This past weekend, the New York Times Magazine published a piece by The New Republic’s Michael Crowley titled “Conservative Blogs are More Effective,” that compared the relative efficacy of conservative and liberal bloggers.


“Democrats say there’s a key difference between liberals and conservatives online,” wrote Crowley. “Liberals use the Web to air ideas and vent grievances with one another, often ripping into Democratic leaders. (Hillary Clinton, for instance, is routinely vilified on liberal Web sites for supporting the Iraq war.) Conservatives, by contrast, skillfully use the Web to provide maximum benefit for their issues and candidates.”


In the aftermath of the story, conservatives “skillfully used the Web” for something else — specifically, bashing Crowley for having the effrontery to accuse them of being either skillful or effective. (Had the hapless Crowley only asked us, we veterans of The Blog Report could have predicted as much; in these contentious times, it’s getting harder and harder to find a cyberdog who won’t try to bite off your hand at the wrist if you try to pet his head.)


Thus, Michelle Malkin’s viperous response to Crowley: “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,” she noted. “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. Yup, it’s that darned Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy, again. Three syllables for you, Mr. Crowley: BWAH-HAH-HAH.”


In the meantime, Peakah’s Provocations added a few more syllables. “Much along the lines of the post I wrote a couple days ago, Michelle Malkin exposes the blatant attack on Conservative Blogs that the NYT has ignorantly waged,” writes Peakah’s Provocations. “I happen to believe that the good bloggers who pay attention and scrutinize multiple mainstream media outlets, and who are not afraid to comment and provide depth into their stories, have won the hearts and minds of the introspective and educated American.”


“No longer are mainstream media journalists considered the Elite,” added Peakah’s Provocation. “They have been put into check by the Pajama media brigade of Web sites that are checked daily for alternative debate.” Speaking of alternative debate, other bloggers took issue with both Crowley and Malkin. “Michelle Malkin calls Crowley’s piece ‘one of most insipid, shallow, and uninformed wastes of space to grace the NYTimes’ pages’” noted the Moderate Voice. “She’s right that there may be some diversity within the right-wing blogosphere, as evidenced most obviously by the Schiavo and Miers stories earlier this year, but there does seem to be a good deal of uniformity over there, too, and I would venture to suggest that there is far more diversity on the left, among liberals, than on the right, among conservatives.”


Enter the less-moderate voice of Atrios. “In a sense conservative blogs are more effective because both the massive right wing media and the mainstream media…. are willing to pick up and retransmit their bullshit,” noted Atrios. “So, the right wing wankosphere are yet another cog in the massive right wing media operation, and in accordance with the self-similarity of the wingnut function, basically identical in all but scale.”


“But the liberal blogosphere is a much greater value added for our side because we have such a shitty media infrastructure,” added Atrios. “If all the wingnut blogs disappeared tomorrow it really wouldn’t have any impact on the national discourse. Sure they’re there and the Right is better at using them but they don’t really *need* them. They have plenty of other ways to launder their horseshit.”


All of which failed to convince the Hammer of Truth of any real difference between conservative and liberal bloggers. “Not surprisingly, [Crowley’s article] sent Michelle Malkin into apoplectic spasms,” wrote the Hammer of Truth. “Libertarian bloggers intuitively understand that there ain’t a dimes worth of difference between Elephants and Donkeys in the first place.”

Felix Gillette writes about the media for The New York Observer.