The political complexity of Hurricane Matt Drudge

It’s natural that Drudge’s assumption would be that someone was hyping a threat for political purposes. That’s what Drudge does nearly every day. Between September 2013 and June 2014, for example, he promoted stories about the “knockout game” 19 times, according to Drudge Report Archives. The “knockout game” was a purported trend in which young men (mostly black) were dared to go punch someone (often white) without provocation. There was no basis to the suggestion that this was a broad trend, and the subtext behind the weird media frenzy was hard to miss.

More regularly, Drudge hypes stories about undocumented immigrants (“Illegal Alien in Phoenix Deadly Crash Drank 12 Beers and Used Cocaine…”), the Islamic State (“ISIS to send ‘serial killers’ to the West in bloody new terror tactic”) and crime (“Murder Rates Soar In 25 Largest Cities…”). His relationship with Trump is symbiotic, however unintentionally: He hypes the purported danger, and Trump promises to fix it.

The difference between Drudge’s hype and the warnings of the weather forecasters, of course, is that there actually is a massive hurricane on Florida’s coast. It actually is an immediate risk to life and property. Drudge criticizing forecasters for basing warnings on worst-case scenarios is the flip side to Drudge constantly hyping one-off polls that show Trump with significant leads in the presidential race. He’s cherry-picking the best-case scenario to reassure his readers; the scientists are isolating the worst case to potentially save lives.