Online journalist Matt Drudge is threatening to boot New York Times columnists from his popular website, the Drudge Report, now that the Times’ website has announced it will begin charging a fee.

Matt Drudge of ‘The Drudge Report’ on the Fox News Channel

“I will yank the Times scribes if I can’t find other outlets that are planning to carry them,” Drudge told the New York Post. “The Internet is losing its innocence.”

Beginning Monday, the New York Times will charge $49.95 per year or $7.95 per month for online readers to access 22 columnists including Maureen Dowd, Paul Krugman and Frank Rich.

Drudge’s threat is getting some reaction in messageboards on the Web:

  • “Good for Matt Drudge. This is bad news for readers and I predict the Times will retract this stupid move. Certainly they make enough money off of advertising that they don’t have to get greedy with supplemental revenue streams like this.”

  • “Drudge has always been an advocate for not just keeping information free on the Internet, but also keeping the feds and their legislative and tax-hungry hands off the Internet. That was the spirit of it in the beginning, and when you see legislators trying to get their hands on Internet gambling sites and restrict pornography, that is only the start. How long until I have to pay not only eBay, which is fine, but also pay tribute to the feds for my Internet sale?”

  • “Ah yes, and it just seems like yesterday that the Internet was a wholesome and pure resource for perpetual spam and soft-core pornography.”

    Previous story:

  • Note: Read our discussion guidelines before commenting.