Drudge Report (Official) 17+
Siren tech, llc, designed for ipad.
- #172 in News
- 2.7 • 50 Ratings
Welcome to the all new version 7 of the one and only official Drudge Report app. Here's all you need to know to use the app to it's fullest: *** NOTIFICATIONS *** On first open, iOS will ask you to allow notifications. Tapping "Allow" results in alerts being sent to your phone whenever there is a siren, new banner or a highlighted headline (e.g. colored red.) Review these urgent headlines anytime by tapping on the urgent headlines button (bell with lines under it.) Then to modify which alerts you receive by tapping on the settings (gear) icon. *** SCROLL TO TOP *** Tap on the reload button. *** COLUMN SWITCHING (phones) *** Tap on the columns icon once to be taken to the top of the first column. Tap again for the top of the second column. Tap for the third column. Tap one more time and you'll be brought to the top. Repeat as desired. A personal response for those who email in bug reports or suggestions for improvement. Posting bugs in the comments may not get the attention they deserve. [email protected]
Ratings and Reviews
No longer relevant.
Drudge Report used to be a decent (a term I will use loosely) fairly unbiased new reporting source. Fast forward 5 years later and it’s become nothing but a propaganda based, over the top leftist shell of its former self. When you are constantly posting stories from Yahoo, you know that a company has truly hit Rockbottom. Some of the absolutely worst “news” website used as links on the DrudgeReport page, have made in an irrelevant source for any reliable news. But hey, if you like senseless gossip sites like the Dailymail UK, TMZ, andthe National Enquirer, then you’ve come to the right place. Read, be angry and be stupid.
DrudgeReport is an oasis of sanity in crazed election cycle
For those up in arms that Drudge is no longer conservative, I say it is the MAGA movement that has moved so far right, they can’t even see the center of their once honorable party. As an independent who used to vote Republican a majority of the time, I watched the party disintegrate into performative outrage and a willingness to cow to the Big Liar who made misinformation part of the platform along with tactics that the Grand Old Party who drafted the 14th amendment would be ashamed to see. If that’s your cup of tea, you can scroll right by this truly balanced new aggregate and binge watch Tucker.
MSN links don’t work
Seems like MSN has infiltrated the report. NO story linked to MSN is found, it just leads to their landing page.
Data Not Linked to You
The following data may be collected but it is not linked to your identity:
Privacy practices may vary, for example, based on the features you use or your age. Learn More
- Developer Website
- App Support
You Might Also Like
New York Post for iPhone
The Daily Caller
Real Clear Politics
To revisit this article, visit My Profile, then View saved stories .
- What Is Cinema?
Can Matt Drudge Survive Without the MAGA Faithful?
By Caleb Ecarma
Matt Drudge, the mysterious media maven, conservative kingmaker, and arguably the most influential news aggregator in history, has officially found himself on Donald Trump ’s “no longer hot” list. It’s a club that includes just one other member: Vanity Fair, whose Oscar party the president declared “no longer ‘hot’” before he took office. For someone who repeats insults reflexively—“like a dog” and “choked” and “low energy” being prime examples—this shows remarkable restraint. It’s a safe bet, then, that this specific insult is reserved for those toward which Trump feels complete and utter disdain.
Matt Drudge has earned his place on the president’s hit list. He was a key player in helping the president win the 2016 Republican primary, and thus the presidency, and visited the White House early on—Trump once called him a “great gentleman” and treated his headlines like gospel. Why the fall from grace? The answer is fairly straightforward: In Trump’s simple mind, those who exclusively praise him are good, and those who don’t are bad, no matter their shared history. Drudge was one of the earliest major media figures to champion then candidate Trump in 2015 and acted as a de facto publicist on behalf of the campaign, according to former Trump campaign adviser Sam Nunberg, a claim he made in Matthew Lysiak ’s biography The Drudge Revolution. However, last summer, cracks began to show in their symbiotic relationship as the Drudge Report’s top headline blared, “No New Wall At All!” The aggregation site, which regularly drives hundreds of millions of page views every month, hasn’t let up on the president since, following its initial shot with a jab over the expansion of big government policies “On Trump Watch”; a line on how Trump’s “trash talk” has hurt his favorability among suburban women; and a warning from farmers that the president's trade wars are “ruining our markets.”
