Like a lot of people, I suppose, I developed the habit of going to the Drudge Report as a one stop shopping experience for political news. His penchant for sprinkling in some news of the weird helped keep it interesting, even when I was bored with politics. He also has an obsession with extreme weather which I find amusing for some reason. The result is that it has been my first stop for general news going back to the Clinton years. Most mornings, it is my first stop just to see if anything important blew up while I was off-line.
The thing that always worked for Drudge is that he simply linked to the news stories in the mainstream press. He was not trying to compete as a news gathering organization. He was competing more as a senior editor and headline writer. The New York Times may have decided to put something on page three below the fold, but Drudge would make it front page and give it a spicy headline. As these organizations became more dependent on web traffic, they became more Drudge friendly. That was true of writers as well.
Drudge was also the first to notice that the foreign press was often better at reporting on America than our local press. Many Americans now regularly read the British tabs because they were introduced to them through Drudge. While probably not intentional, it has opened the eyes of many Americans about the realty of the main stream media in the United States. When the Guardian is doing a better job covering your hometown than your hometown news site, you notice it and you begin to wonder why.
That’s the main reason the Left has always claimed Drudge is a right-wing fanatic, even though his site is just links to Progressive publications. It’s the editorial discretion. The people running the New York Times know they are shaping the news. They have always lied about it, but at some level they knew they were advocates for the Left. That was reflected in their choice of stories to cover and how hard they promoted those stories on their front pages. Drudge used that against them by re-prioritizing their stories.
The important thing though, is Drudge has always existed like an oxpecker. His site sits atop the mainstream media, plucking from it the stories that should be hyped. In return for this service, the mainstream media gets lots of traffic from Drudge. They could live without him, but it would be less pleasant. On the other hand, he can’t live without them. His existence depends on their existence. Drudge can thrive as long as most people think the news is largely true, but mostly biased to the Left.
What happens when the news is not true, but instead is mostly false and often just propaganda? How can Drudge work in the age of fake news? That keeps coming to mind every time I visit the Drudge Report lately. Yesterday he had a headline that read, “Dem Dream: Take Back House” and another, “Support Surges.” Both linked to stories that are entirely made up. The claim that there is a wave of support for Democrats right now is so ridiculous is should be in the Onion. That’s obviously fake news
That’s the reality of the Drudge Report now. He’s working hard to add a tabloid gloss to the news, but the news is already well past being a tabloid. We are in the era of fake news, where political sites just make stuff up, claiming “anonymous sources.” Mike Cernovich has figured this out and he now has an army of anonymous sources of his own. On occasion, some of them have been right, which puts him ahead of the so-called journalists, who work Washington politics. Drudge is now a fake news portal.
That’s not the fault of Matt Drudge or whoever he now has maintaining his site. My recollection is that he hires people to help maintain the site, but he may be completely hands off now. It’s that his business model is built upon the assumption that the news, to a great degree, is true. He then takes their news stories and adjusts out their bias by filtering and ranking them to highlight that which is often hidden by the mainstream press. If the news is fake, then he is doing what he set out to avoid, which is peddle bias.
This post is too long already, but there are two points that arise from this that are worth considering. One is that the fake news and its impact on sites like Drudge will have further collateral damage. Just as Drudge relies on the news being true, but biased, so does the controlled opposition like the Buckley Cons. The hysterical pearl clutching at National Review looks even more ridiculous when it is clear they are reacting to made up stories with no basis in fact. In other words, fake news further reveals their complicity.
Another issue is that the prevailing orthodoxy is built around a superstructure composed of things like the mass media. Our Progressive masters get to sway the public by filling the air with approved messages. The advertising model assumes people think the ads are there to sell product. If the public begins to see them as agit-prop, then all of those ads on TV peddling miscegenation take on a different color, so to speak. Having a mixed race couple peddling camping gear then looks like an ad for race mixing, not camping gear.
In other words, a lot of other efforts depend upon the public accepting that the mass media is on the level, at least in terms of intentions. If people start assuming the news is fake, they are not going to be fooled by the ad men peddling the one true faith, dressed as product promotions. It is a short trip from there to questioning all of the other arrangements. Like the kids game Jenga, removing one key peg can cause a whole bunch of other things to come tumbling down as well.
Again, this is way to long, but the point is this. You don’t have to red pill your honky friends on everything, just whatever
their¹ they’re ready for at the moment. The mass red pilling on the media is leading a lot of people to question all sorts of things that are only tangentially related. As the number of people aware of fake news grows, the number of people doubting the ad men and the intentions of corporate America grow as well. It means more people turning against the controlled opposition and their wealthy patrons.
Doubt is on our side.
¹Damn you to hell Galaxy autocorrect