The DC-NYC-LA power nexus craves lists that rank the politico-media elite, and we've got the most important one of all: Matt Drudge's favorite personalities/targets, ranked by the number of times their names have appeared in his headlines since 2002.
Last week, University of Illinois researcher Kalev Leetaru plumbed the depths of the Drudge Report Archives, which has recorded a digital snapshot each time Drudge has updated his site since 2002, for data—including a ranking of each word Drudge has used in headlines for the last seven years—and published an academic review of Drudge's posting habits. Leeratu only presented a chart of ten most frequently used words on the site, and they were all conjunctions and connector words. But he graciously agreed to provide us with a spreadsheet of all 31,802 discreet terms Drudge has employed to construct the Platonically ideal tabloid headlines he writes so well, and we pulled out all the bold-faced names. Below is a chart of every person who was mentioned at least 100 times on the Drudge Report between January 1, 2002 and December 31, 2008.
George W. Bush tops the list, naturally, with 4,889 appearances on the report, an average of two per day. Next up is Barack Obama, who made his debut on the Drudge Report in 2006, with 2,387 mentions. Poor John McCain placed third, with half that number. Hillary Clinton is close behind as the top-ranked woman in Drudge's world—no surprise, considering he once said, "I need Hillary Clinton.... That's my bank." Speaking of women, there aren't many—10 out of a total of 56 people who rated 100 mentions—and they almost all share the drama-queen turbulence that Drudge lives to chronicle: Katie Couric, Sarah Palin, Madonna, Martha Stewart, etc.
Also notable is the large number of international leaders, a function both of Drudge's global focus and his tendency to fashion delicious villains out of our enemies. Vladimir Putin beats Rupert Murdoch, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Hugo Chavez, and Yasir Arafat all beat Michael Moore.
One curiosity: The high ranking of arch-conservative journalist and conspirator Robert Novak, who, at 150 mentions, outranks Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, and many other higher-profile names. Many of those were likely in reference to the Scooter Libby affair, though Judith Miller just broke 60 mentions.
And where does Matt Drudge, the power broker to rule them all, rank on his own list? Number 38, with 139 mentions. He may be a near-recluse in real life, but in Drudgeworld, he beats even O.J.
A caveat: The data we drew from literally tabulated each individual word, which rendered some rankings impossible. How many times was Bill Clinton mentioned? We don't know: "Bill" could refer to legislation, and "Clinton" could refer to either Bill or Hillary. Similarly, we assumed each instance of "Jackson" referred to Michael, though that's probably not the case. So it's not entirely scientific. Though probably a lot more than all other power lists, actually.
Have at it.