The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

21 July 2005

Seattle Station Goes After Drudge

Matt's Nasty Surprise

KOMO-TV Sends Drudge 'Net Missile

Somebody at Seattle's KOMO-TV sure doesn't like Matt Drudge.

After linking to a photo at KOMO's website, the station had the image changed from one of an illegal drug/alien/terrorist smuggling tunnel between Lynden, Washington and British Columbia, to the below image.

This image briefly appeared at the Drudge Report before quickly being removed. KOMO-TV graphic

Within minutes, Drudge's people noticed the image on and had it removed. The Radio Equalizer captured it during that brief time.

Here's the KOMO smuggling story link. I thought about putting the tunnel picture here, in hopes I could get my own custom Web scolding from the station, but I'll hold off for now.

So what's the big deal if Drudge links to KOMO-TV?

Bandwidth is one issue, meaning that it costs the ABC station extra money to have the photo link on his site, but most news outlets like the huge traffic increases they get from him, it's great for business. If clicking the photo took readers to KOMO's site, it should have provided a benefit.

Is KOMO's notoriously liberal newsroom operation the problem? That's possible, Drudge is still hated by the left, even though his own political views are considered libertarian, not conservative.

I'm not sure this was a good move on KOMO's part, it makes them look as though they're initiating a petty conflict with Drudge, when they have a news image to maintain. I've never seen another media outlet resort to this.

Update: Okay, I'll give in and run KOMO's sacred photo, but without a link back to their site.

We'll see if I get raked over the coals.

Other points: the new, scolding, graphic cost the station just as much in hosting charges, didn't it? Did anyone try to contact Drudge and outline their policy, or were they just trying to make him look bad?

That's why I question their motives, would they do this to Al Franken or Janeane Garofalo?

Friday Update: welcome Orbusmax and Free Republic readers. Be sure to check out the comments section below, there's a lively debate going on there about the concept of "hotlinking".

As far as the photo, I'm seeing the same picture credited to the DEA and AP. Who took the picture? Here's the BBC's tunnel story, with links to other sources.

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  • Hey you think that Tunnel is something. . .well Bremerton is going to build it's own $28 million dollar tunnel under downtown Bremerton to off load cars from the ferry. This tunnel will be about 800 feet long.

    Bet your tunnel didn't cost that much.

    Oh did I mention that this tunnel will only be used about 14 times a day and for out going traffic only.

    Makes you want to spend your next vacation here doesn't it.

    By Anonymous mickh, at 21 July, 2005 19:14  

  • Hotlinking is a way for a webmaster to display a photo or other content on one's website while the photo is being hosted on another website.

    Webmasters are very sensitve about the issue of "hotlinking" photos from their website because of bandwidth costs and because they believe their content is being "stolen".

    There are millions of page refreshes(many automatic) going on each day on DrudgeReport. Millions of refreshes(some automatic) that never result in the viewer going to the website of the photo. Possibly millions of Drudges' viewers who are enjoying the photo without ever reading the underlying story.

    If Drudge truly felt the photo was something his readers must see, he could have provided the headline at the top of his page, without the photo.

    The question is why didn't Drudge host the photo himself on his own servers which I believe is his normal practice? Probably because he didn't have the rights to the photo.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 22 July, 2005 05:11  

  • I'm well aware of the hotlinking issue, but we don't know that it was the case here. Often clicking the photo at news sites does take you to the story or another relevant page.

    I don't think getting nasty was appropriate on KOMO's part. Minor computing issues are one thing, bad public relations another.

    A behind-the-scenes communication to Drudge outlining the station's policy would have been much more professional.

    By Blogger Brian Maloney, at 22 July, 2005 10:15  

  • This is what I posted to KOMO:

    What's the matter? You don't want people visiting your site unless they come from the right place?
    This is how the cliquish girls acted on the playground in grade school.

    So what if the link is on on

    What a snobbish act... You should be ashamed.

    By Blogger Brian, at 22 July, 2005 10:51  

  • Brian,
    What do you mean that we don't know that was the case? Also, find me a newsite that does hotlinking of other newsite's photos and I will eat my words.

    Defending Drudge by saying it wasn't professional is silly. Drudge will use a photo or a rumor in a heartbeat to mock someone if it benefits him. If Drudge is going to "steal a photo for use on his site, then KOMO can remove the photo or alternatively display a message gif asking him to not hotlink their photo. If Drudge can dish it out then he can take a minor lump.

