If you really want to get depressed about democracy in the U.S., take a look at Reid Wilson's summary of "The precipitous decline of state political coverage." We've known that state and local news was the big loser in the new media landscape. But still, the Pew Research Center has a study showing that "the number of full-time reporters covering state legislatures for daily newspapers has declined 35 percent."
The conclusion is pretty straightforward: No one is keeping an eye on government in most states. As Wilson details, there simply aren't enough reporters to go around. So instead of the press digging up what the public needs to know, most of what's reported is spin produced by politicians and interest groups, often by people who used to be reporters.