For years, I was a big reader of Drudge. Was never a fan of Drudge, though I recognized his entrepreneurial acumen. In fact, I despised most everything that he stood for, from rancid politics to integrity free journalism, the endless lying. But I visited the site ALL THE TIME. And the reason was simple. Before social media and (for me) before the TPM “talk” email account gave me a steady traffic of pointers to important stories from everywhere it was just a great way to know what was happening — both in the most basic sense of what was happening and also what was being talked about.
And then maybe half a dozen years ago I just lost interest.
The utility disappeared. There were plenty of other channels I could use to stay up to date. And probably just as importantly there was a much fuller ecosystem of news sites and Drudge simply wasn’t the same kind of force anymore, though many in Washington, on all fours and leather-strapped desperately wanted him to rule their world.
For me personally a lot of that was the “talk” emails at TPM. I’d find things out faster than most people in the news business. Just one tragic example: I found out about the Gabby Giffords shooting before it hit any national news wire because a reader in Tucson flagged it to us. But even setting aside that vital stream of information that isn’t public, social media, Twitter and so forth fills the gap. Twitter also allows me to listen in on what lots of different political and ideological factions are saying and thinking.
I heard that Drudge was milking the race war this afternoon so I checked in. First time in forever. And I was just hit by the alternative reality. The skewed polls, the bottom giving out from the HMS Titanic Obama, the fight for human rights to oppressed conservatives.
Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.