MAY 1, 2008
More on the Dems and conservative media: Early in the campaign, team Hillary courted Matt Drudge and earned remarkably kind treatment from his Drudge Report website. That changed a long time ago. When Hillary's artifice of perfection was first shattered in that October 2007 debate exchange over immigrant drivers licenses, Drudge led the gleeful pile-on, and he's never looked back.
But more recently I've noticed that Drudge is not only hard on Clinton, he's actually quite good to Obama. He gave this week's Jeremiah Wright flap surprisingly little play, and today he leads with a superdelegate story that is precisely the narrative-changer the Obama camp is pushing hard. (And recall that even when Drudge posted that photo of Obama in African garb, he basically spun it as a shocking Clinton dirty trick.)
One politico I know who watches Drudge closely says that he doesn't play favorites or push agendas (though he clearly has a conservative streak) but simply does what's good for business. I would think playing up the Wright story and a dramatic crisis within the Obama campaign would move the most traffic. But maybe his internal stats show that what people really want is more on the collapse of the Clintons.
Regardless, given Drudge's real (if absurd) influence over TV producers and some print outlets*, it's a welcome development for the Obama campaign. And given Drudge's historic antipathy towards John McCain, it'll be even more interesting to see how he handles the general election.
*I once had a newspaper reporter tell me that his editor made him reframe a story about one debate after seeing the way Drudge had played it.