drudge report 2024

drudge report 2024

The Impact of Drudge Report in the 2024 Election

1. The Influence of Drudge Report on Public Opinion

This point demonstrates a Drudge Report item on a US political issue where the mainstream media has followed up public opinion on a topic. Simulation with and without the influence of the internet can be tested by comparing the level of activity of the two groups, with that activity’s effect on public opinion, using Iraq war simulations and/or perception-based modeling and simulation on US foreign policy. This can be followed up in a poll about the war asking whether it was more favorable in retrospect. The results would show what effect the war had on the perceptions of people who tried to ignore the news, thus roughly gauging the effect of involuntary agenda setting.

Clinton’s Defense Secretary Michael Heseltine was quoted as saying the UK and US decision to bomb Iraq “to distract public opinion from President Clinton’s troubles at home” was unjustified during a W2NBC AM radio talkback show on December 6, 1998. Heseltine was replying to a NSW resident who agreed with the decision to bomb and said Clinton is a “leader who is good to his word”. The decision to bomb had been criticized.

A highly publicized example was the publishing of rumors that Republican Presidential candidate Bob Dole had engaged in an extramarital affair. Though the story was widely discredited as relying on material published in a supermarket tabloid, Dole felt it necessary to go on record denying the allegations and stated that the impropriety of the media’s questioning of its truthfulness was a sign of a “coarseness of our culture”. The impact of the rumors is said to have played a role in Dole’s loss to Bill Clinton in the election.

Reports “going viral” on the internet are normally considered to have a relatively low degree of credibility and the potential for creating opinion is significantly low because of the disinhibition factor. However, the Drudge Report is unique among non-traditional news sources in its ability to set an agenda of topics that will be followed up by the mainstream media. On May 17, 1998, a story published in the New York Times compared the ability of the Drudge Report to drive the news cycle to that of The New York Times, during a pivotal period in time. The comparison was based on a series of errors made by the Drudge Report, and yet despite the errors, the television coverage of these same events was said to be heavily influenced by the report.

2. Drudge Report’s Role in Shaping Political Narratives

The report states that the private house of Vice President Al Gore is under subpoena from the Department of Justice, which has been linked to this case. It is reported that the government has probable cause to believe that a violation of federal law occurred and the fire may be related to the recent fuel tank issue that could cause a fire. This issue is already quite serious because if evidence is found, it could weaken public trust in the Vice President. But Drudge Report displays this story with a yellow highlight “Extra Extra” and a tempting headline “Looks like Gore’s fire trouble isn’t going away!” The news is associated with Gore and his failed attempt to reconcile global warming and the latest national energy policy. This might imply that the fire investigation is related to what Gore has been doing on the national issue. With the news framed in this way, it will be difficult for the reader not to interpret it within the given frame. Even a search using the link “Gore” in Drudge Report produces 91 articles from various sources, with several still associated with this issue.

In the 2024 election, Drudge Report still becomes one of the important elements because it can be accessed relatively easily and quickly according to the specific issue one wants to know. By the existence of Drudge Report, it will expedite the process of how people define and interpret political issues. Moreover, Drudge Report will make it easier for people, especially casual voters, the elderly, or the poor who don’t have an internet connection, to get information about political issues on TV or in newspapers. With an internet connection that is far cheaper compared to accessing TV or newspapers. This contrasts with hard news stories, which must be rewritten to attract readers but usually have an intended “meaning” or “point” that can’t be altered without losing the value of the story. The frame is a context or vantage point in which a story is displayed or distributed. It includes the headline, visual layout or graphic, the leads, and any alteration of the original event. Drudge Report rarely creates its own stories but often sets the agenda by finding a new topic or elevating an existing one, and it can take up the story from various sources like denominational, ideological, and national newspapers, TV programs, news wires, and magazines. This can be dangerous for the reader because the information might be biased or taken out of context. To support this theory, I give the example when Drudge Report frequently posts an associated link about the Warehouse Fire investigation involving the Vice President.

