Name the most popular (and only) blog in the top 50 Internet properties (by traffic). Think it’s Instapundit, Powerline, BoingBoing, or hey, even this site? Wrong, wrong, wrong, and really wrong. It is the one and only Drudge Report, of course — and right about now is the tenth anniversary of Matt’s still-influential site.
It is worth reminding people newly hyperventilating about blogs — which, by the way, Matt Drudge maintains he is not — that a) Matt beat ‘em all to the punch, b) he gets more traffic than most of the popular blogs, combined, and c) he clears better than $65,000 a month and they, well, don’t.
Turning to influence, while blogs took down Dan Rather, it took an en masse approach to take out that dopey soon-to-retire journalist. Say what you will about Drudge, he nearly took down a sitting president singlehandedly. Sure, he did it mostly because he could; and yes, he created a dangerous political attack culture that will outlast all of us, but you can’t deny his impact.
Such seriousness aside, you also have to be tickled by a guy who is so demonstrably a weather geek. Darn it all, Drudge has a link to a live California earthquake monitor on his front page, and nothing gets him wound up faster than the appearance of an Atlantic hurricane taking a bead on south Florida. I think he loves to write, “HELLSTORM”.
So, is Drudge an unalloyed force for anything at all, or is he just a nihilist with boffo page-views? Neither. He is frequently scurillous, silly, vain-glorious, and vamping, but you can’t deny that he still breaks stories, or at least finds stuff before everyone else does and then pounds that drum relentlessly (even if it’s a misguided attempt to get Chris Rock fired as Oscar host). In other words, Matt Drudge may be a force for something — but that something is really just the greater glory of Matt Drudge. Hey, maybe he’s a blogger after all…