While speaking with a local California radio program Monday, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said the popular Drudge Report has become “the attack site for the Donald Trump campaign.” A number of conservatives have noticed a sharp turn in the site’s coverage, and a RedState diarist responded by creating an alternative website with links and stories about both candidates.
“Look, Drudge Report over the years has done a good job highlighting the excesses of the left and the excesses of liberalism, and about the past month the Drudge Report has basically become the attack site for the Donald Trump campaign,” Cruz told talk show host Mike Slater. “And so every day they have the latest Trump attack. They’re directed at me. It — by all appearances, Roger Stone now decides what’s on Drudge, and most days they have a six-month-old article that is some attack on me, and it’s — whatever the Trump campaign is pushing that day will be the banner headline on Drudge.” Cruz continued, telling Slater the site no longer covers news.
“Remember they used to have things like election results? They don’t put those on Drudge anymore,” he added. “When we win a state, suddenly the state doesn’t matter. You know Colorado — there was no red siren on Drudge when we won all 34 delegates in Colorado. That wasn’t news, because — I mean listen, that’s fine. If people want to get on the ‘Trump train,’ they can. I actually think we need real and meaningful solutions to the problems in this country, and as president my focus is going to be on three things: jobs, freedom and security.”
Is there any substance to Cruz’s argument? Politico — hardly a member of the so-called “vast right-wing conspiracy,” analyzed Drudge’s coverage and said Cruz is right. Nolan D. McCaskill said that an analysis of over 300 Drudge banners indicates Cruz is onto something.
“Matt Drudge’s conservative aggregation site has largely pushed banner pieces publicizing Trump favorably and in recent days either criticizing or deriding Cruz, a stark shift from 2015, when he appeared to be ambivalent toward the billionaire businessman,” McCaskill wrote. From the time Trump announced his campaign last June through the end of the year, he “was largely a bit player” on Drudge’s site. But the situation changed dramatically early in 2016.
“This year, however, Drudge has gone all in on Trump,” McCaskill added. “Examples range from a banner linking to a live Trump rally on Jan. 7 to full-spectrum treatment of the ‘firestorm’ and ‘fury’ regarding the nominating process in Colorado this past weekend — which Trump claimed was ‘rigged’ in favor of Cruz.”
As a result of Drudge’s skewed headlines, RedState diarist JD Rucker said he started Social NewsWatch to provide some balanced coverage. Oddly, enough, he said, it wasn’t just the Drudge Report that pushed him over the edge.
“It was the disgusting lack of journalistic standards and editorial decorum demonstrated by Daily Caller,” he wrote. “Their attack on RedState was the type that cannot be excused. Trump already has Breitbart and other major publications acting as his trumpet amplifiers. There needs to be more eyes-open conservative voices on the internet to point out the lunacy of a Trump nomination, to highlight the conspiracy that is the John Kasich campaign, and to point to true conservatives like Ted Cruz who need our support.”
Once the primary is complete and the GOP nominee is selected, he said, the site will focus on conservatives in state and local elections while highlighting “hypocrisy from the left.” Rucker also said the page will promote the GOP nominee, providing it’s Cruz. The only fly in the ointment, however, is the number of visitors Drudge receives on a daily basis, something Rucker is keenly aware of.
“I have no illusions of competing with Drudge,” he added. “They get millions of visitors. My site gets thousands. It doesn’t matter. Every bit helps in this strange election cycle.”