July 13, 2004
Matt Drudge, a Gay Who Backs the Gay Bashers
Normally, we ignore Matt Drudge. If you pay him too much attention, you just start to feel slimy yourself, like you need to run and take a shower.
But, back in June of 2000, we wrote a couple of editorials about Drudge, because he is typical of Republican gays in the media and government who shore up right wing leaders who advance an anti-gay agenda.
Indeed, right now Bush and the Congressional Republicans are trying to exploit "class value" wedge issues by promoting an anti-gay marriage Constitutional Amendment, one that they know will never be affirmed by enough states to become law. It is political opportunism at its most base.
Yet, how does Drudge, who has been outed by a variety of people -- including David Brock -- since we first wrote our June, 2000, editorials justify his anti-gay innuendo?
Last week, he headlined a series of photos (PDF of page from July 8) -- along with an extended commentary -- that insidiously tries to imply that Kerry and Edwards aren't "real men" because of photos Drudge highlights showing them patting each other on the back and so forth. In this strange cover story, Drudge breathlessly fanned the flames of gay-effeminate prejudices:
Of course, the photos of Kerry and Edwards are just your standard political glad handing, arm-in-arm, patting-the-back stock-in-trade. Every politician engages in such gestures. If you assemble photos of Bush with other male politicians, he's a regular "touchy-feely" kind of guy. Just take a look at this group of photos a reader sent BuzzFlash ("Matt Drudge is a Douchebag," AngryFinger.org).
So how can Drudge, an outed gay, post a totally slimy gay exploitative piece that doesn't even make any sense, in the context of run-of-the-mill male political body contact? Because, he's just another GOP slimeball hypocrite, that's why.
When a BuzzFlash staffer saw the Drudge Report item aired on a Chicago TV News station, along with "teasers," we realized, once again, how far gone the mainstream press is in trawling the gutters for sensational non-stories.
Then we thought, you know, we ought to resurrect those BuzzFlash Matt Drudge editorials from our second month online in June of 2000. They are a little dated, since Drudge has been outed, and the subject at hand (a book that Drudge got Miramax to deep-six) a bit forgotten now, but they are, nevertheless, a reminder of the importance that GOP hypocrites have had in upstreaming a sewer pipeline of breathless innuendo to the mainstream press, even when it exploits bias against their own interests, in this case Drudge's sexual orientation.
Indeed, there are a series of outings underway in D.C. of gay GOP Congressional staffers and members of the White House staff who actively work on public policy that limits individual rights based on gender orientation. The large number of gays in high GOP positions in an open secret in D.C.
As a writer for "The Advocate" ponders:
So the following is the first of two editorials that are now more than four years old. It's time to haul them out again, in two installments, as they were first run.
We haven't changed a word.
* * *
Originally Posted in June 2000
MATT DRUDGE, ARE YOU GAY?
Matt drudge, are you gay? In almost every case, BuzzFlash would regard this as an inappropriate question, a violation of an individual’s privacy rights and an assault on his or her dignity. Gender orientation is a personal and private issue. But Matt Drudge is a special case.
In the past week, the tone of Matt Drudge’s dispatches (DrudgeReport.com) has been feverish and desperate. During the first week of June, the Drudge Report was filled with crackling denunciations of a book called "The Insane Clown Posse," not yet published. Drudge is claiming that it unfairly attacks the personal lives of the Clinton-haters (particularly Kenneth Starr and his merry pranksters) who have worked so tenaciously to bring down the President. Drudge was frantically trying to keep the expose from going to press, and launched a scorched earth attack on TALK/MIRAMAX, the erstwhile publishers of the yet unedited book. By Friday, June 9, it appeared that Drudge’s efforts at editorial intimidation succeeded. TALK/MIRAMAX will not publish the book, according to Tina Brown, chairman of Talk Media, Inc., in an announcement issued by the firm.
