Et tu, Drudge? This is an increasingly common conservative lament now that the Drudge Report, the leviathan of news aggregators, has turned left. In fact, it appears that Drudge is continuing to bleed conservative readers, with one observer likening its woes to the collapse of Enron Corporation, the once ballyhooed American energy, commodities, and services company that became immersed in scandal and declared bankruptcy in 2001. And as Drudge declines, competitors such as anti-establishment news aggregator Whatfinger.com appear to be reaping the benefits.
After registering an August-September decline, Drudge’s readership went further south in the September-October period, dropping the site 338 places in global traffic rankings, according to Similar Web. In fact, the “negative numbers are beginning to resemble one of the models employed to predict corporate disasters,” asserts True Pundit.
The site continues, “One of the things you learn as a Certified Fraud Examiner is forensic accounting and modeling and Drudge’s recent and quick mud slide of web traffic is starting to look like the Enron model.”
True Pundit contends that Matt Drudge, the aggregator’s eponymous founder, would have serious problems were he employed in corporate America. The site then quotes an Investopedia summary of the Enron debacle pointing out how the company’s shares collapsed from a high of $90.75 to just $0.26 at its 2001 bankruptcy.
“I have used the Enron model — specifically the schematics of its plummeting stock index — as a barometer for pinpointing problematic corporate warning signs, trap doors, and wayward executives and it rarely fails,” True Pundit then writes.
“Drudge’s overall web traffic is down nearly 18 percent in September and October, according to the tracking metrics on Similar Web. That’s a massive and accelerated [sic] slide from approximately 93 million visits to 77 million,” the site continues.
Drudge is now, True Pundit concludes, haunted by “the ghosts of Enron.”
Whether or not this is an exaggeration, you can decide. But as someone acquainted with news/commentary site seasonal web patterns, I can say definitively that Drudge is going south when it should be heading north.
Emerging from the summer vacation season, news sites typically gain traffic as people leave relaxation and fun-in-the-sun mode and return to normal routines. For example, after experiencing a summer decline, The New American’s readership spiked starting mid-September. The same post-August increase was registered by American Thinker, WND.com, NewsMax.com, the left-wing Daily Beast, and Whatfinger. In fact, no news site I checked experienced a September-October decline — except Drudge.
The issue? As CD Media wrote October 6 in “Winning! Whatfinger Takes Business From Newly Anti-Trump Drudge,” “If you haven’t noticed, the Drudge Report has gone off the rails politically, now firmly in the anti-Trump camp, with daily questionable headlines pushing the anti-Trump narrative of the Left.”
While it’s just anecdotal, the conservative discontent was reflected in the comments under an October article I wrote on the subject. A sampling (edited for language and punctuation and spelling errors):
• “I want to see all honest and factual information, regardless whether it is conservative or anti-Trump, but Drudge has stooped to the same misinformation, fake news, and dishonest reporting as CNN, MSNBC, NYT, et al. Total fraud. No more Drudge for me.”
• “In the past 4 years, I have noticed, there were many HUGE breaking news stories. And when I went to Drudge, it wasn’t being reported. Often it would take hours or the next day for the story to show up on Drudge. He is a has-been. I was a hardcore viewer. Now I go about once every 3 months.”
• “Like the NFL ... I am done with Drudge! They can go ... choke on it.”
• “Left Drudge for Whatfinger a long time back. Clean break.”
Yet while the anti-Trump turn is what conservatives most notice, Drudge’s greater and more enduring trespass, from a patriotic perspective, is that it has long been doing much to empower establishment sources. As Liberty Nation informed last year:
The Drudge Report is Numero Uno for referring traffic primarily to the rogue’s gallery of narrative-driven left-wing media outlets like CNN, the New York Times, and The Washington Post. As a conservative who’s now well versed in the power and money that traffic gives these outlets, one must ask[:] What’s up with that? Why is such a robust website on the right driving so much traffic to the left? Don’t these legacy properties [that] perform palace guard functions for the establishment already have enough influence and power to get there on their own? Do conservatives need to be giving them a helping hand?
In fact, wouldn’t it be nice if, instead of providing eyeballs for the fake-news media, some of this traffic were directed toward honest outlets such as The New American?
In truth, though, Matt Drudge never presented himself as a traditionalist. His claim to fame was breaking the Monica Lewinsky/Bill Clinton scandal in the ’90s, an act that could reflect opportunism as much as “conservatism.”
But that coup did power Drudge’s rise, making it what it became. Whether its turn left means the leviathan will become the Titanic, well, that remains to be seen.