The Power of Drudge

The NYT has an interesting piece of the Drudge Report: How Drudge Has Stayed on Top.

It is amazing the degree to which the internet has changed since Drudge’s debut and yet the to degree to which Drudge hasn’t while still retaining such a substantial level of influence.

For me, I used to check the site out all the time, but really haven’t for years.

Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. Ernieyeball says:

    Yuk. What a load of lickspittle.

  2. Only know a few people from D.C. who read it. I guess somebody else still does.

  3. Richard Gardner says:

    On my dial-up (33.6K), I was reading Drudge when his big event happened, the Monica Lewinsky coverup. I printed it out on my dot-matrix, and folks were incredulous. No way Clinton stuck a cigar you know where and then smoked it..(somehow the specifics of what Mr. Clinton did have since disappeared)… The media hated Drudge then, and it continues today – he made them obsolete. I check him every other day.

  4. Chad S says:

    Drudge used to break a lot of news stories. Now he’s just promoting stories. Whether this is because he’s living the Howard Hughes lifestyle in Miami or not is a fair question, but I don’t know if I would call him as influential anymore. There’s some stories he’s able to make into big ones, but there’s at least an equal amount of stories he tries to promote and they fizzle out regardless of how much he promotes them.

  5. jwest says:

    Anyone who doesn’t check Drudge at least a few times a day is uninformed.

  6. The influence comes in terms of the traffic he sends to various sites (as noted in the linked piece). That actually makes him pretty important (more than I would have assumed was still the case).

  7. Drudge still generates traffic for the people he links to but he is far from being the “Breaking News” source he used to be.

    If you’re looking for that, you need Twitter.

  8. Tano says:

    I used to go there, back in the day, but his only real value, getting the scoop on some breaking event, can be found numerous other places. I don’t think I have been there more than once or twice a year for the last few years, and I certainly haven’t missed anything…

  9. Rick Almeida says:

    somehow the specifics of what Mr. Clinton did have since disappeared

    Unless, of course, you Google “Starr report” and click the very first link.

  10. I find it hard to take anything serious that Drudge links to when he considers sites and people like WorldNutDaily [sic], Alex Jones, and PrisonPlanet legitimate sources of news.

  11. mattb says:

    I think the article is spot on for a few reasons. One is the following quote:

    “[Drudge is] the best wire editor on the planet. He can look into a huge stream of news, find the hot story and put an irresistible headline on it.”

    Dan Drezner made a similar argument about Drudge a while ago in a really bright paper. Love the media or hate it, but the fact is that reporters helped make Drudge the authority he is because he made their jobs easier. Ditto the conservative talkers.

    Likewise the Drudge Report’s layout is UI designer Jacob Neilsen’s dream — all text and designed for fast scan — in otherwords, “pure information” (even if the information itself isn’t always the “purest”).

    All that said, I don’t think “Drudge” would be possible today — I mean the creation of a new Drudge (clearly he’s still making it work).

    Drudge the product of being the right person (skills as an editor and info maven) being at the right place (right wing news) at the right moment (ascendency of Right Wing Radio [who both cribbed his work, and gave him credit], pre-Fox News as it exists today, early internet, and Clinton Presidency [I suspect that if Clinton had dealt in Arms to Contras there would have been less of an interest in the day-to-day details]). Change any of those factors and things would be really difficult.