LAST CALL: Drudge's ongoing fascination spells trouble for Barbra

Matt Drudge was clearly enjoying himself last week. The internet gossip, who made his name breaking the Monicagate story, and styles himself as something of a fedora-wearing film noir gumshoe, once again was sinking his teeth into a scandal involving a powerful figure in the Democratic party.

Matt Drudge was clearly enjoying himself last week. The internet gossip, who made his name breaking the Monicagate story, and styles himself as something of a fedora-wearing film noir gumshoe, once again was sinking his teeth into a scandal involving a powerful figure in the Democratic party.

Barbra Streisand had quickly emerged as a leader of Democrats opposed to a war on Iraq, but Drudge undermined her message with an expose of the numerous typos contained in an anti-war memo she'd sent to house minority leader Richard "Gebhardt."

Streisand's website conceded the faux pas in a prickly riposte. Then, Drudge revealed that an apparent Shakespeare quote the celebrity had used to press her cause at a Democratic gala was actually an internet hoax.

Once again, Streisand replied with an angry "Truth Alert" on her website. By now, the cyber catfight was shaping up into a news story, gleaning coverage on CNN and Fox, among others, and Drudge's site was sagging with self-referential Streisand stories. When he followed up with word that Streisand's foundation had invested in Halliburton stock, Streisand's site fulminated: "What did the Republicans 'Drudge' up today?" Cue yet more coverage.

PR score: Drudge 3, Streisand in the red and still sliding.

Now, Last Call is constantly catching tacky typos in press releases, and it's easy to be taken in by an internet hoaxter. But The Washington Post's John Schwartz may have put it best, observing: "Why Ms. Streisand has responded is one of those mysteries of the internet."

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