Matt Drudge fashions himself the cyber Walter Winchell, but his prototype is really a right wing town crier, delivering the news in blaring tabloid headlines about politics, entertainment and freak stories. He posts a steady diet of salacious tidbits about the Clintons and other Democrats fed to him by a well-organized right wing consortium of lawyers(working through "foundations"), opposition research professionals, the right wing press, and the conservatives on Capitol Hill. He is a hero to the remaining members of Newt Gingrich’s 1994 class of junkyard-dog-"Contract with America"- congressmen and their staffs. Together with conservative lawyers filing cases against Clinton, they form an ongoing pipeline that feeds Drudge a steady supply of sludge aimed at personally attacking the Democrats, particularly the Clintons and Janet Reno. His efforts reached their highpoint when he printed the lascivious details of the Monica Lewinsky scandal, giving the sexual details enough credibility for the mainstream press to accept them as fact.
Yes, Drudge does post "inside" political strategy and policy leaks attacking the Democrats. But the heart of Drudge’s appeal to the right wingers is his unrelenting personal assault on the Clintons.
Drudge’s basic focus and complaint about "The Insane Clown Posse" has been that gays will be unfairly outed. Of course, BuzzFlash finds this is a compelling argument under normal circumstances. Drudge, by the way, does not dwell on many of the other sexual peccadilloes that the book allegedly will reveal. (Although he does indicate that Ann Coulter, one of the "blonde babes" that the right wing trots out as a commentator, dated Bob Guccione of Penthouse fame. She responded to that alleged charge in the yet unpublished book by writing a column in which she swore that she never slept with Geraldo Rivera. Coulter, Drudge and Starr sound like an "Insane Clown Posse" to BuzzFlash, even if the book hasn’t gotten to galleys yet.) By focusing on gays who might be outed should the book reach the public, Drudge is making the Clinton persecutors and prosecutors into sympathetic figures. At one point in his feverish dispatches, Matt Drudge posts an item referencing the Barney Frank rule and implies that it is the standard that he would use in determining who should be outed. That rule decrees that only gays in political positions who use their power to adversely impact gays should be publicly disclosed.
So now Drudge is suddenly defending the rights of gays not to be outed and claiming that Democrats and liberal publishers are out to destroy gays. Say what Matt? When you support the likes of the right wing types that you consort with, you violate the Barney Frank rule. You have tossed red meat to voracious, ferociously bigoted members of the right who believe that gays are sprung from the seed of demons. You help sustain the power base of those politicians who would deny equal rights to gays and call them unnatural human beings. You give aid and comfort to the followers of Dr. Laura, who regularly derides and demeans gay people. ("If you’re gay or a lesbian, it’s a biological error," Dr. Laura has decreed.) In every way, Matt Drudge has violated the Barney Frank rule.
Drudge, who also has a radio program that is promoted in many markets along with Dr. Laura and Rush Limbaugh, is not generally a gay basher himself. He leaves that to his legion of admirers on the fringe edge of right wing politics. (Go to almost any kook or "mainstream" right wing Internet site that has links and the Drudge Report will most likely be among them.) But, from time-to-time, Drudge subtly helps move the ball down the field, advancing the stereotypes of gays fostered by the fundamentalist armies of intolerance and conservative Internet sites.
In a Village Voice article (May 5, 1999), Richard Goldstein charges Drudge with reinforcing negative attitudes toward gays in relation to the Columbine massacre. "Rumors that the killers were gay abounded, stoked by America’s favorite [expletive deleted] Matt Drudge. In the days following the shootings, Drudge put two stories on his Web site based on nothing more definitive than a posting from a self-proclaimed ‘gay biker’ praising the shooters as ‘a bunch of our fellow homosexuals [who] decided that they had taken enough.’ Drudge seized on the black nail polish favored by Goths as further evidence that the killers were part of a pack of murderous poofs. That was proof enough for Jerry Falwell of Tinky Winky fame; he reportedly called Harris and Klebold gay on Geraldo Live. Followers of another antigay divine, the Reverend Fred Phelps, picketed Littleton memorials with signs that claimed ‘Fags Killed Them.’
