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Blasted Drudge!

By The Cynic
cynic@politicalusa.com

5/10/2001

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I've got the urge to write a hit piece.

The urge to place my cross-hairs on some unsuspecting individual and let loose with accusations and conjecture and really let him have it. To write something so inherently mean and nasty that even my most loyal readers would tell me I've stepped over the line. I wanna dig my meat hooks into someone and twist them clockwise and squeal with laughter as I do it.

Good morning, Matt Drudge.

I have been waiting for the official unseating of Matt Drudge for some time now. Thinking that some young enterprising sort would come along and could sniff out a story quicker and whip Matt's butt up and down the bandwidth.  Someone with a better web design and better writing skills who would make Drudge seem like a primitive dolt whose 15 minutes were over 2 years ago.

No one has risen to the challenge.

If one takes a peek at Matt's web page, it varies little from its original form. The Drudge Report logo is still in large black Arial font and he still runs that silly little police siren whenever he feels a story is really big. He still limits his stories to around 8-15 links and he essentially has the same Internet links as when he first started (with a few notable omissions).

Just about every word on his web page is capitalized. Really big stories get a series of capital Xs both in front of and in back of the headline. His headlines vary from political scandal to television ratings to freak animal mutations. The man is all over the road with what he decides is 'Big News'.

My background in marketing tells me that he is destined to fail at some point. He violates several rules of successful enterprise. He doesn't serve a niche. He doesn't provide a whole lot of original material (mainly just links to stories he finds interesting). He doesn't sacrifice certain types of news items for the sake of concentrating on more important news. He doesn't alter his design, nor change his style to fit with the times or current trends. He runs only one advertisement at a time on his web page. This is a formula for failure, if not bankruptcy, for most web sites.

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So why is he still around? Why does his site continue to grow and get new visitors? Why does a man with very little training and marginal writing skills continue to be the breath on the back of the neck of anyone in power? This is not Bob Woodward we are talking about, this is Matt Drudge. A man with a funny name in a funny hat. When is he gonna fall flat on his face?

Not soon it seems.

Matt Drudge is an enigma. He is a man that lets very little get in the way of a story. Somehow, this man can smell out a story better then the Broadcast and Cable news companies combined and have it to his readers as it is developing.

Does he sometimes get things wrong? Of course he does, but no more so then the rest of the media. I'll tell you what, I can find more factual errors and misleading statements in your average AP story then I can find in several of Drudge's own stories. The man is good at what he does.

While his writing style and web page design leaves something to be desired, it certainly has an indelible charm. Drudge will probably never win a Pulitzer for his writing (I should talk). He will never earn the respect of his peers in the mainstream media. I think he revels in the idea that he is a permanent outsider.

There is something comforting in the way he presents his work. When I read the Drudge Report, I picture him writing from a studio apartment with two telephones and a desperate need for a cleaning woman. Just an average guy with a little too much time on his hands and a few good numbers on a Rolodex. With the fedora on and possibly a half dozen cans of Diet Coke stacked up against the wall. He is Joe Everyman in my mind.

For a long time, I thought his style was a planned shtick. A barely original style that he used as a novice and continued using as a gimmick. I thought this until I received an email from Matt.

I sent him a story I thought he would find interesting. He replied that he already was on the case and his email was, you guessed it, in all caps with a lot of Xs all over the place. This is Matt. I wouldn't be surprised if as a child he would give out Birthday cards that said:

XXXXXX BIRTHDAY WISHES FORTHCOMING.....DEVELOPING XXXXXXX
                   
I really want to dislike Matt. I want to say to him, " Dude, you were once cool but now you've sold out." I can't do it. There have been a few times where I have raised an eyebrow to what news he was pushing, but when it comes down to it, he gets the stories that people want to read. As long as he churns out the stuff that people talk about, you cannot say he sold out. You really can't say anything, except "where does he find this stuff?"

I am a news junkie and my 6-7 visits to his site per day feed my addiction. He is my pusher and everyone knows that you can't hate your pusher. Somewhere, deep down, I want to see that picture of a two headed mule. I want to know that Survivor 2 pulled a 32 share. I want to know who is giving the President a hum-job. Matt gives me the news I want before I want it, regardless if he packages it with enough Xs to make the Las Vegas strip jealous.

It bears repeating: This man is good at what he does.

Sorry folks, no hit piece here today.

Have you joined Cynic in the request for White Folk Reparations yet?

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