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Impeachment: American Crime Story – Who is Matt Drudge?

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Journalist Matt Drudge, portrayed on Impeachment: American Crime Story by Billy Eichner, played a key role in revealing Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky to the public.

Drudge began his eponymous publication, The Drudge Report (now a news aggregation website) as an email-based newsletter in 1995.

On 17 January 1998, the site made a name for itself by being the first to report on Clinton’s relationship with Lewinsky, a former White House intern.

The report took the form of a “scoop of a scoop” (as The Washington Post put it in 2018) claiming that Newsweek, a weekly news magazine, had killed a story about Clinton’s affair.

“At the last minute, at 6pm on Saturday evening, Newsweek magazine killed a story that was destined to shake official Washington to its foundation: A White House intern carried on a sexual affair with the President of the United States!” the item read in part.

It was followed by more reports in mainstream news outlets, and the scandal became one of the biggest news stories in American contemporary history.

Matt Drudge on Capitol Hill on 8 October 1998 after the US House of Representatives voted to proceed with the impeachment of President Bill Clinton (STEPHEN JAFFE/AFP via Getty Images)
Matt Drudge on Capitol Hill on 8 October 1998 after the US House of Representatives voted to proceed with the impeachment of President Bill Clinton (STEPHEN JAFFE/AFP via Getty Images)

Drudge, who grew up in Takoma Park, Maryland (a suburb of Washington, DC), had moved to Los Angeles by the time he launched the Drudge Report.

At the time, the newsletter focused mainly on the entertainment industry, though it eventually shifted to cover politics.

Drudge remains the owner of the Drudge Report. Rumours that he was searching for a buyer surfaced in 2020 but have yet to materialise.

Clinton was impeached by the House of Representatives in 1998 as a result of the affair and the investigation into it. The Senate acquitted him the following year and he remained in office until the end of his second term in 2001.

American Crime Story starts airing in the US on FX on 7 September. A UK air date has yet to be confirmed. The show’s two previous seasons were broadcast on BBC Two shortly after airing in the US.

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