Howard Kurtz catches up with Matt Drudge on the former Webunderkind's 10th anniversary online. Snippets:
Drudge complains about new sites that are "all glib, all mockery." He grumbles about "the hideous pace" of Internet news and says "the big boys"—the big newspapers whose scoops he used to pilfer—are "becoming more competitive" with faster online reports. And, he admits, "I probably am taking myself more seriously than 10 years ago."…
Drudge also acts as a shadowy entrance ramp to the mainstream highway. During last year's campaign, he billboarded a false rumor that John Kerry was having an affair with a young woman, which was picked by Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and the Web sites of National Review and the Wall Street Journal, forcing Kerry to deny it and the rest of the press to cover it….
Whatever his mistakes and excesses, Drudge was the first entrepreneur to exploit the Internet's speed in ways we now take for granted. During a phone conversation last week from London, he suddenly realized something was happening in Rome, and within seconds a red siren and headline appeared: "Bells Ringing Signaling Election of a Pope." This was followed moments later by "Ratzinger," then "Benedict," and later a shot of the tabloid headline in Britain's Sun: "From Hitler Youth to . . . PAPA RATZI."…
"I'm in my own little world," Drudge says. He doesn't own a cell phone, doing his reporting by e-mail and instant messaging. And he deflects questions about his personal life, although he told London's Sunday Times he's not gay and once almost got married. "I don't feel like volunteering anything," he says.
Nielsen Net Ratings says his site, which attracts corporate advertisers, draws 3 million unique visitors a month, and Drudge says he had 247 million page views in March. Drudge's biggest traffic day followed Janet Jackson's wardrobe malfunction. "Why? Because I showed the boob, breaking through the PC crowd," he says.
Whole thing here.