Thursday, March 06, 2008

The Drudges' Generation Gap

They are digital gatekeepers, but the father runs an online library and the son is the proprietor of a news whorehouse.

Outing Prince Harry in Afghanistan and showing Barack Obama in Muslim garb are the latest triumphs of "the world's most powerful journalist," as the UK Telegraph now dubs Matt Drudge, stretching the definition of all three words.

In an era when clicks are currency, Robert Drudge's, "Fact Checker for the Internet," is clearly outvalued by his son's millions of links to facts, factoids and junk news from everywhere.

The story is familiar by now--Young Drudge's Dickensian youth of abject intellectual and psychological poverty and his Horatio Alger ascent after a despairing father gave him a cheap computer--the 7-Eleven years, the psychiatric treatment with Jewish Social Services, the climb back to become manager of a CBS gift shop, the rummaging for scoops in the Hollywood City trash cans before cleaners fed them to the shredders...

A 21st century success story best summarized by the Great Summarizer himself: "24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a 12-month year, 10 years a decade, 10 decades a century, and 10 centuries a millennium, as far as a chip can see, wire services from all over the world move raw data ... all over the world!

"I can access, edit, headline and ... link to it all!

"Throw it up on a website and wait for you to come.

"For seven pre-millennial years, I've covered the world from my Hollywood apartment, dressed in my drawers.

"I've reported when, how, and what I've wanted...

"There's been no editor, no lawyer, no judge, no president to tell me I can't...

"Technology has finally caught up with individual liberty."

As Mel Brooks' Max Bialystock would say, "When you've got it, baby, flaunt it!" But Drudge might want to take a look back at his 20th century counterpart, Walter Winchell, who owned the world of gossip with his punchy phrasing and unfettered "reporting" back then.

Another of today's icons, Larry King, who succeeded the gossip master at his newspaper job, recalls: "He was so sad. You know what Winchell was doing at the end? Typing out mimeographed sheets with his column, handing them out on the corner. That's how sad he got. When he died, only one person came to his funeral."

Sic transit... Wait, I have to check the exact quote on Robert Drudge's web site.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"Throw it up on a website..." That about describes the Drudge Report.

But the Drudge Retort usually has some good comments.