By late 2019, Drudge’s relatively nuanced, policy-based scrutiny of Trump had bloomed into him seemingly hopping on the pro-impeachment bandwagon. As the White House’s Ukraine scandal dragged on last fall, the Drudge Report’s headlines began to read like HuffPost, rather than a publication routinely read on air by conservative talk-radio hosts; selections included “Republican criticism [of Trump] mounts,” “Senate likelier to remove,” “Trump on Brink,” and one that simply juxtaposed the word “Swamped” with a strategically chosen photo of the president looking deflated.
The president returned fire in April when Drudge ran a headline that read “NO PEAK YET,” warning of the impending body count caused by coronavirus. “I gave up on Drudge (a really nice guy) long ago, as have many others,” Trump tweeted . He also retweeted a post accusing Drudge of sensationalizing and spreading lies about the pandemic. And he concluded the series by claiming that the Drudge Report’s readership is dwindling by the day: “People are dropping off like flies!” For the fedora-wearing recluse, who is rarely seen outside his South Florida compound, much less driven to make a public comment of any kind, it was apparently a bridge too far. “The past 30 days has been the most eyeballs in Drudge Report's 26 year-history,” Drudge wrote in an emailed statement to CNN. “Heartbreaking that it has been under such tragic circumstances.”
The conflict escalated again this month, when a particularly aggressive Drudge headline noted Trump’s denial that a “Mini-Stroke Sent Him to Hospital,” complete with a beautifully clickable kicker: “VIDEO: [Trump] Dragging Right Leg.” This was apparently the final straw for Trump, who decided it was time for no more Mr. “really nice guy.” He responded by insisting that Drudge did not support him in 2016 and “doesn’t support me now. Maybe that’s why he is doing poorly. His Fake News report on Mini-Strokes is incorrect.” Trump then posited that Drudge is “Possibly thinking about himself, or the other party’s ‘candidate,’” referencing his claims about Joe Biden ’s diminishing mental state. Curiously, Drudge has not pushed the theory that Biden is losing it, despite most conservative outlets obsessing over the Democratic nominee’s supposed cognitive decline. His decision to opt out is particularly notable given that, in the weeks leading up to the 2016 election, his site aided in spreading conspiracy theories about Hillary Clinton ’s supposedly failing health.
This content can also be viewed on the site it originates from.
By Miriam Elder
By Rachel Dodes
By Eric Lutz
The president has continued to batter his old friend this week, tweeting on Sunday that Drudge’s site “is down 40% plus since he became Fake News. Most importantly, he’s bleeding profusely, and is no longer ‘hot.’ But others are!” In a Monday tweet, he claimed, “Our people have all left Drudge,” and tagged the site’s namesake to call him “a confused MESS, has no clue what happened. Down 51%.” He finished his tantrum by promoting a new Drudge Report competitor, writing that his supporters are now reading sites “like REVOLVER.” Launched over the summer, just months after the president first began attacking Drudge, Revolver News is a conservative aggregation website that caters to ardent Trump supporters and coronavirus skeptics with headlines like: “COVID-19 Lockdowns Over 10 Times More Deadly Than Pandemic Itself.” Its notable readers thus far include Rep. Paul Gosar , an Arizona Republican who pushed an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory, and Michelle Malkin, a right-wing commentator who recently hailed a white nationalist figure as one of the “New Right leaders.” Darren J. Beattie, an ex–White House speechwriter who left his Trump appointment in 2018 after it was revealed that he spoke at a conference attended by white nationalists, works for Revolver News—and appeared Tuesday night on Tucker Carlson ’s Fox News show.
