The Drudge Report was once considered indispensable by conservatives hungry for news gathered from a broad array of sources, but that appears to be a thing of the past in the era of President Donald Trump.
Fox News host Tucker Carlson spent a few moments on Friday addressing the “180 degrees” turn website founder Matt Drudge appears to have made in recent years, changing from “influential” conservative news figure to “a man of the progressive left,” The Hill reported.
Carlson slams Drudge
Carlson’s commentary about the Drudge Report preceded a technologically interrupted — and thus truncated — interview with Matthew Lysiak, who recently wrote a biography about Drudge and who has some insight into the man behind the website.
“For decades, Matt Drudge was one of the most influential figures in conservative news journalism,” Carlson said, according to The Hill. “His self-titled Drudge Report broke news and set priorities in digital media. Republican presidential candidates made wooing the famously secretive Drudge a high priority, and for several of them, including Donald Trump, it paid off big.”
“But if you’ve seen the Drudge Report recently, you know that it has changed dramatically, 180 degrees,” he added. “Matt Drudge is now firmly a man of the progressive left. At times, his site is indistinguishable from The Daily Beast or any other woke propaganda outlet posing as a news company.”
The Hill noted that Carlson is not the only figure on the ideological right to make note of the dramatic change in content featured on the Drudge Report and included remarks from others who have pointed out the transformation themselves, including President Trump.
In response to a tweet in April about “disingenuous” and “misleading” COVID-19-related headlines on Drudge, Trump tweeted, “I gave up on Drudge (a really nice guy) long ago, as have many others. People are dropping off like flies!”
The coverage from Drudge of the coronavirus pandemic and the Trump administration’s response to it was noted by Just the News as one of the clearest signs of the news aggregator’s “more hostile” stance toward the president and “notably less conservative” media offerings for readers.
That stands in stark contrast to the website’s previous status as a “fierce advocate and booster” for Trump both before and for a time after the 2016 election, as Just the News noted. It also seems opposite to the stance taken by Drudge in opposition to the presidencies of both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.
All about the bottom line
According to Drudge biographer Lysiak’s comments during his brief interview with Carlson, the change in tone from Drudge can most likely be explained by the fact that the only thing that really matters to Drudge is the financial bottom line of his website.
In other words, in order to draw more clicks, Drudge has abandoned the conservative readers he counted as fans for the preceding two decades.
If presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden somehow wins the presidency in the fall, it will be interesting to see if Drudge shifts back toward the right, again merely out of a desire to earn views. Perhaps even more interesting to consider is whether conservatives would welcome him back into the oppositional fold or leave him on the outside looking in, having alienated both ends of the political divide in his transparent quest for a buck.