael Caulfield

It used to be a thrill for conservatives to get “Drudged” – to have their piece linked on the Drudge Report. It meant traffic (which translated into money) and that a large audience would see it. It probably still means those things, only now it means them to progressive writers and websites. Whatever Drudge was, it’s not anymore.

You’d be hard-pressed to spot the difference between the Drudge Report and the Huffington Post. Aside from his love of weather porn, Tom Brady, and anything Oprah or transgender-related, you might as well go to CNN. At least with CNN you’re getting it from the primary source.

There are all sorts of stories about what happened to Matt Drudge, as happens when someone is a paranoid recluse. Some say he sold the site to anti-Trumpists, others say he’s soured on Republicans because they didn’t build the wall. Rumors are rampant.

He may well have sold the site, it’s his to sell if he wanted to and who wouldn’t at least be tempted if someone drove a Brinks truck to your house and offered it to you so you wouldn’t have to work anymore?

The idea that Matt is upset that the wall isn’t completed doesn’t hold much water. He’s reportedly a lot of things, but stupid isn’t one of them. He knows how government works, or doesn’t.

Whatever it was that changed, the website has changed. Drudge doesn’t do original reporting, the idea that he’s a journalist was always laughable. He gets emails from reporters with the title of their piece and a link, then editors decide if it’s worth putting on the site. The “original reporting” he’s done, to the extent that he’s done it, is sent to him the same way, usually stories editors at other organizations spike or teasers for stories still in development. When someone in conservative media said “Drudge is reporting…” it was usually about a story that was going to run in the next couple of days at the Washington Post, New York Times, or somewhere else, not something he worked on. He doesn’t do that.

What Matt did do, better than almost anyone else, was find the nugget buried in a story that either wasn’t highlighted and should have been, or undercuts the liberal narrative. Drudge and his editors filtered through thousands of stories (emails, actually) to find those nuggets and shine a bright light on them. Since he turned on Republicans, that aspect from the Drudge Report is gone.

But did he really turn? Was Matt Drudge really a conservative or just an opportunist?

When Roger Ailes started Fox News, he knew there was an untapped market out there of conservatives who were not being served by the liberal media. The same was true for Drudge (though he had his big story – the Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky affair – dropped in his lap), only he was exclusively online. The difference between the two, however, was glossed over.

There was no doubt that Ailes was a conservative, and he assembled his team accordingly. With Drudge, it was him. There was no team to assemble, until he hired Andrew Breitbart. By then, he’d found his niche. His politics before, during, and after were simply assumed. But what if he were simply an opportunist who saw an opening?

Not that he’s a liberal, but a new book suggests he’s not much of anything. Last week, Tucker Carlson had on author Matthew Lysiak who said Matt Drudge is only interested in what’s best for Matt Drudge.

There’s nothing wrong with that, obviously, you have to have some of that mentality to succeed in business. But it’s not what the audience thought, we thought he was on our team. Maybe Drudge didn’t change, maybe he just saw a different opportunity?

The rage on the left is good for business. If you don’t have any core beliefs, you’d be smart to try to capture some of it. I don’t know if the Drudge Report can, liberals hold a grudge forever and they hate Matt Drudge. But if the traffic numbers he posts on his site are real, he hasn’t suffered at all from this shift. I’m just not one of them anymore. (Going there to check those numbers was the first time I’d been to that site in months.)

Drudge was the only game in town for a long time, now he’s not. You don’t need a clearing house for buried news nuggets, there are countless conservative sites doing original reporting on those nuggets that makes him almost irrelevant. Nothing can be hidden anymore.

There were always rumors about Matt Drudge circulating, anyone who works in media has heard them. I have no idea if they’re true or not, so I won’t repeat what I’ve been whispered here, but I do know from people who know him is that he’s a very private and odd guy. What he’s like has always been speculated about, but what was never speculated about was whether or not he was conservative. Maybe it should have been.

If you want to find out what RuPaul is up to or the latest news involving Grace Jones, the Drudge Report is your place to go. If you want to be marinated in coronavirus death-porn and be led to believe we’re all going to die because of President Trump, it has you covered. If soft-pedaling riots and sucking up to Democrats is your kink, you have your homepage. If you want the news leftists don’t want you to have access to, thanks in large part to the model created by Matt Drudge, you have countless alternatives.

In a weird way, Matt Drudge’s success made Matt Drudge’s conversion less relevant, which makes losing him a lot easier. Thanks, Matt, for establishing that conservatives can dominate on the web. Now don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

Derek Hunter is the host of a free daily podcast (subscribe!), host of a daily radio show on WCBM in Maryland, and author of the book, Outrage, INC., which exposes how liberals use fear and hatred to manipulate the masses. Follow him on Twitter at @DerekAHunter and on Parler at @DerekHunter.