- Reverb, how media outlets influence one another;
- Oppo, how operatives plant information about their foes.
But if Drudge is a dinosaur—and that’s a far from certain if—he’s a rather large one. His massive traffic regularly hits around three-quarters of a billion monthly page views, and he can be a key Internet traffic driver to more mainstream news sites. Opposition researchers say Drudge is best at surfacing stories on blogs and in the local press that would not get much coverage otherwise, and that in some ways a Drudge link can be better than getting something on the evening news, as it will have a longer shelf life on social media.
Drudge today may lack some of the ability to sway the national conversation the way he did when Mark Halperin and John Harris swooned “Matt Drudge rules our world.” Still, he remains important among his core audience of older, conservative voters who are likely to vote in primaries and donate to campaigns. Although Drudge may matter a lot less to what one Republican operative called “New York media elites,” he is still believed to be the bookmarked URL of choice for talk-radio producers and a large portion of the Beltway press.Chris Cillizza adds at The Washington Post:
1. As suggested by Freedlander's piece, Drudge is an ideal landing place for hard-hitting opposition research on one of your political opponents. He's more likely to simply take it and post it rather than looking for where the holes are — as a more mainstream site would do. And, because of Drudge's traffic, which isn't just big but also influential (think reporters, cable TV bookers and other campaigns), everyone you want or need to see it will see it. When you have 20+ people running for the Republican nod, there's going to be lots of dirt to drop.
2. Drudge (and his small crew of editors) use the influence of the site to push what they believe to be overlooked stories within a campaign. And, as Freedlander notes, Drudge tends to have a storyline (or two) that he grasps onto and stays with for weeks or months. In 2008 (and 2012) that was how Romney was stronger than many people gave him credit. (That coverage was attributed in no small part to Drudge's close working relationship with Romney campaign manager Matt Rhoades.) So far in this cycle, Drudge has been hard on Bush (highlighting lots of stories that suggest the former Florida governor isn't all that conservative) and quite kind to Walker. Here's the current lead of the site:
...Okay, folks, thinking caps on. Drudge is linking to this story:
3. Hillary Clinton. Drudge's site rose to notoriety in the late 1990s by revealing many of the details about Bill Clinton's relationship with Monica Lewinsky. Since then the site has had a fascinating relationship with Clinton. During much of the late 2000s Drudge (and the site) seemed favorably inclined — as much as a conservative site could be — to her. But, since Clinton has emerged as a likely 2016 candidate, the coverage of Clinton by Drudge has taken a turn — focusing almost exclusively on her health and questioning whether she is up to another run for president. Drudge lacks the influence with the left that he retains on the right, but the sheer volume of eyeballs he gets means that if he wants to push a negative story on Clinton (and he will) it will make its way into the general news stream in some form.
Where do you think Kate Zernike and Michael Barbaro got their information?