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Drudge the 'small guy' who's making a mark

Web posted on: Wednesday, September 16, 1998 3:04:25 PM

From Correspondent Paul Vercammen

LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- Is Matt Drudge a talented journalist who broke the President Clinton/Monica Lewinsky story last January from his Hollywood apartment -- as he claims -- and parlayed the fame that followed into guest appearances and his own Fox TV show?

Or is he a reckless scavenger who scrapes up roadkill on the information superhighway and puts it in his wildly popular Web site, "The Drudge Report"?

Drudge being interviewed by a reporter

Drudge, who also hosts a weekly talk show on the Fox News channel, says he is the future of common journalism, where a guy living in Hollywood can get the inside scoop in Washington.

"There's a shift going on where someone like me can be tapped in," he said at a recent appearance in Beverly Hills. "And, you know, God bless them, it's concerned citizens in and out of government, and be careful what the small guy knows."

What small guys? For one, Drudge calls Linda Tripp "extraordinary and courageous."

Drudge gives a lecture ... and he has an audience

"I'm not saying Linda Tripp's one of my sources, but the analogy is someone like Linda Tripp, out of her house, can bring down a sitting president, or start something," he says. "It's a din of small voices. It's not a high, secret government official leaking to me in a garage. It's someone who happened to be in the room, or somebody who is close to the action."

A 31-year-old former gift shop clerk, Drudge compares himself to Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, who helped bring down President Nixon.

"I'm not sure I'll ever hit that level and to the level of official stature that Bob Woodward had for his Nixon coverage, simply because I'm an outsider," Drudge says. "But to the degree that the story now threatens a president, I do think it's on the same level as what Woodward and Bernstein did with their coverage and applying the pressure."

Perhaps most important, Drudge has a large audience, listening to every word.

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