Does Drudge Skew the News on Ferguson?

Aaron Turpen

As rioting and protests in Ferguson, Missouri continues, coverage on the popular news outlet The Drudge Report, is often cited - especially in "right wing" publications and similar websites. The release of the St. Louis County medical examiner's autopsy report of Michael Brown, the teen shot by a police officer whose death sparked the riots, was reported in Drudge, for example, with the focus apparently being on the marijuana found in Brown's system.

For many news outlets with a conservative bent, such as the Washington Times, this sort of detail lends instant credibility to the idea that the teenager was a criminal. This despite plenty of evidence, none of which Drudge cited, that marijuana use is actually not a contributor to violent behavior and may actually have the opposite effect. Even the conservative RAND Institute and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government note that fact.

Other publications, including the Epoch Times, often report directly from the Drudge Report when publishing stories. This story, for example, paraphrases a Drudge story almost paragraph by paragraph.

On the other hand, many of the stories that appear on the front page of the Drudge Report are aggregates from other sites, but editors at Drudge still pick and choose what appears and what does not. At The Awl, the subject of Matt Drudge and his influence on media is analyzed in regards to events in Ferguson.

The current stories, as of this writing, on Drudge focus on the police and new military presence in Ferguson. Headlines like "FBI blankets scene.." and "..overmilitarized Ferguson cops" are peppered in with stories about reporters being "rounded up" and various allusions to Islamic terror and President Obama's misdeeds. A nice picture of the Pope caps it all, under the headline "Holder Takes Over."

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Turning to Fox News, we see.. "Holder takes charge.." as the headline and the top-rated story. Several sub-stories from there also focus on Ferguson, many of them mirroring Drudge headlines, though couched in lighter, less sensationalist terminology.

Meanwhile, over at CNN, we see a different take. The headline story focuses on the police officer who shot Brown, outlining the support for the policeman. Yet below that, we see the beloved racial narrative repeated, again in opposition to the predominant coverage shown on Drudge.

Does this illustrate that the Drudge Report is biased? Absolutely. Does it illustrate that others, like those cited, are not? Absolutely not. What it shows is that the news, no matter where your source it, has an inherent editorial bias. Even here at The Inquisitr. news is, after all, created by people and is usually about other people. With Drudge, it's not a question of whether there is a bias, it's a question of whether that bias is your own preference.

The diversity of media and instant access that the Internet has brought about means that each of us can easily find stories from nearly every side of any issue. Drudge brings one side, other outlets bring others. We are free to mix and match our intake of events as we wish by using those sources. It's your choice if you refuse to do so or embrace this availability.

[images Via Getty and NY times]