Not everyone knows who Matt Drudge is. although to read his press, one would think he ruled the Cyber-world.
He's one of the original bloggers -- the ultimate reporter in pajamas, who does all his research on the Internet and has been called "a part of the legend, a bit of style in the void of cyberspace."
He seems to be a modest fellow. In a recent interview he said, "I'm self-taught, self-educated, self-made. I didn’t go to a fancy journalism school, I had to learn about computers and the net by myself." Like I said, the original blogger in pajamas.
The reason he's so legendary, it seems, is that he "outed" the Clinton/Lewinsky affair in the 1990s. “I was first to break the news about the death of Lady Diana,” he told a reporter. “The CNN team couldn’t get into make-up fast enough.”
He runs the "Drudge Report," which is one of the Big Blogs in cyberspace -- a profitable one. He does his research like any other blogger: "Yesterday I spent 13 hours in my hotel room looking for news. I’ve done seven hours already and will do another seven tonight."
So that's who Matt Drudge is. Not some Yalie or editor of the Harvard Law Review with inside information but just your everyday yokel with a laptop. Which is fine. Except that the worm seems to have turned.
He has, in the past nine or so years gone from "We have entered an era vibrating with the din of small voices. Every citizen can be a reporter, can take on the powers that be" to "There’s a danger of the internet just becoming loud, ugly and boring with a thousand voices screaming for attention." Of bloges he says, "I don't read them. I like to create waves and not surf them. And who are these influential bloggers? You can't name one because they don't exist."
Well, Drudge, they exist but they don't exist to take people in power down (like Clinton/Lewinsky) or to report sensationalism (like the death of Princess Di) and they aren't in it for the money. It's the very fact that they are loud and somewhat cacaphonous that gives them power.
And what is that power, you ask? It's the power to put important issues before Congress and mobilize voters and citizens into action. It's the power to research not only what you report but what columnists and reporters and anchorpeople report to check their facts and find out where the truth actually is.
Our power is not necessarily in the individual voice but in a combination of our voices and it's the true power of a republic/democracy. We can find the truth and "out" it. And for some of us, that's the mission.
Matt Drudge doesn't need us. But on the other hand, we don't need Matt Drudge, either.