In case you hadn’t noticed, Matt Drudge has become fascinated with the U.S. dollar. Admittedly, he’s not the only one, what with the dollar swan-diving in the last few weeks, but it feels like Drudge has ramped up his number of stories of late.
Some are arguing that Drudge is part of the cause of the dollar’s decline, which seems a bit much. Others are arguing that Drudge is just helping the political right focus in on an easily-demagogued data point.
I’m not going to touch either argument, but I did think it would be fun to have a look at the data. Has Drudge really upped his dollar headlining, and has it been tied to a change in the value of the dollar?
To answer the question, I scraped Drudge’s site back to 2002 for dollar-related headlines, of which there were 477. I then bucketed the headlines by month. At the same time, I grabbed the dollar index over the same period (a measure of the U.S. dollar’s performance against other major currencies), and calculated the month-over-month change of that index during the period from 2002 to October of 2009.
This first graph shows the dollar index’s changes and the number of Drudge dollar headlines per month from 2002 to now. As you can see, there has been a significant increase Matt’s fascination with the dollar over the last two years. It’s not that he never had dollar-related headlines before, but the interest was more episodic prior to 2007. Now it’s fairly consistent — with intermittent spikes higher coinciding with price moves.
Is Matt influencing the dollar’s decline, or at least its volatility? That’s unlikely, but it’s also nearly impossible to answer. About the closest we can come is to see if Drudge’s dollar headlining matches up with major changes (in an absolute sense) in the dollar index. As the following figure shows, there is a relationship, but the spread is very large, with some big moves attracting his attention, while others don’t.
Do things change if you split the Drudge dollar fascination by up versus down dollar moves? As it turns out, things do change. The following figure shows that Drudge is more fascinated with dollar declines than with dollar advances. Granted, there is more of former than of the latter, but the point still stands — Drudge likes to headline a down dollar.