The fall and rise of news
Seriously, there's been a revolution going on in news gathering for some time. I haven't watched TV in over 15 years and I've never felt I was missing anything. My city's main daily paper seems to have some sports thing on the front page every other day, even when there's real news going on.
When the Iranian uprising broke, Andrew Sullivan and Iranian bloggers had minute-by-minute reports based on Twitter feeds from the scene as it was happening, while the MSM blithered on about tomato-throwing contests and Michael Jackson.
Bloggers like Michael Totten and Michael Yon have been reporting from the Middle East for years with a depth that the MSM seldom matched and never surpassed.
The MSM are becoming shallow and unserious, but that doesn't mean we can't find news if we really want it.
I think the question is, do our present resources do any worse of a job than what we had before with "professional" news?
It turns out that the MSM themselves have often had an agenda which subtly slanted their reporting, even though they claimed to strictly separate editorial content from reporting and supposedly kept their biases out of the latter. With the rise of blogs, it became possible to detect this and expose it with a speed and verifiability which had not been possible before -- see Rathergate, for example.
In the case of the Iranian uprising, everyone recognized that the Twitter reports from people on the ground were tentative and that any individual report might be inaccurate (the theocracy itself even created fake Twitter sources and fake reports). Nevertheless, thousands of people were giving eyewitness reports of the same events, and there were many different blogs reporting the same incidents; any attempt at distortion by the bloggers would have been immediately obvious. A person reading Andrew Sullivan and Saeed Valadbaygi would have had a much better sense of what was really going on than a person relying on MSM coverage of the same uprising.
We no longer have a few gatekeepers who decide what's news. We have millions of people reporting and passing along what interests them. Distortions are caught quickly. Within hours of Palin talking about "death panels", for example, bloggers had confirmed that there was no such thing in the actual bill, and provided links so readers could see for themselves.
Some people refuse to acknowledge when something which they accepted is disproven, and just continue to believe whatever fits their own prejudices -- but that has always been true.
Reporting has always had biases that distorted the news we got. I prefer to have those biases acknowledged upfront, as bloggers do, and to have the constant crosschecking that goes on now to expose misinformation.