    At most the incident was funny and hardly something to be indignant over.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 22 July, 2005 11:16  

  • I'm not really sure why you've made such a big deal about this, as this is really a fairly common practice. If someone posts an image on a high-traffic website that's hosted on another site, very often the webmaster of the site hosting the image will replace that image with something else. Many times it's something not so kind, too. Hotlinking is hotlinking, whether you're linking back to the source site or not. You're still leeching their bandwidth, and it's bad web practice. In my opinion, KOMO actually handled it fairly civilly.

    By Blogger Skor Grimm, at 22 July, 2005 11:18  

  • Nothing more then Web Envy from the Leftists at KOMO. Home of Ken Schrambo.

    By Blogger Scott, at 22 July, 2005 11:53  

  • Skor:

    I don't agree, here's why: you can approach it from an IT perspective, or a business one.

    I don't think KOMO should tick off Drudge, it should tolerate the hotlinking, regardless of the full story of where the photo link took the reader.

    Why? Because future text links from Drudge would be worth a lot to KOMO in terms of increased web traffic. I doubt KOMO will ever get another link from his site.

    I've never seen a media outlet resort to this kind of tactic and I don't think it was very smart or professional.

    I wouldn't have injected the political element into this discussion either, except that just about everything that goes on at KOMO has a liberal political agenda. It's the TV version of the Seattle P-I.

    By Blogger Brian Maloney, at 22 July, 2005 11:59  

  • I've never seen a media outlet resort to this kind of tactic and I don't think it was very smart or professional.

    I'm a fan of Drudge, but really he's the one that isn't being smart or professional here, by consistently hotlinking his images from other sites. He's got the ability to host images on his own server, why doesn't he? He's leeching bandwidth off other sites without their permission. What I've never seen another media outlet do is hotlink images like Drudge does.

    I have little doubt that KOMO has a liberal agenda, but I still think this is a simple matter of the webmaster noticing a huge spike in bandwidth, identifying the source, and taking reasonable, polite measures to stop the problem.

    Not everything is a conspiracy.

    By Blogger Skor Grimm, at 22 July, 2005 14:01  

  • we should hire these pot-smoking hogan's heroes to replace the viaduct.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 22 July, 2005 14:18  

  • Great posts Skor. Your link points out just how common the "switcheroo" practice is.

    I like Drudge too and while an argument can be made he won't link to them again, if he is a good business man he will want to link to wherever a good story exists and work within the guidelines established by the news source.

    If the RadioEqualizer thinks that is a dumb business practice fine, but your argument primarily was to spin this as politically motivated and those of us who aren't staunch ideologs get tired of this tactic being used to alway impune the motives of people.

    By Blogger Freddy, at 22 July, 2005 15:01  

  • "except that just about everything that goes on at KOMO has a liberal political agenda...."

    And everything at "Sludge" hawks the neoconservative / zionist agenda.

    There must be a buck - or a neoconservative angle - in this or Drudge wouldn't link it in the first place. It's probably just another play to the terrorist bogeyman.

    And BTW, what the h*ll is wrong with Drudge's page lately, anyway? I've been reading him for years - it's a good idea to listen to the enemy - but I'm thinking about giving him up. He spams me -more hawking - he locks my computer up, and I sometmes get trojans from him, too. [I think they are trojans]

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 22 July, 2005 15:19  

  • The pop-up blocker usually does a decent job of blocking that crap. I don't know why he continues using those ads.

    I think the more effective ads which the pop-up blockers don't work against are those created with Macromedia Flash player where the ad is animated and you are forced to close it in order to read the story.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 22 July, 2005 15:38  

  • Looks like the issue of Drudge's practice of hotlinking has been crossed before:

    By Blogger Freddy, at 22 July, 2005 15:57  

  • Glad I didn't hotlink MSNBC's photo when I posted a thread at's Colosseum...

    By Anonymous Terry, at 23 July, 2005 19:01  

  • Drudge has crashed many servers from the traffic he has directed toward them.

    Drudge knows he is going to have 24 million views in a day and has the capacity to handle it.

    If Drudge is hotlinking a photo from some unexpecting website, that website will also get 24 million hits, in addition to the hits generated by the readers who choose to read the story.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 24 July, 2005 06:14  

  • You're letting your partisanness interfere with media industry analysis again, Bri. All the rightie blogs (don't get wrong idea, I'm rightie tightie too) were cackling about the evil that had been done to REDSTATE by an MSM hotlink a few months ago. And I'm not even a blogger (just a reader) and I know this. you talking about this, reminds me of my Accenture buddy who told me a year ago with aghast that yahoo had reached out to his computer and opened an extra page--the dude had never seen a popup ad before.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 27 July, 2005 22:12  

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