Google actually can help drive traffic to a website, especially a news site, where those who want to read more, can find it easier. Digg can help boost traffic as well, as long as the complete article is not used without permission/attribution by either source (or Twitter and Facebook too for that matter).
Google has actually helped people find my blogs, that to me is not theft of content, I've had that happen where some asshat takes complete posts from my blogs, posts it on their site without even as much as a link indicating where it came from. I view "content kleptomaniacs" as some of my local media that takes material directly from my one local blog, with rarely a mention, you are lucky to get a "I read this on some blog" -- so when I read things like this?
Murdoch and his lieutenants have begun their assault with a barrage of vitriol, most of it directed at Google. “Should we be allowing Google to steal all our copyrights?” he asked a gathering of publishers last year. In November, Murdoch laid out his opposition to the Federal Trade Commission in Washington, which is looking into the fate of the newspaper business. “There are those who think they have a right to take our news content and use it for their own purposes without contributing a penny to its production,” he said. “They are feeding off the hard-earned efforts and investments of others. And their almost wholesale misappropriation of our stories is not ‘fair use.’ To be impolite, it’s theft.” Other News Corp. executives have been even more scathing. Robert Thomson, for instance, the editor-in-chief of the Wall Street Journal, has called Google and news aggregators “parasites or tech tapeworms in the intestines of the Internet.”
I wonder why doesn't Google just drop these news sources complete from their search engines and their readers. That way it will be clearly evident how much traffic is lost...Google had no problem destroying years of hard work to develop page ranks, they should easily be able to drop the newsfeeds of these companies.