While police officers in downtown Dallas were being killed late Thursday night into Friday morning, conservative media hero Matt Drudge donned the homepage of his eponymous Drudge Report with an unmistakable approach to the story:
This headline. Wow. pic.twitter.com/0ALYFLdC9T
— Michelle Fields (@MichelleFields) July 8, 2016
The ambush of the cops came during an otherwise peaceful protest orchestrated in response to the killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile last week, sparking renewed national debate about law enforcement and minority communities. Targeting the growing #BlackLiveMatter protest movement in this country, Drudge opted for the most sinister take of the work done by the group, even though at the time the headline was published, very few details about the shooter were known.
As we would come to discover on Friday, the alleged gunman Micah X. Johnson was an Army veteran with experienced military training and a black militant.
Conservatives in the political media world have been critical of Drudge for the flap ever since it went public. Former Mediaite editor Noah Rothman took to Twitter on Friday morning to voice what many of his right-of-center colleagues have felt:
In moments like these, we should do the opposite of what Drudge is doing. Not saying it’s right or wrong; merely imprudent.
— Noah Rothman (@NoahCRothman) July 8, 2016
And as even David French — that guy whose name you remember because he was briefly championed as the anti-Trump savior to redeem the Republican party — bluntly put it:
I just deleted my Drudge app.
— David French (@DavidAFrench) July 8, 2016
As Business Insider‘s Oliver Darcy wrote this weekend, “The anti-Drudge sentiment had been simmering for months. But it seemed to finally come to a boil with the Drudge Report’s coverage of the Dallas attack.” In March, The Blaze‘s Glenn Beck took on Drudge, saying, “This show is an opinion show. That’s what we do. We tell you the news, and then we give you our opinion on the news… That’s not what Matt Drudge is. Matt Drudge is a website that links to the news. But his news — his news sources have become Breitbart, who, Breitbart is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Trump industries.”
It is this unapologetically pro-Trump stance that has largely given many conservatives pause about the person that Mediaite ranked as the #4 most influential person in political media for 2015.
And as Mediaite’s John Ziegler wrote in March:
Even more importantly, because of the enormous traffic and attention that a well-placed Drudge link can bring, when it becomes clear what narrative Matt is favoring, a literal “market” is created for stories which fit that storyline so that they might be linked on the Drudge Report. For instance, it is my strong belief that, if Drudge had not gotten on the Trump bandwagon, Breitbart.com would never have so overtly done so, because they wouldn’t have had the same financial/traffic incentives.
Steve Deace, an Iowa radio host, recently said, “Drudge isn’t a conservative. He’s a sensationalist. And right now, the sensation is white grievance politics/populism, so he’s parked there.”
Users have taken to social media in the days since the Dallas massacre to sound off on the #BoycottDrudge movement:
— Stop Trump PAC (@StopTrumpPAC) July 8, 2016
— Crouton17 (@Crouton17) July 8, 2016
— Benny Polatseck (@BPolatseck) July 8, 2016
— chenx064 (@chenx064) July 8, 2016
Retweeted Stop Trump PAC (@StopTrumpPAC):
— Greg Jobeless (@gregjobe95) July 8, 2016
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.