In lockstep with the president, Carlson also pronounced Revolver News “effectively the new Drudge Report, since the actual Drudge Report went completely insane,” and claimed “many of Drudge’s longtime readers have fled to Revolver News…to fill the void.” During a July segment on “what happened to Matt Drudge,” Carlson wrote him off as “now firmly a man of the progressive left,” saying that “at times his site is indistinguishable from the Daily Beast or any other woke propaganda outlet.” (Drudge seemingly fired back at the host’s insults on Wednesday by featuring a headline on Fox’s hair and makeup department layoffs alongside a photo of Carlson looking stupefied under his signature Waspy bangs.)
Carlson isn’t the only member of right-wing media royalty to shun the man they once obsessively turned to for their daily news diet. In August, Rush Limbaugh heavily implied that Drudge crossed Trump not for ideological reasons, but for the money. “My email inbox every day, ‘What’s happening to Drudge, Rush?’And I tell people, ‘Have you heard of clicks?’” said the conservative talk-radio giant.
Limbaugh’s less-popular counterpart Mark Levin made similar accusations last week after Drudge heavily promoted Bob Woodward ’s new book, which revealed that Trump acknowledged the deadly nature of coronavirus in February while lying to the public by likening it to a common flu. “What’s this, the 5th or 6th book in recent weeks pushed by Drudge and the media and intended to elect Biden and smear Trump?” Levin tweeted. “Drudge sells out to big media, betrays conservatives who made his site popular. Hawking 60 Minutes and Woodward. There’s no longer any reason for the existence of that website,” he added on Sunday. It appears the Drudge splash that teed off Levin’s explosion was a headline that described Woodward’s book, Rage, as a “Brutal Look Inside White House Chaos” and promoted an excerpt about Trump’s “COVID Cover-Up” bombshell.
Ironically, in one of Drudge’s last media appearances, he spoke to Alex Jones in his Austin studio—but true to form, he remained off-camera and did the entire interview from "literally in the shadows, behind a curtain”—and told the Infowars founder, “You’re not alone. Limbaugh, [Michael] Savage, [Sean] Hannity, Levin…. I’m friends with all of them.”
Counter to his peers’ claims that his anti-Trump pivot is a self-interested move, Drudge’s traffic has gone down significantly in the past year. TheRighting, a site dedicated to analyzing and tracking the popularity of top conservative media outlets, reported that the Drudge Report has experienced a 38% decline from its almost 2.4 million unique visits in July 2019, to less than 1.5 million unique visitors in July of this year.
The site’s explicit defiance toward Trump and his administration, and the president’s rebukes in turn, are almost certainly a contributing factor in this downward trend. But another recent massive change to the conservative media landscape might also have a hand in Drudge’s decreasing readership. There is now a sizable portion of the GOP base that has swallowed the mind-altering QAnon conspiracy theory, meaning that relatively mainstream conservative sites like the Drudge Report just don’t give them the same high that was once sufficiently extreme to satiate their media appetite. For that subset of neurotically online pro-Trump lunatics, Drudge’s headlines might as well be cheap product cut with heaps of baking soda. The millions-of-members-strong QAnon Facebook groups, on the other hand, offer that pure Bolivian fish-scale, scratch-your-face-off content they crave.
— Melania Trump Sounds a Lot Like Her Husband in Stephanie Winston Wolkoff’s New Book — Jesmyn Ward Writes Through Grief Amid Protests and Pandemic — How Trump’s Handling of White Supremacists Could Create a Homegrown Crisis — Ashley Etienne May Be Biden’s Deadliest Weapon Against Trump — What’s the Reality Behind Netflix Hit Selling Sunset ? — How to Abolish the Police , According to Josie Duffy Rice — The Pandemic Is Creating an Endless Summer in the Hamptons — From the Archive: The Perks and Perils of Being Donald Trump’s Daughter
Looking for more? Sign up for our daily Hive newsletter and never miss a story.