On the day that this BuzzFlash article is being posted (June 10), Drudge has a sub-headline:"Gay Dads: We fathered a twin each." He is putting the gay dads in the same tawdry category of another story in the next column: "Freak: Cat born with two faces." Both the cat and the gay dads are offered up on Drudge’s Internet freak show for all the Pat Robinson, Laura Schlessinger and Tom DeLay followers to enjoy.
So which is it Matt, are you gay? Yes or no. And if the answer is yes, is your own outing what you most fear in the release of the "The Insane Clown Posse." And if the answer to this question is yes, then what you most fear about your own outing is that your readership will then roundly reject you as a son of Satan who engages in sodomy and unnatural acts. If you are gay, do you fear that your cyber-power and earnings will suddenly collapse because the very right wing power base you help sustain will turn on you and cast you adrift? Because they believe that gays are lost souls who can only be redeemed by "going straight." Alas, BuzzFlash understands that it would be a bit demoralizing to return to folding T-shirts at the CBS gift shop, which was your career choice prior to starting the Drudge Report. But this, of course, is all hypothetical conjecture, because BuzzFlash certainly doesn’t know whether the answer is "yes" or "no."
And if you are not gay, is your ferocious and feverish attack on "The Insane Clown Posse" focused on the gay issue because you know that Democrats are supportive of gays and you want to hit them in their weak spot? The pertinent questions for you, of course, are ones like why weren’t the Log Cabin Republicans, gay members of the GOP, allowed to have a booth at the Texas GOP convention. Why didn’t George W. Bush stick up for them? But you don’t take on the Republicans and their general disdain toward gays in the Drudge Report. Why not?
Since you are the master of character assassination, having been unceasingly tossing mud and slime on the Clintons for several years, you know how the personal revelation can tarnish someone and weaken them. So now you are doing everything you can to protect you and your buddies. You are taking the insanely hypocritical stance of calling "The Insane Clown Posse" a "sex witch hunt."
Oh Matt, when BuzzFlash read those words, "sex witch hunt," we were sure that you were really referring to the Starr inquisition. And we thought that you were referring to the Starr Report when you charged that the "working manuscript also features derogatory sex slurs against impeachment players!" Then we realized that you were referring to "The Insane Clown Posse" and that you were unaware of the irony embedded in your indignation. After all, Matt, among other intimate and voyeuristic details of the President, you posted a report that a distinguishing characteristic of Clinton's manly physiognomy was a curvature caused by Peyronie's disease. (Like many of Drudge’s spicy tidbits, this later proved to be erroneous.)
Matt Drudge is a cyber hypocrite without equal. And if he is gay, he has done irreparable harm to people who prefer their own gender. (In a June 7th report Drudge implies that two media figures might also be outed.) In that case he would be a Quisling of the first order. In that case, it is the civic responsibility (given a thorough vetting) to publish "The Insane Clown Posse" and let the chips fall where they may.
In March, there was a flurry of speculation about Drudge’s sexuality when MSNBC Scoop columnist Jeanette Walls wrote a book in which she claimed that Drudge was known as a practicing gay during his pre-L.A. years. She quotes several former gay friends, including one David Cohen who claims to have dated Drudge before he went off to Hollywood and the CBS gift shop. Of course, rumors aside (and Drudge is an expert in broadcasting rumors), we don’t know Drudge’s sexual orientation, and normally wouldn’t give a hoot. Because the BuzzFlash credo is that all of us, whatever color, gender or gender orientation are God’s children, endowed with equal and inalienable rights. But Drudge serves as the "new media" spigot for the manure of the right wing – enemies of whoever is gay – and Drudge should be held to a different standard.
So which is it Matt? Tell us which way you swing. Because sooner or later, despite your efforts, "The Insane Clown Posse" will leak out in dribs and drabs and we will know one way or the other if you have betrayed a generation of gays who have been battling your right wing supporters and readers for the most basic recognition of their human rights. They have been fighting in the trenches while you have been frolicking in the gutter.
A BUZZFLASH EDITORIAL
Part II can be found HERE.