It’s unclear how much traffic any of the Drudge knock-off sites are receiving, although none of them appears to be getting anywhere near Drudge’s site, which received more than 80 million visitors in September, according to SimilarWeb figures.
They’re also unlikely to capture the influence Drudge has wielded over media and politics. Since breaking the news in 1998 of Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky, Drudge’s site has brought him outsized power over that goes far beyond the aggregation style that his newcomer rivals are attempting to copy. Stories highlighted by Drudge often end up making it on the cable news, and media outlets have long sought the mammoth traffic a link from the site can bring. In 2008, a Republican operative dubbed Drudge the “assignment editor for the national press corps” because of his power to influence media coverage. Even Hillary Clinton’s first presidential campaign sought to create a relationship with the conservative publisher, in hopes he wouldn’t torpedo her candidacy.
But conservative anger at Drudge has ramped up alongside impeachment proceedings into Trump, threatening his exalted status in the rightwing media ecosystem. Jim Hoft, the founder of the Gateway Pundit blog, has repeatedly urged Drudge to “come home.” Pro-Trump cartoonist Ben Garrison urged his fans to abandon the site, adding a cartoon of a meter with Drudge’s face swinging left.
“Who will be the NEW Drudge?” Garrison tweeted.