We're not ones to hype Matt Drudge's influence, but he is what he is, and New York Times editor Bill Keller and the Huffington Post's Tom Edsall's claims to the Observer that they don't read Drudge are transparent lies.
The Observer's Gillian Reagan makes the case that Drudge is losing his mojo among his main constituency, the media. And she has a point—his influence seems to have shifted away from the pointy-headed self-loathing media types who worship him like some sort of magical animal and chase down his wildest speculations to a more direct-to-wingnut, populist beacon of craziness. He's still the assignment editor for Fox News, but Mark Halperin didn't even talk to Reagan for her story, so that says something right there.
But Keller and Edsall—who is HuffPo's political editor—did respond, and they both claimed that they don't even read Drudge.
Keller: "It's probably been a year since I looked at the Drudge report, or felt its impact in any way."
Edasll: "I don't check [Drudge] to speak of."
We're sure they don't masturbate, either. If Keller doesn't read the Drudge Report at least occasionally, it would constitute a professional incompetence of such proportions that we're confident he's lying in order to project a delusional fantasy of a pre-internet media environment in the desperate hope that it will come true. Matt Drudge exists—he is an engine of right-wing paranoia and launcher of 1,000 bullshit stories, and whether Keller likes it or not, he's a part of the political world that Keller's newspaper purports to cover. He's an unpleasant part of that world, but for Keller to even claim that he ignores him is like a pilot ignoring bad weather. More likely Keller reads Drudge and then smugly dismisses what he sees, which is why his managing editor just acknowledged being "a beat behind" on the Van Jones story that Drudge started hyping a week ago.
And Thomas Edsall? He's just lying. Tom Edsall reads the Drudge Report. Every day. If we were to walk into his office, go to his keyboard, launch his browser, and type in "D-R", it would autocomplete "drudgereport.com."
"Maybe he wasn't the phenomenon trend-watchers thought," Keller haughtily told the Observer after briefly pulling his head out of the sand. "Maybe he was just a fad-digital-age hula hoop."
Yes, Bill. A decade-long fad. Airplanes are a fucking fad, too, as you can see from the fact that railroads still exist and the airline industry is struggling. You know what really was a fad? About.com, which your newspaper paid $410 million for in 2005.