I read the Drudge Report several times a day. I also consider myself fairly well-educated. So why would I waste time on a gossip reporter who admittedly gets the story wrong about 20% of the time?

Maybe it's because I'm not so sure the "mainstream" media is any better. The press is made up of fallible people with personal opinions. Sure, there are checks and balances, but no amount of calibrating the scales can elimiate the humanity of the news. What is objectivity? By merely reporting something, you declare it important. You plant a seed in your audience's mind. And what does the mainstream consider important? Economic statistics? Pearl Harbor's box office revenue? Some wonderdrug killing 30% of cancer in rats? Meg Ryan banging Russell Crowe behind her husband's back? I am not very concerned with these things. They are vague facts, white noise with questionable impact on my life. Numbers. I am concerned with flow, movements and trends, the unexplainable, the important stuff the AP misses because it never thought to look, what people are saying, and who's saying it. Drudge provides me with these things. More often than not, it's not even him reporting it; he just points out something interesting on another website that no one's noticed yet.

Maybe it's because he's so damn fast. The price of accuracy is speed. If you don't read Drudge, I know the news before you. When big media breaks news, it's either because it's hit the wire, or because they've just finished up an investigation. The juicier stories are always the latter -- that's the heart of "journalism". However, these investigations take time. Sure, at the end of six months, you get a complete and perfectly accurate story. But what if I don't want all those details? What if I don't want to wait? What if it's irrelevant in six months? I'd rather have the basic gist of a story now. Give me the meat; I'm not going to hold up the whole meal for the potatoes. News organizations lose their advantage if they blow the cover on their story before it goes to press.

But Drudge blows the cover for them.

No wonder those in the media are so quick to brush him off as an "unrealiable source" and "yellow journalist". They're pissed off one guy with a shitty computer and a 24 kilobyte web page is stealing stories from their multibillion dollar business! He reports on reporters, covers the coverage. How the media shrinks from the spotlight once the tables are turned and it becomes the subject of investigations and daily analysis! Press return. CNN, ABC, NewsCorp, AP, Reuters, Newsweek, Salon... you've been scooped! And just when you had your story timed for maximum profit!

The site itself is fast. Plain text. White background. No bullshit. The links are voluminous and pertinent. Perhaps Drudge isn't a great journalist, but his page has links to everyone who you think is one. All the news-makers and news-breakers are a click away. No sifting through ad-laden, 7th-grade-level websites. No going to 46 bloated websites instead of one slim one. For this reason alone, the politicians who love to hate Drudge, the ones who refuse to answer questions about anything on Drudge's site, visit him every day. Insidious, to put such a wealth of real-live information in what every politician with a bone-filled closet calls a slanderous tabloid.

So does this answer why I waste time on a "gossip" reporter who admittedly gets the story wrong about 20% of the time? Hmmm. Maybe it's just because of the 80% of the time that fucker's right on the money. If the AP was wrong 20% of the time, would we know?

Best of all, Drudge forces me to question what I read. Which is what everyone should be doing anyway.

(By the way, Drudge is no longer on NewsCorps' payroll... there was a big dispute over FOX not letting him show a picture of a live fetus, and his TV show came to a quick end. He is on the payroll of ABC, due to his crappy late-night radio show. However, this doesn't seem to affect his reporting. Rupert Murdoch and ABC/Disney are, and always have been, two of his biggest "targets".)