BREAKING: Drudge links to Politico 45 times during its two-month existence
As Media Matters for America has noted, Politico chief political correspondent Mike Allen's March 27 article, "Rookie Mistakes Plague Obama," was apparently flagged by Matt Drudge's website, The Drudge Report, approximately one hour before The Politico posted the article on its website on the evening of March 26. John Harris, Politico editor-in-chief, has written about the media's interest in having their work linked to on the Drudge Report. Several commentators, including blogger Glenn Greenwald, have noted an apparent tendency of Drudge to link to Politico items. Media Matters has reviewed the Drudge Report Archives and found that since The Politico launched on January 23, Drudge has linked to Politico items on at least 45 separate occasions.
In The Way to Win: Taking the White House in 2008 (Random House, October 2006), Harris -- then of The Washington Post -- and then-ABC political director Mark Halperin devoted an entire chapter to Drudge's influence over the media, titled "How Matt Drudge Rules Our World," in which they state that Drudge "leans right" and warned that "[n]o Democratic politician will survive in the 2008 presidential campaign," unless they "understand" Drudge and have a "strategy" to "defend" themselves "against" Drudge. Harris and Halperin noted the great interest on the part of media, political operatives and political figures to have the Drudge Report link to an article or other material of theirs, even citing Harris' own book, The Survivor: Bill Clinton in the White House (Random House, May 2005) as an example. They also noted that Post editors are "delighted when Drudge does link to stories at Washington.post.com" and "frustrat[ed]" when he does not.
From The Way to Win:
Others have learned the value of a Drudge publicity campaign as well. Publicists for glossy wide-circulation monthly magazines and television networks regularly plan early sanctioned "leaks" to him as part of their promotion of major stories.
Meanwhile, although there is no system for authorized leaks to the Drudge Report at the Washington Post, editors at the website and main newspaper are delighted when Drudge does link to stories at washintonpost.com. Invariably, traffic to the site soars. And there is evident frustration when the Drudge Report does not acknowledge significant Washington Post pieces. Speaking of the Washington Post, one of its reporters had direct experience with Drudge's astonishing power -- both intoxicating and dangerous for those who come into contact with it. We will call this reporter "John Harris."
In 2005, like Ed Klein, Harris was promoting a book on the Clintons. Harris's volume, a history of the Clinton presidency, was by a wide margin less racy, if also less marketable, than Klein's. On the other hand, Harris knew particular sections had the potential to draw publicity-driving buzz in the news media. He wanted that publicity.
Two weeks before the official publication, he gave a series of talking points, along with an advance copy of the book itself, to a producer for a morning news program. The producer thanked him and wished him good luck, but told him that the book was not really up their alley. Later, the day before the book's publication, a friend with Harris's permission gave a set of the talking points to Drudge. A total of perhaps twenty minutes elapsed between his e-mail to the friend, the friend's e-mail to Drudge, and Drudge regurgitating the material into a banner headline and a dispatch in his own distinctive style. "Summer starts with a bang!" Drudge's "exclusive" read. "Swearing, Screaming, Steaming -- White House as Hot House." Within five minutes of that posting, another producer from the same morning show called: Was Harris free to come on the next morning? As it happened, he was committed elsewhere. But Drudge was no small part of the book's jump from 9,527 to 9 the next day on Amazon.com's sales ranking.
A Media Matters review of the Drudge Report Archives website has found at least 45 different instances in which Drudge has linked to Politico reports over The Politico's two-month existence:
Politico: "Rumsfeld Hospitalized for Heart Treatment"
Drudge: "Rumsfeld Hospitalized for Heart Treatment..."
Politico: "White House Seeks Gonzales Replacements"
Drudge: "White House Seeking Gonzales Replacements"