Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Monica Lewinsky 10 year anniversary; Drudge Report makes history.

What were you doing when the world changed forever ten years ago today? We all remember what we were doing when we heard the first reports of 9-11. Those of us who are old enough remember where we were when JFK's murder was announced. The signature event in the destruction of the MSM/DNC news monopoly that had dominated the United States (and beyond) for decades was no less momentous.

Ten years ago today, Matt Drudge posted a report that Newsweek was sitting on a story that the President had perjured himself in a civil trial to cover up acts of sexual misconduct in the White House.

The story remained on the Drudge Report for days before the MSM/DNC reluctantly began covering the story. Drudge had a decent following even before the Lewinsky story broke, and the unrebutted allegations on his website threatened to make the MSM/DNC appear complicit in a cover up if it did not appear to begin reporting the story. I first heard about this story in an early morning ABC News report around the 20th or 21st of January.

I had never heard of Drudge at that time. It would be weeks before I would learn of Drudge's involvement. It would be even longer before I fully understood the significance of Drudge's ability to circumvent the gatekeepers and break this (or any other) story.

The full story is included in Drudge's book:

Regardless of the effect on the Clinton administration, the world changed forever with the posting of that story. Never again would the gatekeepers have full power to decide what information we receive. Drudge has increased in readership dramatically ever since. The king has lost its ability to compel a lie.

This type of media revolution was foreseen by Hillary Clinton in the mid-1990's, whose administration tried desperately to thwart it during the rest of its time in office. [Just because you are paranoid does not mean they are not out to get you.]

The blogs that stopped Dan Rather during Rathergate stood on the shoulders of Drudge, as links from Drudge to Powerline and Little Green Footballs helped alert the country about Rather's and CBS' attempts to influence an election with forged documents.

We must celebrate this and every new media anniversary, or the MSM/DNC gatekeepers will reinterpret events, downplay the important parts and misrepresent history. The revolution continues, but we must never lose the ground that we have already conquered.


update -

Very few bloggers have mentioned the anniversary. It appears that even the conservatives have missed the point. Most of them think of this incident as just another Clinton scandal. They fail to realize that this scandal was about more than Bill Clinton and an intern. This scandal was about a media revolution in progress. Just as Rathergate transcends Dan Rather and George Bush, the Lewinsky scandal transcends Bill and Monica.

There is a reason that so few true pioneers exist. Only a few individuals recognize the long range possibilities resulting from any innovation. The rest of us follow in the wake of these pioneers and, if we are lucky, make the most of the opportunities that the pioneers have provided.

I re-read some of the pages from the Drudge Manifesto this evening and was, once again, fascinated by the unfolding story - not of the sex, perjury and obstruction - but of Drudge's first post and the immediate aftermath. Pages 55-67 of the Manifesto bear witness to a part of history that has been hidden in plain site.

Drudge talks about his discovery of the story and how it developed during the hours leading up to the fateful post. He discusses his thoughts at the moment he hit "enter" on the fateful story. What follows is a narrative of two days of silence, in which MSM/DNC said nothing, while a tempest erupted below the surface. Drudge remained barricaded in his apartment for most of that time. After nearly 30 hours of silence, Freepers were suggesting that Drudge had been set up for a lawsuit by Newsweek.

Meanwhile, the Clinton White House frantically followed the story in silence. ". . . and White House staffers are reloading and refreshing the DRUDGE REPORT as fast as the circuits allow. Over 6,000 visits from the domain in the last 39 hrs. [as of Monday afternoon - 1-19-98 - ed]"

Similar backstage stories exist for each of the MSM/DNCscandals of recent years, but the participants haven't committed those stories to writing. How many of us have felt a small "rush" as we hit "enter" on our latest bombshell post, imagining the unseen effects around the world or around the corner?

The events of January 17, 1998 (and the hours that followed) provide not only a window into history, but incentive for us to continue our own efforts in the new media revolution.

update - Michelle Malkin has a bumper sticker.

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