By Joe Pompeo
By Matthew Lysiak
By Gabriel Sherman
The Democrats' Drudge Whisperer Finding Matt Drudge
Host Chris Moody talks to Democratic campaign operatives about how they viewed the Drudge Report -- and how they tried to influence coverage on the site. Moody speaks extensively to Tracy Sefl, an adviser to Hillary Clinton's first presidential campaign, who was probably closer to Drudge than almost any Republican at the time. If you have a great Matt Drudge story, remember to call the hotline at 301-200-2414 and tell Chris about it! See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
- More Episodes
- 2024 iHeartMedia, Inc. © Any use of this intellectual property for text and data mining or computational analysis including as training material for artificial intelligence systems is strictly prohibited without express written consent from iHeartMedia
- Share full article
Drudge Report, a Trump Ally in 2016, Stops Boosting Him for 2020
A rift between the president and the online news pioneer Matt Drudge is playing out in pithy headlines and needling tweets as the campaign heats up.
By Tiffany Hsu
Something has changed at Drudge Report, the influential site known for its tabloid-poetry headlines and conservative take on the news, and don’t think the president hasn’t noticed.
Matt Drudge, a web pioneer who went live with his site in 1995, was seen as an important media champion of Donald J. Trump’s 2016 campaign. “A large measure of why Trump is the nominee goes to Matt Drudge,” Carl Bernstein said four years ago. And Mr. Trump has expressed his appreciation for the fedora-wearing web journalist, calling him “a great gentleman.”
But nowadays, like CNN, The New York Times and many other outlets, Drudge Report is just one more purveyor of “fake news,” in the Trump view.
For anyone who had not stopped by the site since it developed a reputation for lifting Mr. Trump and his brand of conservatism, the welcome page on Monday made for an arresting sight. At the top were images of stickers being sold by the Biden-Harris campaign that read, “I paid more income taxes than Donald Trump.” Below that appeared a scroll of headlines linking to news stories from various sites, all of them written in Mr. Drudge’s staccato style, many of them related to a New York Times investigation of Mr. Trump’s troubled financial history.
“LOST MORE MONEY THAN MADE? … FINANCED EXTRAVAGANT LIFESTYLE WITH USE OF BUSINESS EXPENSES … FAKE BILLIONAIRE? … CAN’T AFFORD TO LOSE: TRUMP OWES $421M.”
Mr. Drudge also did not pull any punches after Tuesday’s presidential debate: “Chaos reigns in hell debate … Undecided voters describe President as a ‘crackhead,’ ‘arrogant’ in focus group … Joe faces down raging Don.”
It was a notable shift from four years ago, when Mr. Drudge heralded Mr. Trump’s “rock star welcome in Florida” and highlighted stories that cast doubt on the health of his opponent, Hillary Clinton. His site, back then, also included links to coverage of Trump rallies as they happened.
Cracks started to appear in the summer of 2019, when Drudge Report featured a headline about the slow progress on a barrier Mr. Trump had repeatedly pledged to build along the southern border with Mexico: “ NO NEW WALL AT ALL! ” In December, when the House of Representatives impeached the president for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, the site went big once again: “ TRUMP ON BRINK .”
The Washington Times, a conservative daily, noted the shift. “The Drudge Report has stoked alarm on the right for appearing to pivot on its support for President Trump,” the paper reported last November, “increasingly linking to stories that are critical of the administration and to media websites that are accused of having an anti-Trump bias such as CNN, The New York Times and The Washington Post.”
In December, to raise awareness of a website he had started, Dan Bongino, a conservative radio host and frequent guest on Fox News programs, wrote on Twitter : “Drudge has abandoned you. I NEVER will.”
In April this year, President Trump weighed in on Twitter : “I gave up on Drudge (a really nice guy) long ago, as have many others. People are dropping off like flies!” The Fox News prime-time host Tucker Carlson echoed the sentiment in a July episode of his show, saying that Drudge Report “has changed dramatically, 180 degrees” and calling Mr. Drudge “a man of the progressive left.”
