Deep thinkers might say Kerry was beaten by history, since Democrats for nearly forty years had been at a stark disadvantage when national security was the dominant issue in voters' minds. Here is another nominee for who beat John Forbes Kerry: Matthew Drudge.(Gee, I wish I had some Old Media editorial ¿lters to clean up my writing!) [ADDED NOTE: The editing nightmare at the linked page has been cleaned up, so I've replaced the block text except the last one, which is needed to understand my wisecrack.]
If you are reading this book, you probably know who Matt Drudge is. It is a guarantee that most of the reporters, editors, producers, and talk show bookers who serve up the daily national buffet of news recently have checked out his eponymous website, and that www.drudgereport.com is bookmarked on their computers. That is one reason Drudge is the single most influential purveyor of information about American politics.
Drudge, with his droll Dickensian name, was not the only media or political agent whose actions led to John Kerry's defeat. But his role placed him at the center of the game -- a New Media World Order in which Drudge was the most potent player in the process and a personification of the dynamics that did Kerry in. Drudge and his ilk made Kerry toxic -- and unelectable.
Anger, prurience, invective, conspiracy theory -- all are native flowers on the American landscape. What is new is the greenhouse in which these blossoms are cultivated and sold. This greenhouse was built on two beams. The first was the disintegration of editorial filters in the Old Media, which in an earlier age prevented the most salacious tales and bitter accusations (though certainly not all) from entering the public arena. The New Media -- talk radio, cable television, Internet websites -- for the most part never had these editorial ¿lters.
Many of its leading voices, Drudge among them, are openly contemptuous of the very idea. The Old Media, faced with ¿lter-free [sic... this is getting tiresome] competition, responded by loosening or discarding its own....I could go on, but I'd have to reprint too much. Suffice it to say, the Drudge name appears about 20 more times on the linked page. It was Drudge, you know, that got us all laughing at John Kerry's hair, "the thick mane atop Kerry's lean, craggy face [that] should have registered in the strengths column." Mean Drudge. Bad Drudge. Kerry's a looker, and you messed with our minds!