Media Comment & Crimes

Does unreliable mean "honest"?

<![CDATA[’s Jonathan Martin and Ben Smith pontificate that:

“The day, and the weeks before and since, capture what may be the most striking new feature of the 2008 media landscape. Matt Drudge has upended the conventional wisdom that he and his powerful online vehicle are stalwarts of the conservative message machine.”

The posting goes on for pages, with Ariana Huffington saying Drudge has a “great grasp of the zeitgeist” and attributing the shift from right-leaning coverage to “left-leaning” coverage to Drudge’s “libertarian streak.” Ultimately, someone does point out that Drudge is mostly interested in traffic.
But does any of this make his coverage more meaningful? Does it assist Drudge’s readers in understanding how much of the “truth” they can expect from this guy? No. He’s simply important because he has “continuing power to drive the stories and shape the narratives that define presidential politics.” It doesn’t matter that he is all over the map or that he arbitrarily chooses what to ignore and to promote—the primary criticism of the mainstream media, if memory serves. In the end, the story merely increases the power of Drudge by rehearsing all the stories he has done lately.
Drudge merely gives lazy writers something to write about in lieu of doing real journalism. I don’t read Drudge, because he doesn’t mean anything or add anything to the debate about issues affecting the country, because he is only interested in Drudge. His power is political, rather than a phenomenon of the media, which is what matters about it. He hasn’t upended wisdom, just kept people prepared to pander to his whims. That is the formula for something other than truthful reporting based on hard research.]]>