Monday, May 14, 2007

Is Matt Drudge Afraid of Barack Obama?

I visit the Drudge Report, I don't know, many, many times a day. It's just one of those sites I reflexively visit and check for updates every time I sit down at my computer. It's great one-stop shopping for news and to see what is going on in the world. And even though Matt Drudge, himself, may be conservative in his political views, and even though I'm not, that doesn't bother me, because, even though news can be slanted, I know that going in, and for the most part, I keep an eye out for it. But in the last week, I've noticed something interesting (and maybe I'm not the first, who knows?) but it seems like Drudge is going out of his way to knock Barack Obama down a peg. Take Obama's gaffe on May 8th when he mistakenly said 10,000 citizens in Kansas were killed in a devastating tornado. It was a mistake, and one that shouldn't have been made (it may make people worried about "rookie" mistakes from the politically inexperienced Obama) but it was a slip of the tongue, not a case for the FBI. But, looking at the Drudge Report for part of May 9th, Obama's mistake was the first, above the fold story, complete with a picture of the Senator.

According to the New York Times, Drudge's coverage of the mistake helped lead to it becoming a national story.

For the record, aides said, the Illinois senator reads the newspaper. He knew that 11 people had been killed in the tornado – not 10,000 – but they said he simply misread the notes for his speech and was caught up in the moment of criticizing the Bush administration for stretching the National Guard too thin – in Kansas and elsewhere – and tying up its equipment in Iraq.

Fair enough. Mistakes happen. What else is going to fill up the Drudge Report?

Then on May 13, Drudge hit Obama with a variety of negative headlines.

So, let's see, Obama's wife has negative ties with Walmart, his supporters fall asleep during his speeches, and he went to Detroit, America's automotive heartland, to praise Japanese automakers. I'm surprised he didn't also forget to get his wife a present for Mother's Day, or maybe Drudge is saving that for Monday.

Now, to be fair, if the stories weren't being written, Drudge would have nothing to link to. And Obama opened the door with his Kansas gaffe. And Drudge shouldn't ignore negative stories, but it does seem like he is going out of his way to paint Obama in an unflattering light, which begs me to ask, is Drudge afraid of Obama? Is he worried about Obama's political momentum and feels the need to try to slow him down? Or am I being overly paranoid and looking for a story where there isn't one? Maybe, in the end, it's a bit of both.

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Johnny Fratsauce said...


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