The U.S. government is the world’s largest advertiser. It spends hundreds of millions annually to announce and promote its positions and claims. And this above-ground spending pales in comparison to the government’s secret spending.
It was revealed during the Frank Church Senate hearings in the 1970s that the CIA spent one-third of its budget on spreading propaganda and pro-government information through major media outlets. Many major media voices are in the pay of the CIA and other agencies. The Church Committee revelations ended without Congress enacting any laws or limitations on the propaganda authority of America’s deep state.
Now, in 2020, as government seeks to spread a unified message of panic regarding coronavirus (a disease which poses no more than about a 4/100ths of 1% mortality risk for people of good health under 70), numerous major media platforms and channels have visibly transformed into government panic outlets.
The Drudge Report, one of the internet’s highest-traffic news aggregator sites, has become one of the web’s loudest COVID panickers. Link after link on most days on Drudge are dedicated to the coronavirus scare. And almost nowhere on the site are there any mentions of counterinformation.
At one time, Drudge Report was a mix of contrarian articles and unusual viewpoints that were hard to find. It was clear that the site’s founder and owner, Matt Drudge, was a libertarian with an eye for exposing government cover-up and exaggeration. The hugely influential website at one point regularly clocked over 1 billion page views per month.
But in recent months, according to Ryan McMaken of the Mises Institute, “the site has become more or less indistinguishable from a standard mainline legacy media site. It has consistently carried articles and headlines that promote Russiagate hysteria and pro-FBI, pro-CIA positions.” “It is now, for all practical purposes, a sister site to CNN.com or The Atlantic.”
Matt Drudge himself (the site’s founder) has remained mum regarding the site’s shift in content.
CNN reported on the sharp change in October 2019 and unsuccessfully attempted to get Matt Drudge to comment. Several sources have reported that Matt Drudge may have secretly sold the site.
In the period following the changes of 2019, traffic metrics for the Drudge website showed Drudge Report lost almost 30 percent of its traffic in just 90 days, losing rank from #632 in global internet engagement to #844 and declining in December 2019. The site’s readership briefly rebounded in March 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic escalated, but continued to decline to new recent lows afterwards.