Networks take campaign news tips from Drudge

by Greg Sargent, Talking Points Memo

You don't need convincing, I'm sure, but here's still more evidence (channeling Mark Halperin) that the slogan of the big networks should be: "Matt Drudge Rules Our World, Because We Happily Let Him Do Just That"

Yesterday, most of the major networks lavished coverage on the "controversial" 1984-style video that slams Hilllary Clinton by taking footage of her speaking and putting it in a 1984-ish context. Via Nexis, ABC News, CNN, and NBC Nightly News all covered it, even though it's, well, really not all that newsworthy.

Why now? As Ben Smith notes, this video has been making the rounds for at least two solid weeks. It was being written about as early as March 6. What changed?

Here's what changed: The networks' assignment editor, Matt Drudge, told them that it was important. I went back and checked, and yep -- Drudge posted it late Sunday evening. Within 24 hours, CNN, NBC and ABC had all responded to Drudge's call for coverage. Funnily enough, I can't find a single example on Nexis of any of those same networks saying anything about this before Drudge told them to. Had reporters and producers at these networks not heard of it before late Sunday evening? Almost certainly not.

Ultimately, what's really amusing about this is that the networks' mindless willingness to take their cues from Drudge is far more Ridley Scott and George Orwell than anything this video tries to say about Hillary.

Update: Media Matters notes that a San Francisco newspaper wrote about this on March 17 -- so, no, there's virtually no doubt that reporters and editors at the major networks knew about this but didn't think it was important until Drudge told them it was.

article originally published at http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/horsesmouth/2007/03/matt_drudge_com.php.

The media's job is to interest the public in the public interest. -John Dewey