With the presidential campaign entering its final stretch, the attacks are mounting. On Sept. 1, Mr. Trump retweeted a post from Mark Levin, the host of a conservative syndicated radio show and a Fox News program, complaining about Drudge Report’s all-caps coverage of Mr. Trump’s denial of having suffered a health crisis ( “TRUMP DENIES MINI-STROKE SENT HIM TO HOSPITAL … VIDEO: DRAGGING RIGHT LEG”). In response, Mr. Trump tweeted, “Drudge didn’t support me in 2016, and I hear he doesn’t support me now. Maybe that’s why he is doing poorly.”
Two weeks later , the president deemed Drudge Report “Fake News.” “Our people have all left Drudge,” he said on Twitter. “He is a confused MESS, has no clue what happened.”
The site has perhaps paid a price for jumping off the Trump train. It had 1.4 million unique visitors in August, down 42 percent from a year earlier, according to Comscore data provided by The Righting, which analyzes viewership of right-leaning outlets. Its audience has trailed that of the right-wing sites The Gateway Pundit and Daily Caller. New rivals looking to outdraw the once-fastest news-slinger on the web include Liberty Daily, Rantingly and NewsAmmo, The Washington Times noted.
Mr. Drudge, who rarely gives interviews, did not respond to requests for comment.
In “The Drudge Revolution,” a book published this year, the journalist Matthew Lysiak described how Mr. Drudge, the child of two liberal Democrats, started out some 25 years ago from a Hollywood apartment equipped with a dial-up connection. What began as a Sunday night online newsletter filled with musings on natural disasters and celebrities soon became a venue for scoops on media, entertainment and politics.
Its founder displayed a knack for knowing what would make readers click when he started posting links to articles plucked from the fast-growing internet. He has had many big scoops of his own over the years, but he made his name as an aggregator — a digital journalist who highlights work published elsewhere — and he moved with such speed that he often gave the impression of being first, even when he wasn’t.
When the relationship between President Clinton and Monica S. Lewinsky — a story he broke — led to an impeachment in 1998, Mr. Drudge fully embraced the role of “sledgehammer to the media establishment complex,” Mr. Lysiak wrote. The site had lurid scoops on Mr. Clinton alongside curios like “ Sting says today’s rock music — is a bore! ”
Mr. Drudge “ effectively invented clickbait ,” wrote the Columbia Journalism Review. Frank Rich, writing in The Times in 1999, said he was a “grandstander whom many, I included, once feared as the Devil of journalism incarnate.”
Drudge Report attracted plenty of conservative love and attention. Mr. Drudge worked with Andrew Breitbart , who later created the right-wing news site Breitbart News , and he met Mr. Trump at Mar-a-Lago. In 2015, he sat off-camera for a 45-minute interview with Alex Jones , the conspiracy-theory-peddling founder of Infowars.
Mr. Lysiak, the author, said in an interview that rival websites are “licking their chops — they see blood in the water.” But he noted that there may be another factor in Drudge Report’s recent loss of traffic: the rise of social media.
“Matt Drudge was always first at everything, but not anymore, not even close — Twitter’s first,” Mr. Lysiak said. “For years now, people have been wondering who the next Drudge is, but it isn’t a person. It’s a social media revolution, and he sees that writing on the wall.”
But Mr. Drudge has a deep desire, and a talent, for staying relevant, Mr. Lysiak said. Betting big on Mr. Trump did the trick in 2016. Betting against him could work this time around.
Mr. Lysiak suggested that readers who expected Mr. Drudge’s site to stay true to one line of political thought were misguided.
“In reality, while Matt Drudge has his own personal political opinions, his website has absolutely no loyalty to any political party or ideology,” he said. “Now he’s thinking long-term, really putting his political capital on a Biden candidacy. And if that happens, he will once again weaponize his site on behalf of more conservative causes.”
Tiffany Hsu is a media reporter for the business desk, focusing on advertising and marketing. Previously, she covered breaking business news. Before joining The Times, she wrote about the California economy for The Los Angeles Times. More about Tiffany Hsu
- International edition
- Australia edition
- Europe edition
How the Drudge Report ushered in the age of Trump
Twenty years ago, Matt Drudge’s reports on the Lewinsky affair nearly brought down Bill Clinton. He was seen as the wellspring of a new, hyper-aggressive American conservatism – but has he been outflanked by his imitators?
