It’s always been fascinating to see the influence that the media has over the political campaigns, and the ways that the media spins events. Now, more than ever, with the advent of the internet, this can create a make or break environment for political candidates.
And so, Rick Santorum is using the age-old practice, at the moment, of complaining about the media. He is not, however, complaining about a typical or traditional news source. Rather, he is pointing the finger at Drudge Report. The Drudge Report receives 13 million monthly unique visitors and 1.9 million daily unique views.
And now, Santorum is yelling that the Drudge is obviously and openly backing Mitt Romney. The allegations that Drudge favors Romney have been circulating for months now, and have picked up steam since the GOP voting began on January 3rd. The Huffington Post’s Sam Stein has shown a striking and detailed example of how Drudge is favoring Romney.
As Stein wrote,
“That the Drudge Report tilts favorably toward the Romney campaign is hardly a secret. When he was the anti-Romney candidate of choice, Newt Gingrich received the same type of negative coverage that Santorum faced in the lead-up to Michigan. Matt Rhoades, Romney's campaign manager, has close ties to the right-leaning web juggernaut, dating back to his days as an opposition research director of the Republican National Committee.”
At a recent Santorum rally in Phoenix on February 21st, Bryan Blunt, a director of a cable tv company waved a large sign (see picture by Toby Harnden) that said,
“Drudge Backs Mitt. AZ Picks Rick!!” Blunt then told the media that, "Drudge is obviously in the tank for Romney and really anti-Santorum. The establishment is trying to tell us who we need to vote for. It's insulting for arms of the media to tell me that I'm dumb or I don't know what I'm talking about and they know better than I do."
It’s worth paying attention to how a highly influential news site like Drudge delivers its goods. Whether or not they are leaning in one direction or another, we are all capable of finding our own news sources and of being educated consumers. It’s just a question of whether we choose to be, or not.