"democracy relies on the informed voter"
yeah, get informed by mainstream media - totally does wonders to democracy. did work hefty fine in itally where the former head of state owned a large slice of tv/newspaper. by coincidence he was voted on and on and on. same for some african countries. democracy export country no1 - USA - has just exchanged the single person who controls the media with a network of controllers. so dumb voters will not notice that they are manipulated. "they said it twice on different tv channels, so it must be true". don't know if the US got that from the Germans or the other way around cause they got the same system.
And even that system could be applied to HN, too. Just have 10 friends submit, upvote and comment on the latest and greatest technology/company. Readers that just get themselves informed through HN must think that gazillions of people now love and use this technology.
Long story short: Do not just consume news. Always ask why you should believe what you just read and who will benefit from you believing that. Now knowing that, ask yourself: What is your benefit from that news again?