Obviously the free flow of information is essential to a Democracy, and at least in the early day of the riting press just after Gutenberg invented the thing, leaflets and flyers for alternative viewpoints started popping up all over the place. Martin Luther of course used Gutenberg's invention to undermine the Catholic Church. The Pope was a little slow to catch on in terms of controlling that medium.
By the time the USA was founded, Newspapers were no longer merely an infomation medium, they were a BUSINESS. Advertising and the corruption of the Profit Motive infiltrated quickly, and certainly Willam Randolf Hearst was the Rupert Murdoch of his day, and really only sporadically has there been proper reporting in the MSM, of whatever time period. It all gets spun out, one side is played against the other and the arguments ensue, and MOST things come out around 50-50, for every argument I make Ludi or Mos will come up with a counter to it. There is ALWAYS somebody out there who wil naysay an argument. So really, those in control fo the media do not have to control EVERYBODY, all they really have to do in a democratic society is manipulate the numbers at the margins. You saw this most clearly in the election of GWB the first time, when Gore won the popular vote but TPTB messed with the Florida results and got Georgie in.
Modern media in the form of TV news is so ridiculously juvenile and skewed its almost not worth discussing, except for the fact its the major source of information for most of the idiots out there. The internet gives you the ILLUSION of a free flow of information, but of course it is not either. Google searches bring up only what Google tells them to bring up, I have many times known the direct address of an alternative news site which NEVER comes up on a Google search, no matter how closely you match the search terms.
The local Newspaper generally is the only source you have for things going on in your community, but of course the internet is pushing them out of business, and since peopel generally do not read much anymore, they cannot even go online with a paperless version of the product to stay PROFITABLE. How profitable is PeakOil.com anyhow? I bet its funded mostly out of the pockets of those who set up this site. Maybe the ad revenue contributes something. I highly doubt its a big money maker though, and the Reporters here all work for NOTHING.
If you accept the idea that with the breakdown of the monetary system the profitability of the internet goes down the toilet, just WHERE will you get any information? From the TV? From Rush Limbaugh on the Radio?
Newsprint no doubt cuts down a lot of trees, and as the population exploded, printing so many copies on paper definitely is and was a bad thing for the environment. However, so is running power plants to run all the servers and all the home computers. Getting information out takes ENERGY, no matter how you go about it. In a profit driven society, energy takes MONEY, and so the information is controlled by those who control the energy.
In the spin down here, all sources of information are taking a hit. This is one of the main reasons I forsee a breakup fo the One to the Many. Its impossible to maintain any cohesive system without good information flow, and that is another system here falling apart, at all levels. The most IMPORTANT one right now is probably your Local Information source. Possibly one of the best things you could do in terms of Planning for the Future and being active would be to encourage the development of a wide area network for your community OFF the internet, powered by its own servers with its own source of electricity. Without that, getting the information out to even your local communtiy when things get bad will be tough. Your Local Newspaper won't do the job, that is for sure. Like everyone else, they will be Out of Bizness.