Washington Post "Reliable Source" columnist Richard Leiby reported on June 24 that Internet gossip Matt Drudge was slow to post the news from the publisher of former President Bill Clinton's new memoir, My Life, that the book -- with record sales of more than 400,000 copies -- had shattered the previous record for single-day sales for nonfiction. According to Leiby, "Drudge, usually one of the quickest cyber reporters around, picked up that story [announced at 1:30 p.m.] in the late afternoon, after we sent him requests for comment."
In fact, throughout the day of June 23, while noting reports of strong sales by CNN, Reuters, and the Associated Press, Drudge tried mightily to create the false impression that the book was not selling well nationwide: The Drudge Report linked to a variety of regional and local news reports about weak demand for the book in some locations but ignored a slew of regional and local news reports about strong demand in many other places.
Drudge linked to the following local news reports on My Life throughout the day [headlines are Drudge's, not the articles' headlines]:
Following are links to regional and local news reports that Drudge did not link to that make it clear that My Life is a hit nationwide:
The Port Arthur News (TX): "Clinton memoirs selling like hot cakes"
Brownwood Bulletin (TX): "'My Life' book sales brisk in Brownwood"
Star Tribune (MN): "Eager buyers line up for Clinton's book"
NBC's WEEK-TV (IL): "Clinton Sales In Central Illinois"
Albuquerque Tribune (NM): "Clinton book draws sales, paints a savvy Richardson"
KOBTV (NM): "Clinton book sells briskly in ABQ"
The Lawrence Journal-World (KS): "Publicity, discounts drive brisk sales of Clinton memoirs"
Savannah Morning News (GA): "Clinton's memoir logs steady first-day sales in Savannah"
Quad City Times (IA): "BRISK SALES OF CLINTON BOOK IN Q-C"
Aberdeen News (SD): "Clinton's memoirs hits Hub City stores"
Seattle Post-Intelligencer (WA): "Seattleites get in line to buy Clinton's 'My Life'"
The Olympian (WA): "South Sound Bookseller Finds 'My Life' a Good Read"
Rocky Mountain News (CO): "'My Life' has the magic touch: Crowds, record sales greet ex-president's 950-page memoir"
Burlington County Times (PA): "Clinton's book sells fast locally"
KSPR TV(MO): "'My Life' Sales in Springfield"
The Journal Star (IL): "Clinton book jumping off shelves: Hundreds of copies sold as 'My Life' debuts here"
The Times Porter County (IN): "Clinton's book reaches stores: Steady stream of region residents buy former president's book"
The Sun Herald (MS): "'My Life' Appears to be a Blockbuster: Clinton's memoir selling well here"
Drudge's phony spin echoed throughout the right-wing media:
Brit Hume, FOX News managing editor and chief Washington correspondent, during his "Political Grapevine" segment on FOX News Channel's June 23 Special Report with Brit Hume:
HUME: Customers lined up in Washington and New York to buy President Clinton's new autobiography, and the publisher claimed record sales. But bookstores across the country seem not to be sharing in the demand. "The San Francisco Examiner" reported only a, quote, " smattering of people" in bookstores there, while one Palm Beach, Florida bookseller complained about what he called, quote, "A real slow day." Meanwhile, bookstores in Houston, Virginia Beach, Tucson, San Antonio, Sacramento, Cincinnati, and elsewhere reported modest sales of "My Life," the book, and no lines.
Sean Hannity, co-host of FOX News Channel Hannity & Colmes, on the June 23 program:
HANNITY: I know -- I know that the Clinton book is selling well in New York and selling well in San Francisco and some big cities. But papers in Ft. Wayne, outside of Chicago; Billings; Indiana; Cleveland; Tucson; Cincinnati; Houston; Palm Beach, all have stories today about nobody is buying it in these cities in the red part of America.
Joe Scarborough, host of MSNBC's Scarborough Country and former U.S. representative (R-FL), during his "Real Deal" segment on the June 23 program:
SCARBOROUGH: You know, Bill Clinton's publisher announced today that the former president's memoir, "My Life," sold a staggering 400,000 copies the first day it hit bookstores. Sales very brisk in New York and Washington, but newspapers across middle America are reporting that Mr. Clinton's 957-page bio drew yawns from readers in the heartland.
Bill Clinton is still a superstar in New York, but judging from e-mails and calls I have taken this week, he remains unpopular over much of America. ...Unfortunately, this soft-core psychobabble doesn't sell well in a country that's been scarred by September 11 and two wars.
The Washington Times, in a June 24 article titled "Clinton's book fails to appeal to heartland":
City folk might have swooned over the much-ballyhooed arrival of "My Life," former President Bill Clinton's autobiography, but there's little hubbub in the American heartland, where the citizenry seems less impressed with hype and hyperbole.