Matt Drudge: I’ve a right not to be watched

29 August 2007

In 2003, Esquire termed Gay Talese‘s profile of Frank Sinatra as the best story it had ever published on its pages.

“The legendary singer was approaching fifty, under the weather, out of sorts, and unwilling to be interviewed. So Talese remained in Los Angeles, hoping Sinatra might recover and reconsider, and he began talking to many of the people around Sinatra—his friends, his associates, his family, his countless hangers-on—and observing the man himself wherever he could. The result, “Frank Sinatra Has a Cold,” ran in April 1966 and became one of the most celebrated magazine stories ever published…”

In this week’s New York magazine, Philip Weiss sets out to profile Matt Drudge, the author of the Drudge Report, the seventh most visited website on the planet, ahead of—yes—even the New York Times and Washington Post. And unlike Talese, Weiss doesn’t even get to see Drudge, a full time manager of a gift shop in his previous avatar, let alone speak to him. Drudge craves attention but hides.

Weiss emails Drudge, writes letters to him at the two places he owns in Miami, calls his radio show number 1-866-4-drudge, visits the two addresses, calls his friends to put in a word… but “America’s most influential journalist” is elusive. All he gets to hear is Drudge’s defence of his privacy on air.

“I just don’t want to be watched when I’m visiting the Lincoln Memorial, going through Penn Station, or walking down Hollywood Boulevard. So many cameras everywhere. And now you start feeding that into some kind of database and start linking it up with a Fascist company like Google? This is a serious issue. And it’s not given serious consideration—when it is a total transformation of our society and our liberties.

“What gives you a right? Why are you watching me? People say, well, what do you have to hide, Drudge? What do you have to hide? You know what? The burden should be on them. I think I have a right not to be watched.”

Read the riveting profile: Watching Matt Drudge

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