Friday, May 15, 2009

Is Drudge A Carrier?

Timing is everything, someone once famously said, and while the jury is still out on who the original utterer of those words was, the fact remains that truth is fastened to the statement just as barnacles to the hull of a ship too long at sea. Some still argue that the origins of the statement bear biblical heritage, some claim a more contemporary genesis, but it matters not in the grand scheme of things. Certain people lay claim to history in large part by the simple grace of providence, combined with the tools necessary for their time.

Edward R. Murrow is a revered figure to this day in the realm of journalism, and I make no argument to the contrary. Some - perhaps the sports statistic enthusiast - may make the case that asterisks be placed on the record books of challengers to this legend, since Murrow has often been considered the pioneer of modern journalism. To be certain, Murrow was in the right place at the right time, but he also possessed the talent and acumen to capitalize on the convergence of fortunes bestowed upon him at his time in history.

Some years later another icon of journalistic notoriety would be discovered in the incarnation of Walter Cronkite. What Murrow and Cronkite had in common was the benefit of new mediums in their respective times. Murrow had the telegraph and the telephone to speed his investigations and subsequent articles. Cronkite had both benefits as Murrow did, plus a more immediate delivery system in the form of television. I still maintain that Cronkite had the most benefit, but we'll address that later.

The U.S. Attorney's Office of Massachusetts today issued a warning to its employees. The warning was ostensibly geared toward warding off computer viruses potentially present on the site of Matt Drudge (The Drudge Report). I have a different take on the motivation of the warning, since The Drudge Report is consistently identified as a "conservative website", and Massachusetts is undeniably a liberal state.

Coming from less auspicious beginnings than either of his predecessors, Matt Drudge has managed to overcome adversity - albeit self-inflicted at times, and inherited at others - and has built an empire of information that many bloggers rely upon, myself included. Information is what drives the human spirit for without it, we'd be Cubans. (Apologies to the oppressed Cuban population).

Drudge has seized the mantel from both Murrow and Cronkite, and if it is by mere coincidence, so be it. He'd be in good company. But for a state justice department to ban access to his offerings under the guise of network security is ridiculous. I have been a frequenter of Drudge's site for years and have not had one issue. I'm sure the government of the State of Massachusetts has much better virus protection than do I, so banning Drudge is disingenuous, at best.

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