Gossip as News in Presidential Politics

How the Drudge Report, With Its Condoleezza Rice “˜Scoop,”™ Again Rules the Media
by Lauren Ashburn
The Daily Beast
July 15, 2012

His Condi Rice item went viral despite its utter implausibility. Lauren Ashburn on why the press is held captive by the conservative blogger”™s thinly sourced gossip.

The headline screamed across the homepage of the Drudge Report: ROMNEY NARROWS VP CHOICES; CONDI EMERGES AS FRONTRUNNER.

Matt Drudge””the shadowy, fedora-wearing Internet gossip machine who has boasted from day one that he is a conservative””crowed that his sources revealed former secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is at the top of the veep list. He even went so far as to punctuate the scoop with an exclamation point!

Bull. I”™m a good enough poker player to know a campaign bluff when I see one. The claim is so ludicrous as to be laughable, and Drudge must know it considering his reported alliance with the Romney campaign.

Yet in typical fashion, the media””knowing the claim had little basis in reality””went along for the ride. The Today show, Good Morning America, CNN, Fox, MSNBC, even The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, along with plenty of others, took the bait and devoted countless minutes and column inches to the tale. Continue reading “Gossip as News in Presidential Politics”