As for your question, what do we do about it?
How about writing?
There is this misconception that the media has all of this power, and those who are in the news, and get the best press always win. Where the hell did that come from, anyway? Clinton got worse press than anyone in history, and ended up with approval ratings in the 60s. His approval ratings were higher, for longer, than Reagan's. Gore ran a lousy campaign, and got incredibly bad press, and yet he got more votes than Shrub, and only lost the presidency because Jeb Bush and his mistress, Katherine Harris fixed it for him, and the Supreme Court backed them up. CHECK OUT MILT'S "LIBERAL STRATEGIES" YAHOOGROUP
Most people do NOT read newspapers. Most people do NOT watch CNN. Most people do NOT listen to talk radio. At his peak, Limbaugh claimed 20 million listeners. That means 250 million people did NOT listen to him. You have to keep things in perspective. People like you and I do not swing elections. The people who swing elections are people who are into this casually, and only pay attention occasionally. If you mentioned the name, Marc Rich, to 100 swing voters, 75-80 of them would have no idea who he was. Even with all of this bad press, Clinton is still looked on favorably by about 45% of people, and that number will rise, as time goes by, and REAL explanations come out. So, here's how you "combat" all of this:
-- Write your Congressperson; make sure he or she knows our name, and keep a regular correspondence. -- Write letters to the Editor as often as possible. Sure, they won't print all of them. But they will print a lot of them, especially if a lot of us who are dissatisfied with the press start harping on them.
-- Actively boycott those advertisers who sponsor the worst programs and newspapers. I, for example, have written to several companies who advertised prominently in the Washington Times, and had a couple of dozen signatures, and told them that I would never set foot in their store, until they removed their ads.
-- Make your voice heard, and stop ceding support to the right wing. It truly makes the right's day, when we split apart and vote for people like Ralph Nader. Get back into the Democratic Party, and demand your say. If they're too far right, move them left. If they're acquiescing to Shrub too often, then back a candidate to run against them in the primaries. Shake things up.
None of this is easy. But the left, and the Democratic Party, once taught the right how to do what they're doing now. We need to relearn our own strategy.