When President Obama was used for traffic bait, the world and Drudge Report habitués, better known as “Drudgers,” sprinted to the page. Drudge Report page views soared on Friday when a three-word banner was posted. The banner first read, “Obama cleans house: Carney out.” However, in a blink of an eye, it read only, “Obama cleans house.”
492 readers a second, not to be confused with a minute, rushed to find out who President Obama had swept out with his official White House broom, according to Drudge’s real time Quantcast statistics. In a straight up climb, Drudge Report’s traffic jumped from under 20,000 unique viewers to over 69,000, a measure of unique cookies recorded each five minutes.
Of Drudge’s unique viewers, New Yorkers, a state dense with news reporters, were the most interested with well over 1,000 unique riveted viewers. Texas, California and Colorado numbers were half that. At that moment, just over ten percent of the readers were from other countries. This almost unequaled ability to drive news traffic led Dr. Charles Krauthammer to call Matt Drudge a “headline genius.”
Following the link to its NBC source, Obama had made a surprise pop-in to a press briefing to announce that his press secretary, Jay Carney, was leaving. Carney’s replacement is communications deputy Josh Earnest. Less Carney’s resignation seem abrupt, Obama explained that Carney had dropped a word in his ear in April that he was considering the move.
High profile stories driven by The Drudge Report have caused some problems for Jay Carney during his stint as press secretary. So much so that back in 2012, when asked a question about a topic driven by the Drudge Report, Jay cautioned the press members to “Be mindful of your sources.”
However, that didn’t stop Carney, himself, from using the Drudge as a go-to for preparation for his briefs. Matt Drudge, the founder of the Drudge Report, called Carney out with a tweet which referenced the White House EOP (official Twitter alias Jay Carney (EOP)Verified account @PressSec).
Drudge exposed Carney’s peek by commenting, “Wild night on Drudge Report. Frightening futuristic flashes… Continued thanks for all who visit site, including you, http://eop.gov !”
Although the design of the Drudge Report’s single page format forces short headline links, Drudge isn’t the only one to use cryptic headlines to lure political readers. Glenn Beck often uses the same type of low information, high sensation wording as an enticement to coax readers into reading his newsletters. Recent email attention grabbers for Beck have included, “I’ve had enough,” and “How dare they!”
As a measure of political reader intensity and influence, according to real time Quantcast stats, glennbeck.com is rocking along at two views per second and The Blaze, founded by Beck, is showing 40 views a second. Checking at the same time on a slow news Saturday, the Drudge Report’s real time stats are holding steady at 215 a second.