I cold-called Matt Drudge sometime in either late ’96 or very early ’97, when I had a desk at People magazine. I wanted to report something or other about the Drudge Report, which was fairly new at the time. We soon became friendly. Not friend-friends but on the phone from time to time, talking about stories, friendly enough. I introduced him to Julia Phillips, with whom I was also palling around at the time. They quickly took to each other and she wound up helping him write The Drudge Manifesto. He eventually moved to Florida and then a falling-out of some kind happened over an email I sent him in ’01, some kind of lefty slam of one of his righty articles…can’t recall.

But putting a JEFFREY WELLS link on the Drudge Report home page was good and generous on his part. I think it appeared sometime in the fall of ’98, or right after my Mr. Showbiz column appeared. Matt was a real friend from the get-go. One weekend I was having computer trouble at the People office, and Matt — at the time a Los Angeles resident — was enough of a pal to drive all the way over and take a look at whatever the trouble was. (People editor Jack Kelly was there also that weekend, lurking and bothered by the presence of a non-staffer in the inner sanctum.) I brought Matt with me to a somewhat early screening of Titanic in November of ’97, and I distinctly recall both of us feeling the feel as we walked back to our cars on the Paramount lot.

In any event I heard yesterday that my link had been removed from his page so this morning I wrote him the following:

“Hey, man…how long’s it been? When did we last speak? When Julia was still alive in ’00 or ’01?

“I’m hearing you’ve dropped me from your main page. To which I can only say three things:

“One, thanks for putting my link on your page for 17 or 18 years or whatever it was. Obviously enormously supportive of you. Two, did I say or do something to prompt this? Some political piece I posted? Or was it just whim or mood? It’s very easy to delete a link on your home page. Bing, bam…done. And three, is this your way of saying you’ve decided that I’m not as intriguing or pointed a writer as I was 10 or 15 or 18 years ago, which I when we first became friendly? I know that’s not true so I guess…aahh, fuck it.

“Anyway, thanks again for God knows how many hundreds of thousands of visits and page views over the years.

“Julia is looking down and taking notes on this. I’m not sure she gives a shit one way or the other, but she’s definitely watching and going ‘hmmm.'”