By Brent Budowsky
While as a liberal, I do not suggest the following with a great deal of pleasure, but Matt Drudge is by far the single most influential person in the American media, and it is fair to ask: Is he the second most influential man in America?
For more than any individual in the media, Drudge dominates his competitors to the degree that he has no competitors, and determines what you watch on television, what you read in newspapers, what you hear on radio, and even what you read on the Internet about politics more than any single person in American history.
MSNBC may claim it is liberal and Fox News may be the house organ for conservatives, but if you turn on either in the morning, you will often see the guiding hand of Drudge. The New York Times may consider itself the finest newspaper in the world, but while one of the Times’ political reporters is reduced to writing ditties complaining that Hillary Clinton does not answer her questions, one entry on the Drudge Report can trigger 100 questions to any politician in America. Network anchors come and go, but Drudge remains, the omnipresent force who is required reading for political editors, television producers and campaign managers from all parties.
Somewhere in the hereafter, the likes of William Randolph Hearst are looking toward Drudge on Earth with envy and asking: Why didn’t I ever get that big?
If anyone believes there is any individual more powerful in media than Drudge, be my guest and name your choice.
One of the great mysteries of modern life is that the highest Democrats in the land complain about Drudge, read Drudge like talmudic scholars poring over biblical texts – as Republicans do – but have never even tried to compete with Drudge in the marketplace of media and ideas.
Is Drudge the second most influential man in America, behind the president? It is a debatable proposition that might well be true. More than any single person in American politics besides the president, he determines the content of debate in our national discourse on an hourly basis.
In many ways, I deplore the influence of Matt Drudge, but in the meantime, would someone send this piece to Drudge and maybe he will post it (wink, wink)?
Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and former Rep. Bill Alexander (D-Ark.), who was then chief deputy majority whip of the House. He holds an LL.M. degree in international financial law from the London School of Economics.