The Making of the Liberal Drudge

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Jan. 5 2011 9:46 AM

The Making of the Liberal Drudge

William Cohan reports on the lawsuit Democratic consultants James Boyce and Peter Daou have filed over the credit they think they deserve for developing the Huffington Post. It's a good read that does not do much to convince the reader that Boyce and Daou were right. Their key contribution to the development -- a 15-page memo for a site tentatively called "1460," for the number of days between presidential elections -- does not brim with original ideas. It's fascinating to recall, though, how a liberal news site with original reporting, now relied on by both parties as a way to break news and get it covered by the rest of the press, originated as a way to elect a Democratic president. Boyce takes us back to the night John Kerry lost:

He remembers coming across a statistic—whether true or not is unclear—that in the last 24 hours of the election some 36 million people had visited the Drudge Report. The numbers swirled in his head—125 million voters, 36 million people on Drudge, and the election was lost because of around 100,000 voters in Ohio—and he had his eureka moment: "John Kerry lost that election because he did not have a Drudge," he says. "That’s why we lost."

Advertisement

HuffPo hasn't replaced Drudge. It really has given Democrats and liberal groups -- largely unions -- access to the echo chamber that had been dominated more by conservatives. But unlike Drudge, it spends a lot of time reporting on outrages by conservatives, everything from Palin tweets to videos of birther congressmen, and the jury's still out on how this helps elect Democrats.

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Talking White

Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.

Hong Kong’s Protesters Are Ridiculously Polite. That’s What Scares Beijing So Much.

The One Fact About Ebola That Should Calm You: It Spreads Slowly

Operation Backbone

How White Boy Rick, a legendary Detroit cocaine dealer, helped the FBI uncover brazen police corruption.

A Jaw-Dropping Political Ad Aimed at Young Women, Apparently

The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 4:05 PM Today in GOP Outreach to Women: You Broads Like Wedding Dresses, Right?
Music

How Even an Old Hipster Can Age Gracefully

On their new albums, Leonard Cohen, Robert Plant, and Loudon Wainwright III show three ways.

How Tattoo Parlors Became the Barber Shops of Hipster Neighborhoods

This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century

Moneybox
Oct. 1 2014 8:34 AM This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century To undertake a massively ambitious energy project, you don’t need the government anymore.
  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 1 2014 12:20 PM Don’t Expect Hong Kong’s Protests to Spread to the Mainland
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 1 2014 2:16 PM Wall Street Tackles Chat Services, Shies Away From Diversity Issues 
  Life
Outward
Oct. 1 2014 6:02 PM Facebook Relaxes Its “Real Name” Policy; Drag Queens Celebrate
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 5:11 PM Celebrity Feminist Identification Has Reached Peak Meaninglessness
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 3:24 PM Revelry (and Business) at Mohonk Photos and highlights from Slate’s annual retreat.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 1 2014 9:39 PM Tom Cruise Dies Over and Over Again in This Edge of Tomorrow Supercut
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 1 2014 6:59 PM EU’s Next Digital Commissioner Thinks Keeping Nude Celeb Photos in the Cloud Is “Stupid”
  Health & Science
Science
Oct. 1 2014 4:03 PM Does the Earth Really Have a “Hum”? Yes, but probably not the one you’re thinking.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 1 2014 5:19 PM Bunt-a-Palooza! How bad was the Kansas City Royals’ bunt-all-the-time strategy in the American League wild-card game?