As far as breaking news goes, it is a Matt Drudge Internet and everybody else is just "developing...." On this day in 1998, Matt Drudge @ The Drudge Report first broke the news that there was more to the Bill Clinton / Monica Lewinsky story than passed through the lips of the then President. The DrudgeReport headline that day went, NEWSWEEK KILLS STORY ON WHITE HOUSE INTERN. BLOCKBUSTER REPORT: 23-YEAR OLD, FORMER WHITE HOUSE INTERN, SEX RELATIONSHIP WITH PRESIDENT, and Hell followed after. In this one story, Matt
Drudge declared that the major media were no longer going to be the sole gatekeepers of what did and did not make the news. He was the first Goliath in what grew to be “An Army of Davids.”
Drudge had made a habit of getting out in front of the breaking news of the day before Monica, but this single story and his dogged follow-through put him into low Earth orbit among newsmakers. By 2006 old news hounds from the once dominent Washington Post were writing in their mid-list books that all of journalism was feeding at the DrudgeReport site many times daily to see just how badly they were being scooped.
Drudge’s association with the Internet began in the Stone Age before the Web with Usenet: “The original issues of the Drudge Report were part gossip and part opinion. They were distributed as an e-mail newsletter and posted to alt.showbiz.gossip Usenet forum where they were both loved and ridiculed. In 1996, the newsletter transitioned slowly from entertainment gossip to political gossip and moved from e-mail to the Web as its primary distribution mechanism.”
There’s a lot of theory and speculation about how and why new media is saying to mainstream media, “We will bury you,” but if there’s one individual that has dug the grave, and bought the wreath, and still makes MSM attend its own funeral daily, it is Matt Drudge. Wags have compared him over the years to Walter Winchell, but that’s a canard. Drudge is bigger than Winchell ever was. And more influential.
The DrudgeReport now boasts millions of page views a day and continues to grow. It has also made Drudge a modestly rich man, but it is clear that it is not money that motivates him. Rumors of buy-out offers in the stratosphere surface like bubbles in the La Brea tar pits, but Drudge just brushes them off. If there’s a number that would make him sell, he hasn’t heard it yet. And besides, if he sold out, what would he do with his time? Read the Web?
Matt Drudge is still the driving force behind the Drudge Report, and still crazy after all these years. Matt, take a short victory lap around the house, and then get back to work. Thanks for the memories and the Monicas.