Conservative media icon Matt Drudge has long had a regular cast of villains — from global warming to the Obama administration — that appear on his website. In the last year, Google appears to have joined the ranks of these in-house bugbears.
This morning, the top of the Drudge Report blared “DOMINATE: GOOGLE SEEKS TO OWN .MOM, .DAD, .KID .. MORE.” The headline is just the latest example of a recent “dominate” meme on Drudge that paints Google as a lawless and sinister surveillance power. While the site has also blasted other tech players (such as Facebook over its stock swoon and Apple over labor issues), Google appears to be a favorite target. In recent months, Drudge has hit the company with dozens of negative headlines like “Dominate: Google ‘doesn’t trust anyone'” and “Google grabs secrets of private lives.”
The attention could prove a headache for Google given the Drudge Report’s influence in shaping media and political narratives. The site gained fame 15 years ago year by reporting on the Monica Lewinsky scandal and has since become an internet fixture with its mix of headlines that range from cannibal crime to the Iranian military threat. In a report last year by David Carr of the New York Times, Gabriel Snyder, a veteran of Gawker and the Atlantic, described Drudge as “the best wire editor on the planet.”
The Drudge Report’s significance lies in its ongoing ability to drive traffic. Mashable reported last year that the Drudge Report far outstripped Twitter, Facebook and reddit in leading readers to news sites. With an estimated 14 million visitors, it is also regularly listed as one of the top three most popular political sites.
It’s unclear if Drudge’s anti-Google animus is personal or political. Even though both sites opposed an unpopular anti-piracy bill called SOPA last January, Drudge is a longtime conservative partisan and may be slamming Google because of the company’s connections to the Obama administration. Drudge did not reply to an email request for comment.