Elder Drudge's site gathers news, reference links

April 02, 2001|By Monty Phan | Monty Phan,NEWSDAY

It might seem that Matt Drudge would have little use for a site that proclaims itself as "the single best source for facts on the Net," but there's the link, right there on the Drudge Report Web site.

After all, Drudge - the Internet newshound best known for breaking the Monica Lewinsky scandal - moves so quickly to convert raw information to Web site fodder that something like the "Drudge Reference Desk" might seem incongruent.

But the Drudge referred to in that link isn't Matt at all, but his father, Bob, who has worked for six years to pull together Refdesk.com, a reference site that no less a figure than Secretary of State Colin Powell has referred to as his favorite. Makes sense: A military general seeks to make order out of chaos, which is what Bob Drudge, 59, has attempted to do with information on the Internet.

"I am very proud of Colin Powell's endorsement of Refdesk," he wrote in an e-mail interview. "That I can be of assistance to a man of his character and stature is reward in and of itself for the work it takes to produce and maintain the site."

Bob Drudge, the child of a librarian who says he probably knew the Dewey Decimal System before learning to walk, began the site in June 1995. Today's version lists about every source of information imaginable, from an airline flight tracker to "ZIP Codes: International." The site also has an "Ask Bob" feature, where he has answered more than 7,000 questions in the past six months.

The key to the site (www.refdesk.com), he said, is its easy navigation and logical layout.

And, yes, there's a link back to his son's site, under the heading "Columns." But that's about the limit to which either Drudge will discuss the other's site. On Refdesk's Mission Statement page, the elder Drudge writes that his son "Matt calls himself a `Citizen Reporter,' and his work has come to symbolize First Amendment issues on the Net."

"My son and I have a solid relationship that is not based on our Web sites," wrote Bob Drudge, who lives in Salisbury, Md. "The only connection is we both link to each other's site. We never discuss anything remotely to do with our Web-based activities. He does his thing. I do mine."

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