About a decade ago I’d heard all sorts of rumors about Matt Drudge, many from friends who were in positions to know or at least suspect, and none of them were good. I remember thinking if those rumors were true, and they were proven and exposed, that would do some serious damage to conservatism. Thankfully, it didn’t come to that. Drudge wasn’t destroyed from without, it was destroyed from within, by Matt himself. Thankfully, it happened long after he and his website mattered.
I still don’t know if those rumors are true, but Matt Drudge no longer matters. Even the concept of the Drudge Report doesn’t matter. And that’s great news for conservatives.
At its core, the Drudge Report was a cult of personality – a portal designed to elevate Matt Drudge. Why else name the site after himself? People who name their websites after themselves are, I’d say without exception, egomaniacs. Anyone think Arianna Huffington is a joy to work for or has a good, self-deprecating sense of humor? Every single person, on our side or theirs, with a “news” website with their name in it is an egomaniac who couldn’t give a damn about you. The louder they protest, they more desperately they’re trying to hide the truth.
Drudge lead that pack. Created it, as a matter of fact. Now, pretenders spend most of their time promoting their own eponymous sites on social media and various airwaves, pathetically making themselves the content, or selling out to other companies and running off with the cash as their house of cards they built collapses behind them. HuffPo is nearly worthless while Arianna isn’t missing a single meal, for one example.
Now the Drudge Report doesn’t matter. Not because one of these other horrible people, these egomaniacs, came up with an alternative shrine to themselves that replaced it, but because dozens, if not hundreds of actual news outlets replaced it.
You don’t need to go to Drudge to find out what’s happening, unless you really care about what Grace Jones or Rex Reed are up to. You can get exactly what Drudge used to give you from Townhall, the Daily Caller, the Washington Free Beacon, Washington Examiner, American Greatness, Real Clear Politics, and so many more that if I listed them all this column would be a book.
Nothings slips through the cracks anymore because there aren’t cracks anymore to slip through. Conservative media filled them all.
Moreover, the one thing that made Drudge invaluable is he used to weed through a long news story in, say, the New York Times that was as liberal as the day is long and pick out the news nugget they buried in there that either undercut their thesis or damaged the left. Matt would make that nugget his version of their headline and link to their story. Now, since the invention of Twitter, literally everyone can do that.
Tweets from people you’ve never heard of and will never meet go viral because they read some Times or Washington Post story and noticed something in paragraph 18 or so, screen captured it, sent it out and people noticed. For that story, in that instance, that random person was the Drudge Report, and in a way that was more immediate and impactful than the old one.
The Drudge Report and every aggregation website copying, or attempting to copy, what Matt did is irrelevant now. Sure, they still get traffic, habits are hard to break, but they’re irrelevant in the grand scheme of things.
It used to be that getting a Drudge link was killer for web traffic, now it’s a bump compared to what it once was. And none of the other wannabe sites come close, even to that bump.
There simply is no need for Drudge or the pretenders, monuments to ego have outlived their usefulness. Sure, they promise they’re only doing it for the good of this or that, but they’re lying. If there weren’t money in it they wouldn’t have done it. It’s always the people who say they don’t care about money the loudest who do the most for any amount of it, isn’t it?
The success of conservative news outlets has made the original that inspired them, and all the wannabes after, irrelevant. None of those successful conservative sites would exist were it not for Drudge, and their success is what is ultimately ruining Drudge. Do you think that site would have changed to be a left-wing pit, which is easy and lazy, if there was still a need for what it used to do? Good riddance, I say, we’re better off without the real thing or the pretenders.