Brian Beutler: "It's widely understood that writers and editors value an article's penetration as much as they do its quality. It's the very dynamic that keeps us stuck with Maureen Dowd. I know that writers at our political dailies here in DC are often more excited about the possibility of a Drudge link than they are for the approval of their smart, principled peers, because that link represents their value added to the business side of their publication. It's an incentive that can do wonders for quality if your patron is Duncan Black or another smart and popular media critic."
Here's an explanation for "Drudge Trolling" (mainstream journalists who actively seek links from The Drudge Report) that never occurred to me. It's always seemed to me that the explanation that the mainstream media is just right-wing by nature was to simplistic an explanation. But if the a success by a journalist is measured by the number of "hits" they get and you can get a great hit aggregator like Drudge to link to you, then it makes sense that mainstream journalist will inevitably lean their stories towards something that Drudge will find favorable.
So, when said journalists claim that Drudge "rules their world" it doesn't mean they agree with Drudge politically. It just means that they value a link from him more than any other.
Of course, the more you subconsciously troll for Drudge links the more you will rationalize this by adopting a Drudge-like view of the world.