Salon’s Alex Pareene is calling out Matt Drudge, owner and operator of the link site DrudgeReport.com, for what he described as a system of posts seeking to characterize black Americans as a dangerous group — a threat to others.
Pareene finds that since the election of President Barack Obama, the Drudge Report has spent time and energy collecting, highlighting and stringing together articles where whites are placed in jeopardy by black kids.
Pareene calls it “scary black people” coverage. He notes that “Drudge does not collect and attempt to tie together disparate, unrelated stories of crimes committed by drunk, rowdy white kids,” though such articles on such incidents are common and easy to find.
Pareene’s article is part of a series by Salon analyzing the far right’s reaction and perspective of events during the so-called aftermath of the election of America’s first black president.
Pareene traces the Drudge’s current “fixation” with race to the 2008 presidential campaign of Senator John McCain and Drudge’s report — later proved to be false — statement that a McCain campaign worker had been mutilated by a black Obama campaign worker.
An indication of the same fixation may be seen in the substantially darkened photo of Obama that appeared Thursday on the home page of the Drudge Report, alongside a cheerful photo of Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, all under the headline “Romney Slams Obama: He’s Failed USA.”
Drudge and his site first gained notoriety by breaking the Monica Lewinski-Bill Clinton story, but the Drudge Report does little reporting of its own. Instead, it collects links to articles published elsewhere. Drudge and his staff decide what links go up, how they are grouped, and what headlines appear on the page.
On rare occasion, Drudge himself will write brief reports of a few paragraphs. Most often, these spread speculation and rumors on politics and sex and share salacious details of the lives of politicians and celebrities. These posts have a documented record of wild inaccuracies.
Though the Drudge Report links to articles representing all political persuasions, the site is undeniably reactionary — and influential. Drudge’s speculations and story choices feed ideas and material to the right-wing media. His work is cited regularly in Fox News discussions and talk-radio commentary.
Pareene cites one telling example of Drudge’s role as a pipeline to the right, tied to an incident on a Chicago school bus in 2009. “A kid on a bus in Illinois getting beaten up is not really national news — until Drudge makes it so,” Pareene observes. “The fact that the beater was black and the victim white is why Drudge made it national news. Rush Limbaugh made the subtext explicit: ‘In Obama’s America, the white kids now get beat up with the black kids cheering.’”
That’s how it works — and that’s how Drudge, a curious, almost reclusive individual, has become a key figure in American media. And now, Pareene argues, Drudge is bringing that influence to bear on a disturbing narrative: “The blacks are rising up and attacking the whites.”