In this, The Times is trying to marginalize blogs -- making them look like the domain of nuts -- without realizing that they are only marginalizing their own readers. See this weekend's Pew study: The people are reading blogs. And I'll just bet that Times readers read blogs disproportionately.
I could be wrong, but I smell the fine hand of a grizzled, old, grouchy, change-hating editor in this. When a story is mangled in such a way, when the facts in the story don't back up the spin of the headline and lead, that's often the case, from my experience: An editor sent a reporter out to create a story with a prefab spin and didn't want to be bothered with the actual reporting that came back.