2016 was the year every pollster and media giant couldn’t get it right. It’s the year of the Cubs. The year of the Cavs. And the year of Trump.
Almost every major newspaper and media outlet hedged their bets against Trump, and not only the liberal ones. Conservative-leaning organizations read the polls and the tea leaves, and they resigned themselves to another President Clinton, despite the crowds and energy Trump was generating. The primary polls everyone decried were wrong—then the primary polls must be right. Right?
But one man was resolute in his belief that Donald Trump was a force to be reckoned with, a superstar billionaire celebrity that understood and tapped into the angst of the common man. And this man runs one of the most far-reaching news aggregators online.
In an election cycle when just about everyone got it wrong, Matt Drudge ended up vindicated. The editor of the massive, conservative news aggregation site spent much of the last 18 months leading with those rare polls and stories that predicted a Trump victory — meanwhile the Huffington Post, sometimes called Drudge’s liberal mirror, gave Hillary Clinton a 90-something percent chance of winning just hours before the polls started closing.
Ever since it broke the Monica Lewinsky scandal in 1998, the Drudge Report has maintained a unique place in the American news media landscape. The site, according to Quantcast, attracts over 24 million unique monthly visitors in the U.S., many of whom flock to the bare-bones page to devour its scandalous and sensational content. The aggregator puts a conservative spin on mainstream stories, and then veers into questionable territory — including a tabloid story about Bill Clinton’s allegedly illegitimate child and claims that longtime Clinton family confidante Sidney Blumenthal beat his wife (Blumenthal eventually took Drudge to court over the story).
But this year, Drudge had an almost singular focus: eviscerating Hillary Clinton. Along with linking to coverage of well-reported scandals, including Clinton’s use of a private email server as secretary of state, Drudge also spotlighted some very controversial stories.
Vocativ goes on to lament how unfair Matt Drudge was to poor Hillary, clearly continuing his decades-long battle against the Clintons. Clearly he saw what so many in the American public and the media had forgotten: that the Clintons could not be trusted to serve this country. They were out to serve themselves by whatever means, and the evidence was overwhelming. The only reason they remain free to roam this green earth is because the legal system has been rigged to protect them.
And so Matt Drudge spoke up, and it turned out he was right. Did he sway the election? He certainly provided what counter-balance he could to the shoddy reporting of the left and the resigned attitude of the right when they didn’t get their favorite candidate. Matt Drudge did not choose a president. The American people did. But thankfully Drudge Report was there to do the job the free press was unwilling to do.