As I recently noted at Politics Daily, the TSA showdown is healthy for America.  Here’s why:

The TSA passenger rebellion is merely the latest example of American exceptionalism and is perfectly in keeping with the nation’s ethos. As Ben Franklin declared, those “who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

But while this rebellion has long been bubbling below the surface, one wonders if it have ever come to the forefront without Matt Drudge.   My guess is, it would not have — at least, not yet.

Not long ago, of course, there was great debate as to whether or not Drudge even still had it.  As Barack Obama was besting John McCain in 2008, many observers wondered whether or not The Drudge Report — which a decade earlier had pushed the Monica Lewinsky scandal into the headlines — had lost a step.

At the Washington Post, Howard Kurtz debated whether or not Drudge still had the clout to drive media coverage.  And TPM’s Greg Sargent also argued that Drudge’s influence was over-stated.  He was not alone.

Of course, as the TSA rebellion illustrates, Drudge remains incredibly powerful and uniquely important.

As Project for Excellence in Journalism director Tom Rosenstiel previously told the Los Angeles Times, Drudge is “a gateway for conventional journalism.”

It think that’s the key.  The TSA story, of course, did not end with Drudge.  Do a Google News search for “TSA” and you’ll find all sorts of new information and investigative journalism that has been reported in the last week. (At the time of this writing, doing so yielded me a “Time” story called “Please remove your prosthetic breast,” and a Raw Story titled, “ABC producer says TSA agent felt inside her underwear“).

Now consider how many of these stories wouldn’t have seen the light of day had it not been for the blaring-siren of the Drudge Report …

By linking to that now-famous video — and sending it viral — Drudge helped spark a movement.  He may have also turned John Tyner into the business traveler’s “Rosa Parks”…

Tags: Barack Obama