The system of checks and balances extends fairly broadly. Not only do the various branches of government have checks, but we rely on a free and unfettered press (and by extension, all media) to inform the citizenry, who can both elect appropriate representatives and hold lawlessness to account. Without editorial freedom, without a free press, corruption is allowed free reign and democracy becomes tyranny. Anyone who wants to see the result of a corruption of the press only needs to see Nazi Germany or Soviet USSR for an example. Today, editorial freedom appears to have taken a hard left turn. There are few National papers and tv networks that are not dominated by the Democratic party. They swallow a camel of evils on the left, and strain at a gnat on the right. Without a balance of viewpoints, Eric Holder's malfeasance at Attorney General would not have been exposed. So, we are dependent on partisan news now, as a result of a lack of balance in newsroom nationwide. The people of America are not well served by such partisanship.
There is a difference between what goes on in government and what is written in the papers. The news reported in the papers rarely changes what goes on in government or in the country. For instance, if the government decided to displace some people from their homes to pave way for some project, very little would change even if all papers were to run the story and complain.