Eschewing its own reporting, ABC News relied solely on Drudge to report alleged NY Times Clinton story


A January 3 article* on cited the website of Internet gossip Matt Drudge in reporting that "Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton [D-NY] believes Sen. Barack Obama [D-IL] is her biggest obstacle to winning the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008 but believes that his threat will diminish." Drudge reported on January 2 that The New York Times was set to publish an article by chief political reporter Adam Nagourney on January 3 indicating that Clinton "believes the threat of his [Obama's] candidacy will diminish as voters learn how inexperienced he is in government and foreign affairs!" According to Drudge's "newsroom sources" at the Times, "[e]ditors have placed a story filed by reporter Adam Nagourney in Page One lead positions." The January 3 Times, however, did not feature such an article. Drudge has since updated his story, reporting on January 3: "Publication time: Unknown." In its write-up of Drudge's report, ABC did not mention that Drudge revised his claim about when the Times will publish the story after it became clear that Drudge's original reported publication date of January 3 was wrong.

ABC News political director Mark Halperin has claimed that Drudge "can influence the news like Walter Cronkite did" and claimed that "[i]f Drudge has a siren up, people know it's something they have to look at." Halperin's book, The Way to Win: Taking the White House in 2008 (Random House, 2006), which he co-wrote with former Washington Post national political editor John F. Harris, includes a chapter titled: "How Matt Drudge Rules Our World." Halperin and Harris also wrote in The Way to Win that Drudge is "salacious, reckless, superficial, and unfair" and that "[e]ven the most devoted of his fans, hunched over basement computers or killing time at company expense, are sensible enough not to put full faith in his punchy communiqués."

*The link to the online version of the article appears to no longer work.

UPDATE: The New York Times has posted the article in question here.

The Drudge Report, ABC
Matt Drudge, Mark Halperin
Propaganda/Noise Machine, Hillary Clinton, 2008 Elections
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