10 Mar 2010

Senate Warned Against Reading Drudge

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Fox News detects a partisan slant in potential virus warnings pertaining to Drudge Report, one of the most active and infliential agggregators on the Internet, whose reporting commonly, but not always, features a conservative perspective.

[A]n e-mail is circulating warning U.S. Senate staffers not to view one of the most popular news sites on the Web, claiming it could spread computer viruses.

The Senate Sergeant-at-Arms, the chamber’s official gatekeeper, said the Drudge Report, a news aggregator, and whitepages.com, a telephone directory site, “are responsible for the many viruses popping up throughout the Senate,” according to an e-mail from the Environment and Public Works Committee obtained by FoxNews.com.

Another e-mail from a separate office warned that staffers who had visited the Drudge Report or White Pages had experienced viruses on their PCs.

“Please avoid using these sites until the Senate resolves this issue,” the e-mail read. “The Senate has been swamped the last couples (sic) days with this issue.”

But the Drudge Report suggested that politics might be behind the warning, noting in an original story that the e-mail came as the “health care drama in the Capitol reaches a grand finale.”

The Drudge Report noted that it served more than 29 million pages Monday without an e-mail complaint about “‘pop ups,’ or the site serving ‘viruses.'” …

A spokesman for the Environment and Public Works Committee said the Senate Help Desk cited the Drudge Report and whitepages.com only as possible examples of Web sites generating pop-up ads that might be causing a recent increase in the number of virus infections.

“Our non-partisan systems administrator notified both Majority and Minority staff that this issue had been brought to her attention,” the spokesman said in a written statement. “It is still not exactly clear where the increase in viruses is coming from, and staff have been advised to be cautious with outside Web sites at all times.”

A GOP aide to the Environment and Public Works Committee told FoxNews.com that there has been “a flurry of activity in the last couple of days” and that a couple of people on the staff had had “computer problems.”

But Brent Baker, the vice president for research and publications at the Media Research Center, wondered why the conservative Drudge was cited as an example instead of a liberal site like the Huffington Post.

I look at Drudge Report daily and I’ve seen no evidence to suggest that there is any legitimate basis for such warnings at all.

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