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Drudge Report's 'Whirling Dervish' mocks federal regulation threats

Matt Drudge, 'The Whirling Dervish' of online news
Common use/ Drudge Report screenprint

A whirling dervish has been known to drive folks batty. An image featured on the Drudge Report on Wednesday was digitally altered to portray Matt Drudge as a "whirling dervish," a person who spins rapidly and whose incessant babbling is often an annoying, exhausting irritant to anyone caught in their immediate vicinity. This artistically nuanced portrait was chosen by the Drudge Report to smile down at the headline, "Feds warn Drudge faces regulation."

Following the Drudge Report link to the Washington Examiner article by Paul Bedard, one reads of a concern from the chairman of the Federal Election Commission (FEC), Lee. E. Goodman, that conservative media, especially including online media, are at risk from an internal push to end "democratization of media." Goodman particularly mentioned the Drudge Report, Sean Hannity's radio show, and Citizen's United movie division as being targeted for federal regulation.

The Drudge Report is known as one of the most popular news aggregation sites online, thus capable of driving an enormous amount of readership to issues favored on the site. Current exemption from FEC rules allows editors of sites such as Drudge to selectively choose which issues are spotlighted on the site, to selectively promote voices they want to be heard. According to the report, any federal regulations to censor this freedom would be a "chilling intervention," that Chairman Goodman has vowed to fight.

Recently, the Drudge Report has been swept into a whirlwind of headlines, none favorable. On Wednesday, the creator of the site felt compelled to personally respond to the notion that his site was responsible for the pain of Monica Lewinsky who named herself as perhaps the first victim of "global humiliation." In the Vanity Fair article, Lewinsky said her humiliation was driven by the Drudge Report.

Drudge publicly flared back, implying that his coverage was about impeachable offenses by an ultimately impeached Bill Clinton. He also suggested that Lewinsky's tell-all might have been timed by Clinton strategists.

This notion that some board members of the FEC hope to find a way through regulation to silence conservatives comes on the eve of the Drudge Report announcement of the launch of another alternative conservative site. The "Daily Signal," will be a digital news site backed by the powerful Heritage Foundation with the goal of breaking the wave of criticism often perpetuated by what they feel is the failing of obvious conservative slants.

According to Business Week, the "Signal," hopes to avoid the ridicule often aimed at other conservative sites, such as FOX News, by offering a menu of "straight news." The site, which will officially launch on June 3, 2014, "plans to do political and policy news, not with a conservative bent, but just true, straight-down-the-middle journalism.” Additionally, the site plans to offer opinion pieces designed to appeal to millenniums, soundly supported by solid facts and research of the Heritage Foundation.

In the past, Drudge has sounded off his contempt for government interference in online journalism and how he feels about mainstream press. Only a few days ago, Drudge suggested that the annual Correspondent's Dinner for journalists was merely a stage for a press infiltrated with double agents.

Drudge also spoke of how in his conversations with national reporters, he had learned that "fear of DOJ tracking" their sources had all but stomped out investigative journalism contrary to the Obama administration. In the meantime, amid rumors of potentially federal devastating regulation that would impact The Drudge Report, Drudge seems content to let an image of himself as the "Whirling Dervish" of online news aggregation speak for him.

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