A t precisely 9.32pm and two seconds by his Californian clock, Matt Drudge hit the send button on his home computer and changed the world. It was Saturday 17 January 1998, beyond midnight in Washington where President Clinton had no idea what was about to hit him.
“NEWSWEEK KILLS STORY ON WHITE HOUSE INTERN; BLOCKBUSTER REPORT: 23-YEAR OLD, FORMER WHITE HOUSE INTERN, SEX RELATIONSHIP WITH PRESIDENT”
The headline was posted in such small print that, were it not for the capital letters, a reader might have mistaken it for a dispatch on corn prices rather than an avalanche that would propel Bill Clinton all the way to impeachment. But then, Drudge never has run with the typographical crowd.
Two hours later, he followed up with a longer post in which he elaborated that Newsweek had spiked a story from its then investigative reporter Michael Isikoff. Had it been published, Drudge said, the story would have revealed that a young, still anonymous female intern had been a “frequent visitor to a small study just off the Oval Office” where she developed a sexual relationship with the president.
The next day the Drudge Report published her name: Monica Lewinsky.
The storm unleashed that Saturday night was all the more potent for coming from a single individual operating out of a one-bedroom apartment in Hollywood where he lived with a cat named Cat, three TVs, three computers, a satellite dish and a police scanner. Not long before, he had been selling T-shirts in a gift shop at CBS Studios .
Twenty years later, we can now see that Drudge, 51, sparked a revolution – a double one at that. Politically, his Lewinsky scoops heralded a new kind of American conservatism that was devil-may-care, iconoclastic, hyper-aggressive and populist. If that sounds familiar, given the fireworks bursting daily out of today’s White House, then that is no coincidence.
“Looking back, he was the beginning of a cultural revolution which we are still in the midst of right now,” says David Horowitz, a conservative writer who helped to bail out Drudge shortly before the Lewinsky affair broke. At the time Drudge was fighting a $30m lawsuit against the Clinton aide Sidney Blumenthal, whom he had falsely accused of abusing his wife – one of the earliest examples in the internet age of rightwing fake news.
The second revolution Drudge sparked was within the media. By exposing not just the president’s tryst with an intern, but the decision by Newsweek to hold off on the story, he planted a bomb under both the presidency and the mainstream media. “Matt Drudge broke the fraternity of the guardians of the culture,” Horowitz says.
The “fraternity” was aghast at Drudge’s rise. CBS’s Face the Nation refused to sully itself by having Drudge on air. When NBC did extend an invitation, Carl Bernstein, of Watergate fame, scoffed: “The notion of a cyber gossip sitting on Meet the Press would have been unthinkable!” Drudge lapped up the opprobrium, trolling his critics with the comment: “I’m not a journalist, I’m a kangaroo.”
Despite the brickbats, Drudge rapidly attracted a large readership with his gregarious mix of aggregated Beltway and Hollywood gossip, news stories drawn from outlets spanning the political range, and headlines that were clickbait before the term had been coined. “There’s a new sex droid in town”, was one of his recent headlines.
Where readers flocked, news editors followed with tails between legs. A skim of the Drudge headlines became an essential start to any TV, press or radio editors’ day, helping to define what was shaping up to be the 24-hour news cycle. And with no legacy overheads and a lean staff, Drudge was soon raking in the money, the proceeds of which he enjoys today in his 10-acre property outside Miami where he moved in the wake of the Lewinsky furore.
While the readership has always leaned heavily male and conservative, his devoted fans include unexpected figures, such as feminist intellectual Camille Paglia. She was one of the first established voices to break ranks and endorse the site at a time when it was still being almost universally derided.
“I saw in Matt Drudge the triumph of the populist tabloids,” says Paglia. “It’s amazing how no one, in all these decades, has been able to imitate, displace, or supplant Drudge – because he is a true American original.”
