The Drudge Report’s drift from its original Internet rebelliousness took another step into mainstream irrelevance with a purge this week of links to pioneering conservative sites The Gateway Pundit, World Net Daily, Free Republic and Lucianne.com. Also reportedly gone are links to the late Rush Limbaugh’s site and columnist David Limbaugh.
Infowars and ZeroHedge survived the purge, however one report observed ZeroHedge was delisted for a time this week.
The Drudge Report has gone through a sharp change in recent years leading to speculation about whether reclusive owner-editor Matt Drudge secretly sold the site and relinquished control. Regardless, the site is not what it used to be and has lost substantial traffic.
Last month the Press Gazette reported the Drudge Report lost over forty percent of its traffic year-on-year from February 2020 to February 2021, “Influential conservative news aggregation site the Drudge Report saw its year-on-year visits fall by 41% from 71.4 million to 42.4 million.”
World Net Daily’s Joseph Farah wrote about being delinked by Drudge (excerpt):
It was a good ride.
Drudge and WND. Matt Drudge and Joseph Farah.
They started the internet’s news revolution together, friendly and daring, 24 years ago. It took one day, April 26, 2021, to drop the original name, WorldNetDaily, and all links from drudgereport.com.
That’s when Drudge – or whoever is calling the shots at the DrudgeReport – finally “canceled” WND.
For many years, WND included a permanent link to Drudge above the fold. That was when a Drudge link was a sign of the kind of site you ran – a Drudge-type site.
In the early days, WND had the distinguished honor of having more links back on Drudge than any other website. Joseph Farah was the second one. How did I achieve it way back in the ’90s? I simply asked for it. Yes, Drudge and I had a real relationship. That’s how I knew in recent years that it wasn’t Drudge in charge. He sold it – or sold out.
A report by NewsAmmo this week noted the delinkings (excerpt):
“Last night I was on Drudge and I think I first noticed there was no Zero Hedge link at the bottom. Then I noticed no World Net Daily either, and no Lucianne.com, or Free Republic. Those 3 sites have all been around since the late 90s and Drudge always linked to them as far as I know. Then I seen the Limbaugh brothers (David and Rush) were missing from the people links section.”
A check of Drudge on Friday shows the ZeroHedge link restored, but all the others mentioned are gone.
A review of the columnists linked by Drudge shows how old, stale and out of touch the Drudge Report has become. Nary a columnist listed came to prominence during the Trump era. Many of the writers listed have been in politics since the 1960s, 70s, 80s and 90s. Young blood and new thinkers are not to be found at Drudge anymore.
Drudge had a good, fearless run for two decades. Many of us on the conservative side owe him a debt of gratitude and appreciation. But all good things come to an end and so it is with the Drudge Report.
Note: This writer once gave Drudge the shirt off my back so he could wear it inside the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner in 2000. The t-shirt had on the front the Pulitzer Prize winning Alan Diaz/AP photo of young Cuban refugee Elian Gonzalez being taken at gunpoint by a federal agent under Clinton’s orders to be returned to Cuba. The caption on the shirt read, “Clinton’s Legacy For The Children”. Drudge came upon the annual protest of liberal media bias outside the press dinner held by the D.C. Chapter of FreeRepublic,com. Drudge admired the Elian shirt I was wearing, so I offered it to him. Matt tucked the shirt inside his tuxedo jacket and donned it once inside, walking up to face down President Clinton while wearing the shirt.