They keep using that phrase. I do not think it means what they think it means.
Five Villagers, comfortably ensconced within the Beltway Bubble and the DC Cocktail Circuit, sit around and discuss how "new media" has changed modern politics.
Showing themselves to be on the pulse of what's happening right now, they look the 2003 smearing of John Kerry by Swiftboaters and the astroturfed uprising of the town halls prior over the summer before the ACA vote. And they point to YouTube (?) and viral videos as the stuff that changed the world. But really, who played the Swiftboat ads ad nauseam to an audience perhaps not inclined to get their news from the internet (who gets their news from YouTube, for crying out loud?)? It was the mainstream media on the content-starved 24 hour news channels who played those videos and played right into the hands of these insidious partisan astroturf groups. It was Drudge and his rumors that ruled the mainstream airwaves.
Sarah Palin did serious damage to Obama's health care reform? No...the mainstream media that lapped up every ghostwritten Facebook entry and breathlessly repeated them verbatim did damage...and even then, polls showed that most Americans wanted even more than the ACA offered. The whole concept of "death panels" SHOULD have been laughed off by any responsible media outlet, but instead was left for the "new media" on the left to push back against.
Katty Kay tries to give all the Villagers an out, by claiming that these videos reflected the zeitgeist of the American people...but did they? At best, they reflected the zeitgeist of a very, very small percentage of American millionaires and corporations.
I think there are very cogent arguments that new media has changed American politics. But it's also very clear that the old guard of the mainstream media is completely behind the curve on how and why.