Thursday, July 4, 2013

Drudge Manifesto depicts turning point in the evolution of news gathering

Drudge Manifesto by Matt Drudge
Published by New American Library (2000)

Matt Drudge is the reporter widely credited with breaking the Monika Lewinsky / Bill Clinton scandal and other high-profile political stories on his now famous website, The Drudge Report.

Drudge Manifesto is part a re-issuing of some of Drudge’s popular posts, part reflection on his first seven years as a reporter and part rebuke against the established media players of the day, who were suspicious of Drudge and the power he yielded with his keyboard and his connections.

His web site has become a leading source of breaking news and gossip, much to the resentment of large media companies with their teams of reporters and high overheads, and much to the chagrin of celebrities and politicians who often find themselves in Drudge’s crosshairs.

To his credit, Drudge makes some sharp observations about the role of the journalist in the Internet age, and how a single individual, working alone in an apartment, with nothing but a computer, an Internet connection and some well-place sources within Washington, can outfox the mightiest news organizations on the planet.

Here is Drudge addressing a question at the National Press Club in 1998.

Q. Do you think journalists should have any minimum educational requirements?
Drudge: “I guess I'm going to the wrong libraries, because I can't find any lawsuit – civil lawsuit approved by the president of the United States against a reporter. I can’t find it. I’d like to have that information for my litigation – put it in the court papers [Drudge is the only reporter ever to be sued by the White House]. Again, I don’t maintain that I am licensed or have credentials. I created my own. I don’t know what the problem is with that. It seems to me the more freedoms we have the better off we are. And you know, I don’t have a problem with chaos and new invention and confusion. I'm sure in the early days of electricity it was absolutely chaotic. The early days of cars, the horse farmers probably said, ‘What are those things?’ It’s not where I come from. I'm much more optimistic – knowing liberty and freedom is the right way to go, knowing a new invention is afoot that is going to realize things beyond anything we dreamed of. I'm not that scared of it.”

For anyone interested in the evolution of news gathering in the Internet age, Drudge Manifesto will not disappoint.

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