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Category: Media and Politics
Posted by: A Waco Farmer
In terms of disdain generated from the mainstream media and the liberal establishment, Matt Drudge ranks second only to Rush Limbaugh. The Left hates Drudge; they have parodied him, slandered him and attempted to reduce his readership by brutally disparaging his audience.

None of it has worked.

Why? What is the value of Drudge?

Like most of America, I had never heard of the Drudge Report before January 21, 1998. As we all remember, Drudge entered the American political lexicon by breaking a huge story that Newsweek refused to publish: the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

Once I realized that Drudge readers found out on January 17 what I didn't learn until four days later, I decided that Drudge was a necessary supplement to my news diet.

Drudge cuts to the chase with sensational political stories. The recent Al Gore III and John Edwards dust-ups are cases in point. While the establishment outlets wringed their hands and waited for the sensational to become news (because others were reporting it), Drudge reported. Drudge became the one-stop center for Gore news this morning.

Similarly, when George Stephanopoulos mentioned John Edwards's latest hair gaffe this morning on GMA, I clicked around a bit to no avail--and then went to Drudge. Of course, there it was: Top-Right Corner. Easy.

Most times, as in the case of the Edwards story, Drudge is not an investigative reporter; he is not a newshound in the sense of a muckraking journalists, but he is a newshound in terms of highlighting interesting but obscure stories already in play. In the case of Edwards, the story came from an incredibly elite source, the Washington Post. But Drudge made it the story of the day.

Although the field is congested now with imitators on both sides of the divide, Drudge continues to play a vital role in electronic politics. Slap me if I ever get too cultured for the Drudge Report.
Trivia Question: What is the least-read edition of any daily newspaper?

Answer: Saturday

This Saturday in the Washington Post:

Christina Shelton, an intelligence analyst at the Defense Intelligence Agency from 1984 to 2006, writes of her role in determining the existing links between Saddam's Iraq and the al-Qaeda terrorist organization during the summer of 2002.

Quoting Shelton:

"[Back then] I summarized a body of mostly CIA reporting (dating from 1990 to 2002), from a variety of sources, that reflected a pattern of Iraqi support for al-Qaeda, including high-level contacts between Iraqi senior officials and al-Qaeda, training in bomb making, Iraqi offers of safe haven, and a nonaggression agreement to cooperate on unspecified areas."

The Shelton piece is a curious article (in full here), as it comes without editorial comment or context--but clearly radiates resentment for the way in which George Tenet, the media and the swirling "politics of the Iraq war" have clouded the study of an extremely complicated issue.

Notwithstanding, she optimistically predicts that "a more complete understanding of Iraq's relationship with al-Qaeda will emerge when [future less politicized] historians can exploit the numerous seized documents."

We can only hope.

For now, the template of the mainstream media, who often bemoan the lack of nuance in political discussions, demand "black and white," "right or wrong" answers when it comes to pre-war intelligence.