Ya gotta love Internet aggregator Matt Drudge. No one’s better at marrying up a sensational headline and the perfect “gotcha” photograph. Exhibit A: On Thursday, Drudge linked with a Washington Times story about the State Department’s booze bill, which at nearly $300,000 last year was about twice as much as the previous year. State buys Jack Daniel’s whiskey and other alcoholic beverages for its embassies and missions, which hold receptions and other events all over the world. The Times dutifully quoted a watchdog group that thinks the expense, though a tiny fraction of State’s overall budget, reflects badly on stewardship when so many Americans don’t have jobs, etc., etc., etc. Likewise, the paper quoted a State spokesman, who noted the department doesn’t serve alcohol at every single event. Phew!
Back to that marriage of headline and photo. For this story Drudge found a photo of a smiling Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a glass of something in hand, rolling her head back in delight while standing in the aisle of her jet, steadying herself with the other hand on the overhead luggage bin. Who knows when the photo was shot, if Clinton was secretary of state then or if the beverage in her hand is Jack Daniel’s or lemonade? For Drudge it’s the perception that counts.