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Drudge Report vs. Elliot Roger: Could media blitz cause a copycat crime?

Drudge Report: Starring Elliot Rodger
Drudge Report: Starring Elliot Rodger
Common use/ Drudge Report screenprint

The Drudge Report name has arisen amid concerns that intensive online media saturation of the Elliot Rodger tragedy might lead to copycat crimes. On Tuesday, within the thousands of comments following a CBS headline linked on Drudge, "Critics blame shooting on white male, Hollywood," outspoken readers worried that the manic digital media blitz about Rodger could be responsible for bringing out "crazies" in droves.

One reader revealed that she arrived at the article by way of the Drudge Report. "I use it as my front page newspaper and have for years." The Drudge Report is noted as the leading news aggregation site due to its ability to drive massive volumes of traffic to stories linked on its site. As an example of the high volume of its traffic, as this article was being written, real time Quantcast results showed the Drudge profile had 418 visitors per second, not to be confused with per minute stats, with 73,058 unique visitors.

During part of yesterday, the Drudge site, the "front page" to news for millions provided over fourteen links to different articles and updates about Rodger, plus a banner with his photo. Another reader who also mentioned she had followed the Drudge banner to the article, remarked upon "a storm of links to articles" about the Rodger murders over at the Drudge. Casting no blame on the Drudge Report, the online user admitted a fear that the hype by online news media might embolden "other unbalanced souls" to commit similar crimes.

According to the Mirror, police investigators are concerned about copycats as well. The report was that California police are worried about Elliot's connection to "a group of sympathizers who may be planning to carry out copycat attacks." Following the online feeding frenzy for details of the tragedy, some members of what the police described as a possible "cult" hailed Elliot as a "hero."

An in-depth article was published by Ezra Klein, a liberal commentator, about the possibility that "media will make Elliot Rodger a threat even in death." Klein posited that Rodger's story was being romanticized in what he described as "natural attempts" by the news media "to understand what caused the tragedy."

"Every time a mass murderer wins fame and glory through killing it helps convince the next mass murderer that a shooting spree will give them the respect in death that they were never able to acquire in life," suggested the author. Short of censorship similar to that which is accepted regarding "contagious suicides," any solution was hard to see, explained Klein.

At no time did Klein suggest government intervention to prevent the news media from following such stories. Currently much of the conversation has focused on whether the government should enact stronger gun laws. Gun advocates have been quick to point out that the Rodger's killing spree wasn't restricted to guns.

Up until mid morning today, the Drudge Report was still starring Rodger on the banner. At this time, many may feel relieved to discover not one Rodger link remains on the Drudge Report. All Rodger links have been deleted, replaced and previous links have been cleared. As Matt Drudge of the Drudge Report recently tweeted, "In this manic digital age... it's vital... to clear your mind... constantly."

Although Klein acknowledged the Rodger story is "irresistible," he suggested a move towards honoring heroes was healthier than honoring villains. Today, following news of the death of Maya Angelou the Drudge Report has turned its banner to a national heroine, a lady who served as an uplifting inspiration for throngs during her lifetime.