The Economist has an article in this week's edition headlined "Dropping the Anchorman" about the effect of the blogs in this election year. Relevant graf:
All through the recent election campaign, the new media outsmarted the old media when it came to setting the news agenda. Republican strategists admit that the Swift Boat veterans' attacks on John Kerry, largely ignored by the old media, would never have got anywhere without the online Drudge Report. Drudge was also instrumental in turning the “60 Minutes” story into an embarrassment for the Democrats, not Mr Bush. Local bloggers also had an effect; in South Dakota, for instance, they repeatedly highlighted Tom Daschle's partisan record in Washington, DC, something that the Democratic Senate majority leader's friends in the local print media had never laboured to expose.
Not only nationally oriented blogs have an influence. In South Dakota, local blogs took on Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle in his reelection bid. Their scrutiny of his record and their championing the cause of his opponent, Republican John Thune, made him the second Senate leader to be brought down by bloggers.