Matt Drudge is the only reporter ever to be sued by the White House.
Matt Drudge is the creator and operator of the superlatively successful website the Drudge Report. Matt was born in 1967 to Bob and Claire Drudge. They divorced six years later, and Matt stayed with his mother in Washington, D.C. (His father Bob is now the editor of www.refdesk.com, and it was Bob who bought Matt his first computer.) Matt did poorly in school (a self-described "D student") graduating in the class of '84. After some time as a clerk at the local 7-Eleven at the age of 22 Matt went west. During a stint as clerk for CBS's gift shop (in 1994) Matt started the e-mail newsletter, later website, called the Drudge Report. In 1997 Matt was sued by White House presidential aide Sidney Blumenthal for defamation of character, relating to a false story Drudge published and later retracted. The suit was eventually settled out of court. Today Matt Drudge is the world's most famous reporter.
Matt Drudge's philosophy is simple, as summarized in The Drudge Manifesto: Modem, phone jack, inexpensive computer. Anything from anywhere out to everyone.
Matt Drudge published all the news that's newsworthy on his site the Drudge Report. Primarily containing links to breaking news stories, the Drudge Report is an excellent central locus of present events. In addition, the site provides links to all major media columnists, press wires, and other Internet resources. And whenever Drudge gets the inside scoop, up go the sirens announcing an exclusive Drudge Report.
Matt Drudge seems to be (though it is difficult to pin down) a fairly conservative person. This is difficult to see on the Drudge Report itself (where he rarely, if ever, editorializes a story) but more clear on his weekly radio show. In addition, close inspection reveals a conservative bias in his headlines and links, which generally have a "right-wing" slant to them. This does not, however, mean that Drudge shrinks from reporting the blunders of certain Republican presidencies. Some media-mangates even favor Drudge's right-wing style as giving balance to a generally liberal press.
In 1994, Matt Drudge discovered how to post articles to UseNet groups. The world has never been the same since.
The Drudge Report was originally a daily update of news and rumors compiled by Matt Drudge. Sent via e-mail and posted to newsgroups on UseNet, its readers formed what would become the core of Drudge's readership and sources when in 1997 he created the website The Drudge Report at www.drudgereport.com. After slowly growing fame in media circles, Drudge was catapulted into the spotlight when he exclusively broke the story of President Clinton's indiscretions with a White House intern named Monica Lewinsky. Since then Drudge's site has become the prime news source of the Internet, even prompting Eric Alterman to state that the conservative Drudge "rules the Internet." While no one rules the Internet, the Drudge Report is the home page for not a few of the world's billions.
Matt Drudge has accumulated what could be regarded as quite a list of newsmaking accomplishments in his 9-year career. These include breaking a number of important stories before any other news sources. In no particular order:
- Formation of MSNBC
- Jerry Seinfeld's Million-dollar Deal
- Death of Princess Diana
- Clinton Takes Paula Jones Fight to Supreme Court
- Al Gore's Kyoto Conference Trip
- The Monica Lewinsky Scandal
And many others. The Drudge Report is also the most visited site on the Internet, clocking over 1.2 billion hits in the past year (March 2002-March 2003.) Drudge also hosts a radio show on WABC every Sunday night, from 10 P.M. to 1 A.M. E.T. Finally, Drudge has published a book, entitled The Drudge Manifesto which recounts the rise of his Report and his adventures through the early years.
Matt Drudge has gained a certain notoriety among the members of the political and media establishments. This is reflected in a selection of quotes on the back of The Drudge Manifesto's dust jacket:
"The country's reigning mischief-maker." — New York Times
"He is to the Internet what I am to broadcasting." — Rush Limbaugh
"The buzz of the media-industrial complex." — Washington Post
"The kind of bold, entrepreneurial, free-wheeling, information-oriented outsider we need far more of in this country." — Camille Paglia
"Journalism's bad boy, Clinton's worst nightmare." — Playboy
"The most controversial reporter in America since Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein." — Brill's Content
"Sludge." — Former President William Jefferson Clinton
Drudge, Matt, with Julia Phillips. The Drudge Manifesto. New York: Penguin Putnam, 2000.
Billingsley, K.L. Free Matt Drudge! http://www.cspc.org/drudge/freematt.htm: Heterodoxy. Accessed 03/16/03.
Matt Drudge's remarks to the National Press Club: June 2, 1998. (Transcript from The Drudge Manifesto.)
Personal observation and analysis.