Drudge Report traffic plunges as content turns against Trump

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The Drudge Report posted a 45 percent decline in web traffic in September as it’s content has turned against Trump ahead of the Nov. 3 presidential election.

The numbers — derived from comScore, which tracks the industry — were released in a report by TheRighting, a website that analyzes traffic to right-leaning websites. TheRighting told the Post that Drudge Report had 1,291,000 unique visitors in September, according to numbers supplied by comScore, down from 2,340,000 in the same month a year ago.

September’s eye-pooping decline marks the the ninth month in a row that the political news aggregation website run by reclusive founder Matt Drudge has posted traffic declines, TheRighting said.

The Drudge Report’s decline comes at a time when appetites for political news has been soaring on both sides of the aisle leading up to a highly-charged presidential election.

Fox News saw traffic increase 9 percent in September compared to a year ago, with 104.1 million unique visitors, The Righting said. That lags behind CNN, which pulled 144.5 million unique visitors, up 11 percent, but beats The New York Times brands’ 95.1 million unique visitors in September, up 3 percent compared to the same month a year ago, and the Washington Post with 91.6 million unique visitors, also up 3 percent from a year ago, TheRighting said.

The demand has helped push up traffic for right-leaning news sites like the Washington Examiner, which pulled 15.9 million unique visitors, up 11 percent, and The Blaze, which attracted 12.3 million unique visitors,  up 106 percent, according to TheRighting.

“Strong audience growth for most conservative websites continues to be driven by a heated news environment that shows no signs of cooling off,” said Howard Polskin, president and chief curator at TheRighting, whose tagline is “Alerting liberal audiences to today’s headlines from the right.”

“Notable stories in September 2020 included the escalation of the pandemic, the dramatic revelations in Bob Woodward’s latest book on President Trump, the fireworks that characterized the first Trump-Biden debate, the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the contentious nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court and the explosive story in the New York Times about Trump’s tax returns,” Polskin said. “These stories played like a reality show and kept audiences thoroughly engaged throughout the month as they kept turning to news media to learn the latest unfolding developments.”

Drudge had been an ardent promoter of Donald Trump in the run up to the 2016 election and was even reportedly invited to the White House in 2017. But the site and its founder, who made his name for first reporting on the Monika Lewinsky scandal in the 1990s, has drawn criticism from some of its former readers, including the president, for linking to largely negative stories about the president in recent months.

“Congratulations Dan. You, Breitbart and others have decimated the business at Drudge,” the President tweeted earlier this month. “It’s gone the way of the @NBA, ratings down 70%. People want the TRUTH! Drudge Report sold out, suffered a massive ‘nervous breakdown’. Happening @FoxNews also???”

The “Dan” Trump congratulated appears to have been Dan Bongino, founder of fast-growing Bongino.com, which saw its unique visitor traffic surge 780 percent in September, according to TheRighting.

The decline has to be upsetting to Matt Drudge, who founded the site in 1994 and quickly became  a dominant force in setting the political agenda with his own scoops and an aggregation site that posts links to about 50 stories a day.

In recent months Drudge Report has become a topic of conversation among media and Wall Street circles due to rumors that Matt Drudge has been seeking a minority investor. Drudge did not return calls seeking comment.

Stories topping the Drudge Report on Friday included a link to a Washington Post article about Trump’s public musings over a potential loss to Joe Biden and a Pennlive.com story about growing regional delays in the US Postal Service’s delivery times.

Also down is right-wing conspiracy site InfoWars, founded by Alex, which saw traffic fall 1 percent for the fifth month in a row, The Righting said. The Daily Caller also saw traffic drop 9 percent for the month as it recorded its second monthly decline in a row.

The fastest growing sites as a percentage were #16 Bongino.com, up 780 percent to 2.6 million uniques, according to TheRighting; The Gateway Pundit  up 456 percent to 5.7 million unique visitors on the month,  and CNS News, up 417 percent to 3.9 million unique visitors.

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