On his radio show, Matt Drudge stated that the former congressional page with whom former Rep. Mark Foley allegedly engaged in sexually explicit communications was “having fun with this” because the teenager used "[t]hese LOLs throughout the entire conversation, these 'laugh out louds.' "
On the October 2 edition of his nationally syndicated radio program, Internet gossip Matt Drudge defended former Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL), stating that Foley's alleged sexually explicit communication with a minor through an instant-messenger program “wasn't coerced.” Drudge went on to say that “the kid was having fun with this” because the conversation included "[t]hese LOLs throughout the entire conversation, these 'laugh out louds.' "
As the weblog Crooks and Liars noted, Drudge went so far as to accuse the underage former pages of “egging the Congressman on” during their conversations, claiming that "[t]hese kids were playing Foley for everything he was worth." Drudge twice referred to the former pages as “beasts.”
Drudge also suggested that Foley was not guilty of any criminal offense by pointing out that the age of consent is 16 in Washington, D.C. As the Los Angeles Times reported, the FBI is investigating whether Foley “violated federal law by sending sexually explicit instant messages to at least one teenager who had served as a congressional page.” As Reuters noted, Foley, the former co-chairman of the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children, was “author of the key sexual predator provisions of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006, which President Bush signed in July."
Earlier in the broadcast, Drudge had sympathized with Foley's reported alcohol problems and asked whether Democrats would be “cruel” to Foley: "[I]f we're learning, in fact, that Foley did go into alcohol rehab ... then he was a sick man when he did all this. How can they be cruel on that? How can [House Democratic Leader Nancy] Pelosi [D-CA] be cruel on that if he was sick?"
Drudge also falsely claimed that The New York Times “put four Foley stories on their front page” on October 2. In fact, the Times ran only one story, written by Rachel L. Swarns, about Foley on its October 2 front page, headlined “Former Pages Describe Foley As Caring Ally.” The first half of the story painted Foley solely as a friend to congressional pages, even portraying his efforts to stay in touch with former pages as a positive trait. Drudge's remark on the Times came despite the fact that his website has prominently featured the Foley story since it first came to light on September 29.
From the October 1 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Drudge Report:
DRUDGE: Good evening, John. How are you? Did you -- have you heard The New York Times has put four Foley stories on their front page tomorrow?
JOHN FUND (Wall Street Journal columnist): They have created their own fast news day out of thin air.
DRUDGE: Wow. Well, this is it. This is the big one. This is the October surprise.
FUND: This, I have to tell you: I have never in my life seen a question of “Change the subject, forget everything else we said, we now have to focus on one congressman, one set of emails. That takes the place of symbolism of everything else.”
DRUDGE: Well, it's Plan B. It was -- or actually Plan C, at this point. I mean, you can't even remember -- it's like there wasn't even an election prior to the Foley break on Friday. What was anybody even talking about? What were the Democrats talking about? Nothing, and that was the problem. They were really -- it was -- their boat was just out there not getting any traction. And this is a gift from the heavens. They're gonna overplay their hand, as they usually do. And now if we're learning, in fact, that Foley did go into alcohol rehab, well, that's gonna -- well, OK, then he was a sick man when he did all this. How can they be cruel on that? How can Pelosi be cruel on that if he was sick? So.
FUND: All I can say -- wait. I will predict there will be another shoe to drop. There'll be another congressman with some other indiscretions, some other problem, and that will be revealed by Election Day. Because this is all about, forget the major issues. Congress has to be cleaned out. The only way you can do that is to change party control.
CALLER: Hey, Drudge. The reason, you know, Foley is -- has four stories on the front page, basically, in my opinion, is just to put another black mark on the GOP in November. But that's not really why -- you know, my point in why I called. I'm actually sorry to hear that you think Foley was encouraged and entrapped. I actually thought you were gonna touch on this a little bit with a caller you had that --
DRUDGE: Well, I don't know if I said that. I'm just saying from reading these instant messages, this wasn't coerced. I mean, this wasn't somebody -- the kid was having fun with this. These LOLs throughout the entire conversation, these “laugh out louds.”
CALLER: Well, this is not an isolated incident. I mean, this kind of behavior among lawmakers and congressman, it's nothing new.
DRUDGE: Well, let me ask you, [caller], let me ask you, do you think we will see Foley actually having contact with people as opposed to instant messages? Do you think in the next couple days, hours, minutes, we're gonna learn that he actually did have physical contact with these pages?
CALLER: I don't know. I don't have a crystal ball here in front of me.
DRUDGE: Well, because I think then it becomes much more of a serious situation than instant messages. I just do. I mean, that's just where I'm sitting. Maybe I'm out of it. Maybe the instant message does carry the weight of personal contact. That you can be damaged and scarred from instant messages. That it can be traumatizing. That it can be so extremely dangerous what you write in instant messages to 16- and 17-year-olds.
DRUDGE: This is gonna present a dilemma for the Dems, who are gonna try to make this an evil case. When if it was a sick man? And they have to have compassion on the sick man, right? Well, we'll see.
DRUDGE: Do you know the age of consent in Washington, D.C.?
CALLER: Yeah, it's 16. But that doesn't mean I want a 52-year-old trying to seduce a 16-year-old running the country.
DRUDGE: Well, but -- but does it state in the law that you have to be a certain age to have sex with a 16-year-old? I mean, that's the question here. Is it 16 on 16?
CALLER: No, it doesn't.
From Crooks and Liars:
DRUDGE: And if anything, these kids are less innocent, these 16- and 17-year-old beasts. And I've seen what they're doing on YouTube, and I've seen what they're doing all over the Internet. Oh yeah. And you just have to tune into any part of their pop culture. You're not going to tell me these are innocent babies. Have you read the transcripts that ABC posted going into the weekend of these instant messages, back and forth? The kids are egging the congressman on! The kids are trying to get this out of him. We haven't got the whole story on this.
DRUDGE: You could say, “Well, Drudge, it's abuse of power. This is a congressman abusing these impressionable, young 17-year-old beasts. Talking about their sex lives with a grown man, on the Internet.” Because you have to remember, those of us who have seen some of the transcripts of these nasty instant messages. This was two ways, ladies and gentlemen. These kids were playing Foley for everything he was worth. Oh yeah. Oh, I haven't -- you know, they were talking about how many times they've masturbated, and oh, they didn't do it with their girlfriends this weekend. All this -- all these things and these innocent children. And this poor congressman sitting there typing about, “Oh, am I going to get any?” You know?