In terms of setting the ground rules -- in terms of setting the campaign agenda -- Matt Drudge has been AWOL since mid-September when Wall Street's credit crisis erupted. That's because a sober story like the unfolding economic turmoil knocks Drudge completely out of his element of frivolous, partisan gotcha links.
Think about it. Since Monday, September 15, when word of emergency government intervention to save the economy began to spread, the presidential race, according to all the available data, has gone through a dramatic fourth-quarter shift, with Barack Obama opening up a comfortable lead. Now ask yourself: What role has the Drudge Report played in that burst of campaign movement? The answer, of course, is zero. Zilch. Nada. Nothing. His trademark flashing red lights have gone missing.
Four years ago, Drudge was at the peak of his political power. Today, he's pretty much watching the election pass him by, reduced to the role of frustrated sideline heckler.
Read the full Media Matters for American column here.