Student Now

Selected Book Excepts:

Selected Books
Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser
Dish: How Gossip Became the News and the News Became Just Another Show
by Jeannette Walls
When Bad Things Happen to Good People by Harold S. Kushner
The Grief Recovery Handbook
Grief: A Neglected and Misunderstood Process
Dr. Ruth's Guide to College Life
Yell-Oh Girls!
More book excerpts coming soon.

Savings on Best Sellers
Buy Now & Save

Search for a Book

Looking for a Book? Find it here up to 75% off! Everything in-stock and ready to ship!

CengageBrain - Rent or Buy Textbooks

Excerpt Continued: Dish


An awkward moment of silence followed, and then polite applause. Matt Drudge stepped up to the podium. He was only thirty-one years old, a young man dressed in old man's clothes: a cream-colored suit with unfashionably wide lapels, a blue shirt and striped tie, and tortoiseshell glasses. He was pale with a somewhat asymmetric face and small but intense dark eyes. He somehow appeared more vulnerable without his trademark fedora, which made him look more like a vaudeville character than a pasty-faced, self-described "computer geek" with a slightly receding hairline.

"Applause for Matt Drudge in Washington at the Press Club," Drudge joked. "Now there's a scandal." He was nervous at first, but just as his voice was about to falter, he reached over and grabbed his fedora and placed it on his head. With his talisman, this relic that evoked populist tabloid journalism of Walter Winchell's days, Drudge found his voice. For the next forty minutes, he spoke passionately--if not always eloquently--about his love of journalism, about the importance of the unfettered flow of information, about how scandals, while sometimes ugly, were important to democracy and to "individual liberty." Drudge spoke of being a loner, a little guy in a business dominated by conglomerates, about the importance of persevering to tell the truth, even when it embarrassed and infuriated powerful people.

"'Freedom of the press belongs to anyone who owns one,'" he said, quoting the legendary journalist A. J. Liebling. The Internet, Drudge's medium, was a great equalizer, he insisted. Now, everyone who owned a laptop and a modem could be a publisher and a reporter, a "citizen reporter"--as Drudge called himself. He looked forward to the day, he said, when everyone in America would have an equal voice and the country would be "vibrating with the din of small voices." The Internet was going to save the news, he declared: "It's freedom of participation absolutely realized."

Many journalists in the crowd were unimpressed. It was that elitism, those rules, they maintained, that had long kept lurid, irresponsible stories like Drudge's out of the press. The real reason that Matt Drudge had come to Washington that day, most of them knew, was that he was being forced to testify in his own defense in a $30 million libel lawsuit. Drudge had inaccurately reported that Sidney Blumenthal, a former journalist who had become an aide to President Clinton, had beaten his wife. Soon after he posted the erroneous item, Drudge posted an apology and correction. But he had made plenty of other bloopers, as well: He had posted items saying that Clinton had a bald eagle tattoo in his genital region, that Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr had seventy-five pictures of Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky together, and that Hillary Clinton was about to be indicted. He once estimated that he is accurate eighty percent of the time.

"Could you succeed as a journalist," someone in the crowd wanted to know, "if you worked for an organization which required an accuracy rate of one hundred percent?"

"I don't know what organization that would be," Drudge shot back.

There was some embarrassed laughter, and then applause. Despite Harbrecht's pronouncements about high standards of journalists, Matt Drudge and everyone else in the room knew that by the late 1990s, the media was in a state of absolute crisis. The always fuzzy line between news and gossip had become a complete blur. Tabloid topics and sensationalism repeatedly overshadowed serious news. It wasn't Drudge's mistakes that angered many in the crowd; it was the stories he got right: Clinton's trysts with Monica Lewinsky; the semen-stained dress; the infamous cigar.

Buy This Book on Amazon

The above is excerpted from Dish. Copy Right. By Jeannette Walls. All rights reserved. HarperCollins Publishers. Used by Permission.

Above Text © 2002, HarperCollins Publishers.


Buy This Book on Amazon


Search for a Book

Looking for a Book? Find it here up to 75% off! Everything in-stock and ready to ship!

CengageBrain - Rent or Buy Textbooks
In Association with



StudentNow | Features | Shopping | Travel | Jobs | Research | Fun | Life | Sports | Colleges

©2002 COPYRIGHT StudentNow information other notices.