Tenth Anniversary of Drudge Report

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…


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  2. David Bennett says:

    I don’t think Drudge created the attack culture, it had blossumed in radio and his was mild compared to what spurted in the discussion groups of the net. Come to think of it thirty some years ago there was “none dare call it treason” and “none dare call it conspiracy” which sold millions and placed people like Nixon with the commies.
    There is a lot of this spilling out right now, the recent Atlantic Monthly has an article suggesting that like sports it’s frequently a form of ritual conflict play which may actually be bonding us culturally. Beyond this is the hubris. The nutcases are surging forth in extreme confidence. They’ve already classed Republican senators McCain, Lugar and Hagel as leftists, leftists being people who worship Chomsky and glorify Osama. The thing is that they keep going after people well in the conservative movement, along with lots of pillars, at some point…
    Note that Bush while he has been willing to exploit these urges engages in a rhetoric that would make him a terrorist apologist if Democrat. He in theory opposes torture, believes Islam is potentially a religion of peace etc. Right now he is trying to patch up things with the Europeans which those on the far right are playing as a French surrender.
    Of course the left has it’s nut cases too, but I’m not sure that despite all the noise the extremes make that the significant communication is occuring there. It should be noted that Barack, Hillary Clinton and even Dean have positioned themselves away from the more extreme positions, though Dean may persist in a more confrontational attitude.

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