Matt Drudge, the GOP Toy
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The Columbia Journalism Review comments on Matt Drudge’s intentionally poisonous effects on journalism, and in particular upon campaign reporting:
“Thank you, Matt Drudge, for providing us all with a brief respite from what might have otherwise been yet another ho-hum August day of campaign reporting. Because who cares what candidates are saying about Iraq or Cuba or assault rifles when “OBAMA WIFE SLAMS HILLARY?” (as Drudge casually wondered aloud across the top of his web site yesterday morning). Cat fight!
Drudge linked his teaser to a Chicago Sun-Times column in which a line from a recent Michelle Obama stump speech—”…if you can’t run your own house, you can’t run the White House”—was referenced sans context along with the suggestion (Drudge bait!) by columnist Jennifer Hunter that it “could be interpreted as a swipe at Hillary Clinton.” Drudge linked. Bloggers dissected. And predictably, Drudge soon saw his all-caps question mirrored back at him from television screens tuned to network and cable news. Some examples:
“MRS. OBAMA ATTACK?” — CNN’s American Morning this morning
“FAMILY VALUES: Did Obama’s Wife Slam Clinton?” — NBC’s Today Show this morning
“MRS. OBAMA AIMS AT SEN. CLINTON?” and “MRS. OBAMA VS. SEN. CLINTON: Cheap shot or fair territory?” — Fox News’ Fox & Friends this morning
No matter that Mrs. Obama’s “if you can’t run your own house” line could also be “interpreted” in other, less “newsworthy” ways, particularly when read in context (she was talking, as she has before on the stump, about her own family’s efforts to balance work and family time). No matter that Barack Obama told reporters (when asked on a conference call yesterday morning) that his wife was not referring to Clinton. Once flagged by Drudge, the Sun-Times’ suggested “interpretation”—them’s fightin’ words!—was the one that ricocheted around the media echo chamber.”
Interested readers can access the full Columbia Journalism Review article here.
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