3. The Power of Drudge Report’s Headlines

Andrew Breitbart presented an example from his dialogue with Drudge concerning the public’s perception of General Wesley Clark in the aftermath of the 2003 Iraq invasion. A story about an anti-war protester turned presidential candidate and his fellow partisan Democrats questioning the legitimacy of Clark’s testimony during the contentious hearing for the authorization of force in Iraq was given a massive spotlight by Drudge, considering the front page banner headline “Dems to Clark: You’re a Liar.” This headline became the primary perception of Clark for a sizable portion of Americans who were only casually following the political news, and it was a story related to Breitbart by Democratic partisans and coworkers, not one found by Breitbart himself.

What stories merit a prominent link on Drudge? Matt Drudge and Andrew Breitbart, an unabashed admirer who played a role in the 2012 election cycle in suggesting which news articles should be linked, have stressed through the years that a brilliant tabloid headline of a news story is the key to “upper mobility” and getting the attention of the public on an issue. This concept gives a partial explanation as to why the site has been reported to favor coverage of the more tawdry aspects of presidential campaigns in modern times. Drudge himself has gone on record as declaring that the recall of the Clinton-Lewinsky affair and subsequent impeachment saga is what “made” his career, and the coverage of that era has become an oft-cited example of Drudge Report’s influential power to set the agenda for a story. Coverage of a similar nature that could marginalize a candidate and provide easier fodder for an opponent to attack the candidate is at risk of potentially dominating the public perception of the candidate if it is the first issue with which the candidate is associated.

One major source of the undeniable influence Drudge wields over the public and the media in a presidential campaign is the headlines he selects to feature for the daily news cycle. Cloaked in secrecy and produced without fanfare, the selection of Drudge’s headlines commands the attention of an elite cadre of political and media insiders who are under continual surveillance from colleagues to top constituencies of the parties. The editors in the media are worried about what members of their section will think about them if they are seen clicking on Drudge or even worse, have their decision to feature one of his stories favorably linked by the site.

4. Drudge Report’s Impact on Candidate Messaging

Another important aspect of the candidate Drudge readers’ accessible opportunities to hear the candidates’ own words. The Drudge Report website contains a section titled “Drudgereport Archives” which chronicles the top stories on the site month by month. Each of these “archived” pages contains a plethora of hyperlinks to stories from various different news sources which report on the topic at hand. Patrons can use this as a reliable news index to research any given news event or issue. Gore (9) and McCain (5) were imploring to surfers to use the “Drudge search engine” to hear what the candidates themselves were saying in any given event. More recently, the highly publicized mitigation Gore campaign against Bush’s Social Security stance included Gore telling his audience to “pull out your computers, go to the Drudge Report and pull up what Bush said about Social Security on his own website” (10). An analysis of visitors to the Bush and Gore campaign websites has been calculated from data taken from the “Drudge Report Archives” section for the months of September and October prior to the 2000 Presidential election. Data for each downloading event of an HTML page, image, or file from the server was recorded if it was by an IP address at the White House, the Senate, or the House of Representatives. This was then compiled in the form of a detailed visitor session and then filtered so as to eliminate any potential questions of “was it really one of the candidates.” At this time, online political advertising was still somewhat of a new idea and so data has been collected on the number of visitors who also viewed a campaign banner ad.

5. The Future of Drudge Report in Political Discourse

The Drudge Report was once at the forefront of internet news and discourse, setting the agenda for discussion in the pre-social media age. With the death of the titular editor and the website going into the hands of ideologically different owners, what is the likelihood that Drudge will continue to be the influential political media force it was? The most important piece to identify is the original factors of what made Drudge an internet news powerhouse and comparing them to the modern socio-political media landscape. Drudge came into prominence in the late 90s and early 00s during a time where the internet was primarily being used for emails, pornography, and looking for cheat codes for video games. People were sick of the BS of the 24-hour cable news cycle and Drudge was the more edgy or “alternative” means to get news and opinions. Now it is 20 years later and the findings from the research of Shen and Muzinich from the University of North Florida in 2015 show that a larger amount of returning citizens to Drudge “are using it to get elite mass-media content, suggesting that its audience may be more integral to political news in the internet age.”

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