Bloggers helped me a lot when, to my horror, I watched as the mainstream media went about trashing Al Gore during the 2000 election cycle. I could hardly believe what I was reading and watching on TV.
I blame Al Gore's loss of the presidency on the MSM. Journalists had stopped doing their traditional job, which is to report. Instead, they were ganging up en masse on the Democratic candidate, weaving Republican talking points into their reportage (which Gore himself objected to). Till then, I'd always had at least a modicum of faith in the MSM.
(Nevertheless, Al Gore went to win the popular election. Now he's going to get an Oscar and a Nobel Peace Prize, while George Bush is going down on record as the worst president in U.S. history.)
Something really wrong has happened in journalism: A widespread dereliction of journalists' responsibility to the public. "The Daily Howler" helped me understand that. And also "Media Whores Online" (which unfortunately no longer exists).
It's great to see people writing here with a conscience ("moral clarity"* ?) and a desire to get to the heart of matters. I think that's exactly what the founders had in mind when they preserved "the freedom of speech, or of the press" in the Bill of Rights to the Constitution.
* A Neoconservative term of art.