AKA Matthew Drudge
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Matter of Dispute
Occupation: Blogger, Radio Personality, Pundit
Nationality: United States
Executive summary: The Drudge Report
Matt Drudge was a C- and D-student in high school, then worked a steady succession of unsteady low-pay jobs. He delivered newspapers, engaged in telemarketing, suffered the overnight shift at a 7-Eleven, and was hired as a runner at CBS Studios in California. Eventually he was promoted to the gift shop, where he manned the cash register and overheard juicy gossip. When his father gave him a computer in 1994, Drudge started posting the gossip to online newsgroups, along with snippets he collected from listening to talk radio and police scanners, and watching TV news. Among his early scoops were advance copies of TV ratings, found in the trash at CBS.
A pioneer in what came to be called weblogging, Drudge's site had 80,000 visitors daily even before his big scoop, the Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky affair. Newsweek had the story, but they hesitated, pondering the unprecedented enormity of reporting on a sitting President's extramarital affairs. When Newsweek decided to hold off until they could verify a few more details, someone at the magazine (Michael Isikoff is widely suspected) sent Drudge an email. With no editor to hold him back, Drudge ran the story, and his site was suddenly getting hundreds of thousands, then millions of hits daily.
The site's relatively scant original material is based on tips from Drudge's far-flung network of online informants, many of whom are employed by mainstream media or conservative operations. Among his biggest "scoops" Drudge reported that Clinton had fathered a child through an affair with an African-American woman (which never happened), broke the 2004 story of John Kerry's extramarital affair (which never happened), and reported that Alec Baldwin had promised to leave America if George W. Bush won the 2000 election (which was actually a joke Baldwin had cracked during the 1992 election between Clinton and Bush's father).
In 1997, Drudge reported that "...one influential Republican, who demanded anonymity, [told] the Drudge Report that court records existed showing that then-White House aide Sidney Blumenthal had committed violent acts against his wife." As with many of Drudge's scoops, it was untrue, and despite a retraction and apology, Blumenthal sued. But he dropped the suit before it came to trial, after Drudge -- with lawyers provided by David Horowitz's Individual Rights Foundation, funded in turn by billionaire conservative Richard Scaife -- was able to stretch out the proceedings until Blumenthal could no longer afford the cost.
Drudge rarely names his sources, and the evidence shows that he has his facts wrong more often than not. Brill's Content tracked Drudge's news for nine months in 1998, and found that 20 of the 51 stories Drudge labeled "exclusive" actually weren't -- they were simply items mainstream newspapers and networks had reported. Of the 31 remaining Drudge "exclusives", 11 (36%) were true, 10 (32%) were demonstrably false and/or never happened, and the accuracy or inaccuracy of the remaining 10 items (32%) was impossible to verify.
Those odds may do well for a baseball batting average, but if a real reporter had the facts with him only four times out of ten, he would be looking for a new line of work. But with no staff and none of the research expenses that come with traditional journalism, Drudge is not scouring the want ads. He quit his job at CBS when Wired started running his web column for $3,000 a month. From there he jumped to America Online, and now Drudge makes an estimated $1.2 million a year through ads rotated on his site. For a time he hosted a weekly show for Fox News, and another weekly show for ABC, but both were canceled within a year. He hosted a syndicated radio show on the weekends, and of course, he is the author of the subliterate bestseller Drudge Manifesto.
He now lives in a comfortable Miami home/office/condo, where several TVs are on most of the time while he is awake. He updates the site several times daily, with links leading to mainstream newspaper and wire-service websites, headlines rewritten to reflect Drudge's perspective, and the occasional "exclusive". Overnight, while Drudge slumbers, a friend in California monitors the incoming email, watches the news, and keeps the site updated.
Drudge is widely whispered to be gay. "I go to bars", Drudge once explained. "I go to straight bars, I go to gay bars." When photographed, he is almost invariably dressed like a 1930s muckraker, complete with a porkpie hat.
 Brett Sokol, "The Drudge Retort", Miami New Times, 28 June 2001.
Father: Bob Drudge (webmaster, refdesk.com)
Boyfriend: David Cohen (Washington landscaper, and Drudge's ex-lover, according to Cohen)
High School: Montgomery Blair High School, Silver Spring, MD (1984)
Drudge Report Founder (1994-)
The Washington Star Paperboy (Takoma Park, MD)
Author of books:
The Drudge Manifesto (2000)
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