Read this piece by Daniel Henninger in today's Opinion Journal. Instead of simply bashing the old mainstream news media (a sport that I admit to enjoying myself from time to time), Henninger offers a non-partisan view of the state of today's news media and asks some important questions about where we go from here. Some excerpts:
In fact, it's too bad this abdication [of authority and credibility by the old news media] has occurred just as political opinions have become overheated by the kind of electronic technology deployed in the 2004 election. We really could use some neutral ground, a space one could enter without having to suspect that "what we know" about X or Y was being manipulated. The problem with being spun day after day by newspapers or newscasts is that it gets tiresome, no matter your politics. You end up having to Google every subject in the news (Guantanamo, gay marriage statutes, Tora Bora, the Patriot Act) to find out what's been left out or buried at the bottom.
. . .
The real winners here are the politicians. Pig heaven for them. If much of the public (a margin large enough to decide elections) believes it no longer has access to a settled information baseline, an agreed-upon set of facts, then it's so much easier for the pols, using this new arsenal of high-tech info firepower, to manipulate a doubtful public and push it around with propaganda (they can demographically target ads to the TV screens in health clubs).
As we say here in the blogosphere, read the whole thing.