Matt Drudge is something of a political legend. The fedora-wearing journalist behind “The Drudge Report” was one of the earliest figures to recognize the potential of the Internet to change how people get news and information.
His ability to see political trends became almost mythical when he almost single-handedly broke the Monica Lewinski story, and nearly every major conservative news site can trace its roots to the online groundwork that “The Drudge Report” laid years ago.
Drudge’s status as a rogue reporter has been made all the more fabled due to his eccentricity. He’s famously reclusive. In an age when even the president is addicted to social media, he almost never uses Twitter.
He follows nobody on that platform yet has over half a million followers, and has eschewed interviews despite being one of the great self-made success stories of our time.
And one particularly odd aspect of his Twitter use is described in a profile published in 2017 by the U.K.-based publication The Week: “When he does tweet, the message stays up for just 24 hours before vanishing.”
All of which is another way of saying that when Drudge takes to Twitter, however fleetingly, the Twitterverse notices.
On Thursday, his usually-quiet Twitter account received serious attention after he posted one sentence, accompanied by a photo the latest cover from “The New Yorker.” The tweet, naturally, has been deleted, but not before it was captured for posterity.
“The Left’s continued fetish for Trump’s physical harm/death is stunning…” Drudge wrote.
One look at the magazine cover he was talking about made it clear what he meant. The magazine portrayed Donald Trump falling down the steps of an escalator — presumably a callback to his New York campaign announcement — and landing forcefully on his head.
Readers would be forgiven for needing a second glance to realize that the trail of red coming from under the president’s head wasn’t blood, but actually his tie. We’ll leave the question of whether this was intentional up to you.
And even though Drudge’s tweet itself is no longer active, that doesn’t mean he didn’t strike a chord.
Other twitter users didn’t have much use for the New Yorker either — or its cover.
fettish is what they specialize in
— d ??? ? (@dougalpollux) July 19, 2018
Obviously. They didn’t beat him in the ballot box. He succeeds in spite of their attacks. So first comes the fetish then comes the attempt like the attack on the baseball field.
— Dan Abramovitz (@danabram) July 19, 2018
Anybody remember that absolutely harmless map that Sarah Palin used showing democrats? Remember how the media and every single politician cried that she was insinuating violence against the opposition because it looked like bullseye targets? So where's the outrage here?
— ??Dave Michael Z (@agcs01) July 19, 2018
Even though he deleted the post, Drudge’s point was clear. For all the talk about “going high” and “being tolerant,” a shocking number of liberals seem obsessed with imagining Trump dead or at least gravely injured.
The strongest example, of course, is Kathy Griffin and her now-infamous “beheading” photo shoot, which involved her posing with a fake bloodied head of the president.
More recently, a liberal-owned art gallery in Oregon received media attention for depicting the president having his throat violently sliced.
“In the street-facing window, the gallery had put up an extremely graphic ‘ISIS-style’ illustration of President Trump getting his throat slashed in an apparent beheading, while also wearing a tiny burning American flag pin for good measure,” we reported.
“The uncensored image, which is too disturbing to even show, was accompanied by the emboldened words “F— Trump” and was merely a preview for the equally upsetting art on the other side of the window,” our report on the disturbing art gallery continued.
This is a far cry from the calls for “civility” that leftists such as Michelle Obama have halfheartedly raised.
Now, it is possible that the New Yorker cover wasn’t intended to be particularly violent, even though it can certainly be interpreted that way. With that said, it’s hard to deny that political discourse has become dramatically more crass … and a fair share of this is coming from the left.
Matt Drudge made a fortune by being able to see political clues and major trends early, and then making them accessible to everyday Americans.
If he’s again right this time, the violent rhetoric could get much worse before it finally gets better.
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