A fortnight ago The Australian went into editorial meltdown as criticism of its spin on polling reached fever pitch.

Dennis Shanahan  was savaged by commenters on his own blog over an ill judged attempt to find some ray of hope for Howard in another disastrous Newspoll. Online media weighed in, and The Oz , tagged The Government Gazette by some bloggers, responded with a piece from Newspoll head honcho Martin O’Shannessy and then spectacularly followed up its wounded self defence by going all the way onto the front foot with a truly bizarre editorial.

It was clear that the News flagship didn’t take kindly to having its judgement questioned by alternative media – the first time this has happened during an election year.

The Australian ’s war against the blogosphere has faded into history, but as Phil Gomes writes at Larvatus Prodeo, bloggers have long memories. The pages of  The Oz  might be fodder for fish and chips wrappers or wending their way through a recycling chain, but the effects of this extraordinary media event a couple of weeks ago continue to be felt.

The most extraordinary aspect of the Shanahan/Mitchell reaction to the critical reaction from Crikey and the psephological blogosphere — to their thesis of a preferred PM effect — was the near admission that The Australian ’s coverage of polls and political commentary had as its real goal the influencing of morale and opinion within the Canberra beltway, in particular on leadership calculations within the major parties. Dennis Shanahan now appears to have dropped a lot of the spin in his commentary on the latest Newspoll, but the paper is still holding back the (non-existent) Costello hordes at the gate.

Meanwhile, Tim Dunlop, whose Blogocracy post at the news.com.au portal on the paper’s commentary was spiked by management, is still yet to inform his readers of his discussions with News about content and independence, despite telling Crikey over a week ago to “watch the Blogocracy space”.

And The Australian ’s website redesign has made its op/ed content more difficult to access online, with comments on its writers’ blogs regularly closed off. Moreover the blogs highlighted on the new web interface, and the frequency of their appearance, appear to have declined significantly.

So much for proprietor Rupert Murdoch’s Web 2.0 revolution?

It would seem sensible to conclude that despite Chris Mitchell’s threat to “go” bloggers and Crikey, the only casualty of this affair has been at News itself.