Paglia is right: it is amazing that the Drudge Report continues to enjoy the influence it does. The point-size of its banner headline has crept up a bit, but otherwise the layout of the site is virtually unchanged from the original design, as though it were stuck in time.
According to analytics company comScore, the Drudge Report had 2.5 million unique visitors in November. That reach is amplified when you consider the strong engagement of readers who tend to return frequently, producing a total 292m page views that month.
While the Drudge Report is a rightwing site true to the libertarian, small government, anti-abortion , climate change-denying world view of its creator, its impact is felt much more widely. When the Guardian – not a natural Drudge ally – broke the story of Steve Bannon’s incendiary remarks in Michael Wolff’s new book Fire and Fury this month, fully a quarter of the vast traffic it generated came through Drudge.
Over the past 20 years, the rightwing megaphone has grown far more sophisticated. Savage Nation (1994), Fox News (1996), InfoWars (1999) and Breitbart (2005) – which was started by Drudge’s first assistant, Andrew Breitbart – have all matured in line with the Drudge Report (1995). But instead of threatening his supremacy, they have provided political ballast to his idiosyncrasies.
Drudge is “the wellspring for the conservative media ecosystem”, wrote the Republican strategist Rick Wilson in the Daily Beast .
The threat to the Drudge Report has come, paradoxically, not so much from rightwing competitors but from the very source of his own success – individualised news born of the internet. When he sent out his first newsletter via email to friends, he issued a genuinely personal take on current affairs, an independent act of defiance that appealed to his libertarian values.
That act has spawned countless imitators, but instead of being truly individualised, they are corralled through the modern monoliths Facebook and Twitter. The development has left Drudge baffled and bemused, judging from recent remarks of this increasingly reclusive man.
In October 2015, Drudge, who now rarely allows himself to be seen or heard in public and who did not respond to a Guardian request for interview, turned up unexpectedly in the Austin, Texas studios of Alex Jones’s InfoWars. He remained unseen and behind camera, but did speak passionately for several minutes.
“Twenty years. I’ve had a hell of a run,” Drudge said to Jones from the shadows, clearly feeling nostalgic. Then he got down to business.
“I don’t do the socials,” he said with a telling linguistic awkwardness. “I’m not on Facebook. I’ve got the Twitter thing, but even that’s disgusting.”
The shift has been stealthy but seismic. The Drudge Report’s legendary ability to dictate the news cycle has been stolen by Twitter, where editors – instead of having to rely on Drudge’s judgment – can exercise their own. “You used to see something go up on Drudge and hear it on cable news an hour later – now it’s all moved over to the Twittersphere,” Wilson says.
That trend was temporarily abated during 2016 when the site enjoyed a revival as cheerleader-in-chief for Donald Trump. As Politico put it, Drudge went “all in on Trump”. He reserved his banner headlines for Trump-friendly subjects such as immigration and trade, while running attack stories on contesting Republican candidates such as Ted Cruz . After Trump won his party’s nomination, Drudge provided the same service in the general election, mocking Hillary Clinton as a “brain in a jar” and accusing the rest of the media of covering-up her hypothyroidism .
Much as a Trump victory was palpably desired by Drudge, you have to wonder whether he will come to regret the outcome, in the manner of Frankenstein and his monster.
Dylan Byers, CNN’s senior reporter on media and politics, points out that, by giving Trump a leg-up into the White House, he has helped to create a media phenomenon that is far more powerful than any Drudge Report. “For 20 years, Drudge set the gold standard for gossip, sensationalism and trolling, making him one of the most influential figures in political media,” Byers says. “But Trump is sui generis. He is his own media outlet. He does his own trolling and creates his own sensationalism. The controversies Trump creates with one tweet make Drudge’s entire homepage feel uninspired.”
Uninspired. That’s a word seldom attached to Matt Drudge. But nothing is safe in the Trump era, it seems. Not even the wellspring of conservative media.
- Newspapers & magazines
- Michael Wolff