Sunday, September 28, 2008

Drudge Reports McCain Stomps Obama in Debate

Matt Drudge polled his visitors after the first debate and found that McCain was an easy winner. That didn't sit well with at least one Liberal who visited my blog.

I exchanged some comments with visitor Merge Divide of Serendipity to my post McCain Wins Debate, Loses News Analysis , and then to Joe Biden’s Hot “Potatoe” . Among the issues we argued about was the Drudge Report poll that showed that 68% of 426,408 voted that McCain won the debate with Obama.

The following are comments from Merge Divide followed by my replies. I attempted to reply via my comments utility, but my reply was rejected because it was too long for the software, so I decided to make it as this post.

Let the discussion begin:

Merge Divide, you wrote: “I'm not suggesting you denied low expectations for Obama."

Maybe that is not what you consciously intended, but it was a clear implication. Go back and read it with fresh eyes.

My reply: I went back and read it with fresh eyes. I’m not sure what I consciously intended, but I wrote: "In a nutshell, the media said Obama exceeded their low expectations, and McCain fell short of their high expectations. Actually, Merge Divide wrote just about the same."

You wrote: Show me where the MSM claimed that McCain was "afraid to debate Obama".

My reply: Even Bill Clinton got in on the controversy when he heard McCain was accused of trying to duck debate with Obama. "Bill: McCain not ‘afraid’ of Obama debate"

You wrote: You may believe that "McCain easily handled Obama", but it is quite obvious that the majority of viewers disagreed with you. Or do you maintain that the Drudge Report poll was a statistically significant report that followed a considered analytical methodology?

My reply: Where are your polls showing the majority of viewers thought Obama won? I just saw two unscientific snap polls among selected groups of urban viewers that indicated Obama by a show of hands, or some equally improper polling method.

You wrote: Are you really so naive about how the internet works that you believe that 30 million different viewers visited that site on one day? Do you know the difference between hits and "unique visitors"? Why were there only 400,000 votes, and why do you think people didn't vote multiple times?

My reply: I never stated any belief, I just copied and pasted the “Visits to Drudge” counter information, just as I do here:

20,375,310 IN PAST 24 HOURS
764,794,544 IN PAST 31 DAYS
6,577,728,261 IN PAST YEAR

Even the simple counter I have on my blog can distinguish unique from repeat visitors.

I don’t know why only 400,000 voted, just like I don’t know why eligible voters do or don’t vote in general elections. I do know that the Drudge poll only allowed one vote per IP Address because that was my experience when I voted, same as for other computer polls I have experienced.

My modest system tells me that you are IP Address on Verizon from Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, and visited at 9:52:12 am, Sep 28, 2008 for 7 minutes and 55 seconds. Your previous visit was Sep 27 2008 4:49:42 pm. I assume Drudge has something more sophisticated than the simple software I use.

You wrote: Finally this comment: "Even in the UK they recognize that Drudge is the most influential news source in the world."

That's completely absurd. If you are going to make that sensational a claim, you should be able to source it. Go ahead...

My reply: The Telegraph (UK) picked Drudge as the third most influential US conservative, and had this to say about his importance: "When Matthew Nathan Drudge, 41, makes a move, the American news agenda and body politic shift with him. His Drudge Report website is the most influential news aggregator in the world. Such is the volume of traffic he generates, newspaper websites he links to regularly crash under the tsunami of extra hits."

Another UK newspaper, The Guardian, rates Drudge number 7 on their list of websites that changed the world, and none of the websites rated above Drudge have news or political significance –,,,,, and

According to The Guardian: "What began as a gossipy email newsletter has, since its first post in 1994, developed into one of the most powerful media outlets in American politics. Today the Drudge Report has evolved into a website,, and its threadbare, no-frills design belies the scale of its influence. It received an estimated 3.5 billion hits in the last 12 months; visitors regard it as the first port of call for breaking news…

Drudge has been labelled a 'threat to democracy' and an 'idiot with a modem' as well as 'the kind of bold, entrepreneurial, free-wheeling, information-oriented outsider we need more of in this country' (by Camille Paglia); his importance in the US media is undisputed."

Of course, Time Magazine has noted Drudge’s importance, and included him on their list of the 100 most influential people in the world:

I await your comments.

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