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On Friday, Editor and Publisher hyped this Sunday NYTimes magazine piece by Michael Crowley about the influence of conservative vs. liberal blogs.

Maureen Dowd and Paul Krugman offer stiff competition on a weekly basis, but Crowley’s embarrassing little squib (283 words) has to be one of most insipid, shallow, and uninformed wastes of space to grace the NYTimes’ pages.

Based on a single “expert” source–“liberal activist Matt Stoller”–Crowley makes

sweeping assertions about the content, nature, effectiveness, and media penetration of partisan blogs. Liberal blogs criticize Democrats more, while conservatives march in lockstep with the GOP leadership to “to provide maximum benefit for their issues and candidates,” the piece asserts.

What? Clue-by-four for you, Mr. Crowley: A name that rhymes with Marriet Hyers.

Another dose of reality for the clueless Crowley: Technorati search – Bush + open borders + amnesty.

And another: The fissures in the conservative blogosphere over Terri Schiavo.

And another: Porkbusters.

Anyone who swallows the idea that conservative bloggers are an organized arm of the Republican machine who are easily mobilized at the command of Karl Rove does not read conservative blogs–and should not be paid by the NYTimes or anyone else to write about them.

But hey, since when did the NYTimes let ignorance get in the way of its “journalism.” Crowley goes on to conclude:

…what really makes conservatives effective is their pre-existing media infrastructure, composed of local and national talk-radio hosts like Rush Limbaugh, the Fox News Channel and sensationalist say-anything outlets like the Drudge Report – all of which are quick to pass on the latest tidbit from the blogosphere. “One blogger on the Republican side can have a real impact on a race because he can just plug right into the right-wing infrastructure that the Republicans have built,” Stoller says.

Yup, it’s that darned Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy, again.

Three syllables for you, Mr. Crowley: BWAH-HAH-HAH.

Hate to bother Mr. Crowley and his editors with some facts, but here’s Matt Drudge on blogs from a Sunday London Times interview in April 2005:

Back in the 1990s Drudge was a believer in the empowering potential of the internet. In a speech he said, “We have entered an era vibrating with the din of small voices. Every citizen can be a reporter, can take on the powers that be.”

Now he sounds disillusioned and says that the “din” is growing into a cacophony: “There’s a danger of the internet just becoming loud, ugly and boring with a thousand voices screaming for attention.” He is no fan of the blogging phenomenon (weblogs linking sites): “I don’t read them. I like to create waves and not surf them. And who are these influential bloggers? You can’t name one because they don’t exist.”

Blog links on the Drudge Report are extremely rare. Glenn Reynolds’ observation is right: “Drudge is, in fact, pretty aloof where the blogosphere is concerned.”


Citations of conservative bloggers’ work on Rush Limbaugh are increasing, but also very rare. And appearances by non-MSM bloggers on Fox News Channel are few and far between. (CNN has assigned reporters who cover blogs. MSNBC featured bloggers regularly on the recently canceled Connected: Coast to Coast. Fox has a few in-house blogs. But when I’m booked to appear, the majority of producers have no idea I have a blog–and I have good reason to believe that the same goes for most if not all of the network’s senior management. So much for VWRC collusion.)

Some of the most high-impact blogging by conservatives this year got little, if any, buzz in the conservative “media infrastructure.” Case in point: Ed Morrissey’s ground-breaking work on the Canadian Adscam scandal. And when conservative bloggers did organize for a single cause this year, it wasn’t to advance GOP interests. It was to raise money–more than 1,800 blogs raised more than $1.3 million–for Hurricane Katrina victims.

If sensationalist say-anything Crowley was trying to convey the impression of familiarity with the blogosphere and pay a back-handed compliment to conservative blogs, he failed miserably. There is a good piece to be written about the fascinating cacophony of conservative and liberal voices in the political blogosphere and their real/imagined impact on current affairs.

Crowley’s lousy piece of toilet paper sheet-sized opinionating was not it.


P.S. Did the NYTimes pay for Crowley’s brain dropping? How much? And what yahoo thought it was worth hyping in E&P?

(Republished from by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Immigration, Karl Rove, Maureen Dowd, Paul Krugman