Internet original Drudge ends his TV gig

— 12:50 AM on November 19, 1999

If anybody has capitalized on the emergence of the 'net in the past decade, it's Matt Drudge. His web site broke a story that the conventional press (Newsweek, in particular) tried to spike, and pretty soon, the entire Clinton Administration was looking wobbly. Drudge came out of the deal with celebrity status, a zillion-hit web site, a radio show, and a TV program on Fox News. However, Drudge walked off the set of his TV show Sunday, and now he's decided to exit the TV gig entirely, in a dispute over a Fox editorial decision not to let him display on his TV show a striking but not terribly graphic picture of an unborn child undergoing an operation.

Whatever your politics, the interesting thing about Drudge, of course, has always been the subversiveness of his Internet-borne news reporting. Well, apparently the 'net's openness and TV news just don't mix. Get a load of this sound-bite exchange between a Fox exec and Drudge:

Said Fox News President Roger Ailes, who hired Drudge: "He wants to apply Internet standards, which are nonexistent, to journalism, and journalism has real standards. It can't work that way."
Ouch. Drudge shot back:
"I apologize to Fox News for having an open mind," Drudge said. "I've been spoiled on the Internet, I really have. The lack of ability to express my opinion on an issue that's important to me has left me believing the Internet is the future."
Drudge's independence is solidified by the fact he earns significantly more money in banner ad revenues than he was paid by Fox. "The Internet is the future" indeed.
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