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'Ka-Pow': Drudge Report silly-slaps Rachel Maddow

Zing: Matt Drudge reponds to critic Rachel Maddow
Zing: Matt Drudge reponds to critic Rachel Maddow
Getty Images (L)Evan Agostina, (R)Frederic Brown

Holy headlines! Drudge Report banners are consistently the #1 lightning rod liberal critics can't resist. On Wednesday, just for Rachel Maddow, the Drudge Report appeared to respond to some specific complaints of his banner selections, with additional controversial banners that really packed an extra wallop.

Critics often use the megaphone of mainstream media to waylay the Drudge Report. Drudge Report has just as large a platform though it isn't as "loud" as mainstream media. Still when Matt Drudge takes on the mainstream media they get the message loud and clear. It's the sort of subtle "gotcha" that Drudgers have come to expect from the page.

Liberal critic Rachel Maddow's Drudge Report criticisms had absorbed much of one of her MSNBC evening shows. She felt personally affronted because the Drudge banner didn't run with the story of President Obama's announcement that Ahmed Abu Khattala was captured on Sunday by U.S. special forces.

Not only did Maddow question why Drudge didn't lead with the Benghazi capture, she also wondered why mainstream media had paraded neoconservatives out "in full force" on the Sunday talk shows. In Maddow's opinion, none of those former Iraq war supporters, who had been "proven wrong" time after time, would be likely to give Obama the credit he was due for the capture of Khattala.

Khattala is reported to be one of the leaders of the terrorist group which attacked the U.S. consulate in Benghazi last year. In a firefight that lasted nine hours, those who were murdered included Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three additional Americans. Because of misinformation distributed by the Obama administration, unanswered questions continue to dog the administration.

Maddow acknowledged the power of the Drudge Report's reach. She described the Drudge Report page as "low tech, mostly black and white" and observed that not even FOX News had ever managed to successfully push Drudge aside as the go-to site for conservatives. She added that Drudge was "basically the wizard behind America's right-wing Oz."

Drudge soon slapped back, the first banner following Maddow's tirade reflected her "black and white" description and her stated dislike of neo-conservatives. It was an image of former Vice President Dick Cheney, certainly one of the most hated "neocons." Cheney was shown in the photo with Obama. The color image had been desaturated to stark "black and white" creating the effect of a "reality" banner. The headline blazed: "Cheney: Obama so wrong about so much"

If the first banner was a slap in the face, the second may have been excruciatingly painful for Maddow because the Drudge Report featured NBC News' reporter Chuck Todd's brutal statement that a poll, not a right-wing poll but a poll from within Maddow's very own network, one she could never claim was biased, showed that the last time a president had pulled such low numbers was post-Katrina. According to Todd, those polled were sending a message to Obama that "his presidency was over." Drudge's headline was: "Todd turns: Obama 'Over'"

However, Maddow isn't the only critic unhappy with Drudge Report headlines. During the same time Maddow was complaining, a blogger took offense that instead of highlighting Al Gore's global warming warning, the Drudge Report had gone with a "Snow in June" link. Checking the Drudge Report, both links were provided; the snow headline followed Gore's warning. Certainly the placement may have diminished the impact of Gore's prediction. What one blogger calls "snow trolling," another calls, "equal time."

In addition, recently establishment Republicans have expressed concern that Drudge's unrelenting headline focus on illegal immigration issues combined with recent awareness of the droves of illegal children overwhelming border security had created a "perfect storm" which had helped cost Eric Cantor's reelection.

From left to right, the Drudge Report has an abundance of critics; perhaps that's just another reason Charles Krauthammer called Drudge, a "headline genius." Drudger's depend upon Drudge Report as the reliable source to check for any updates. It takes finesse to limit oneself to photos and headlines when it is time to slap back. Drudge is said to have it down to an art.

Updated: June 23, 2014

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