Counter to his peers’ claims that his anti-Trump pivot is a self-interested move, Drudge’s traffic has gone down significantly in the past year. TheRighting, a site dedicated to analyzing and tracking the popularity of top conservative media outlets, reported that the Drudge Report has experienced a 38% decline from its almost 2.4 million unique visits in July 2019, to less than 1.5 million unique visitors in July of this year.
The site’s explicit defiance toward Trump and his administration, and the president’s rebukes in turn, are almost certainly a contributing factor in this downward trend. But another recent massive change to the conservative media landscape might also have a hand in Drudge’s decreasing readership. There is now a sizable portion of the GOP base that has swallowed the mind-altering QAnon conspiracy theory, meaning that relatively mainstream conservative sites like the Drudge Report just don’t give them the same high that was once sufficiently extreme to satiate their media appetite. For that subset of neurotically online pro-Trump lunatics, Drudge’s headlines might as well be cheap product cut with heaps of baking soda. The millions-of-members-strong QAnon Facebook groups, on the other hand, offer that pure Bolivian fish-scale, scratch-your-face-off content they crave.