The fact that Hillary Clinton has had to put up a web site for rebuttals of stories that are unflattering to her on the internet speaks of the power of blogs. For good or ill, we bloggers can now have a very real influence on the news that Americans read.
In a positive light, it means that stories that might otherwise get buried are now being brought into the spotlight. As the last few years have shown, it is much harder for politicians and other public figures to engage in corrupt activities or take sides with extremists or special interest groups. Not a lot of room for wiggle when millions of people watch your every move 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
But in a more negative light, it also means that those who are dishonest--like the waitress who lied and claimed that Hillary did not tip her--can also have an impact on the news. This is the Achilles heel of the blogs--and why those who are serious about providing their readers with good, factual, honest opinion and content need to be wary of these sorts of people--and why we should make a point of exposing them at every turn--even if what they have to say jibes with our own opinions and viewpoints on a given issue or public figure.
If the public starts seeing the blogosphere in the same way they see supermarket tabloids like The National Enquirer, then our ability to effect political change will be nullified. At best, we will be seen as a bunch of entertaining blowhards. At worst, people will stop reading blogs altogether if they feel they can't trust what we have to say.