I definitely have to agree that without the contributions from independent media in the 2008 (and 2012) election, the results may have been drastically different. I do have to say, I was less politically in tune in 2008. Social media has fully blossomed by then, but I'm pretty sure I was still on MySpace.
Though I still followed the election, I was not the news junkie I am today. I never knew about all of these contributing factors in the 2008 election, like the one you mention. However, now that things have obviously changed and I have been exposed to independent media, I'm grateful it's out there. Before, I merely thought Obama won the election because of his fresh perspective, diversity and social media presence. And I really didn't even know Drudge Report was a thing until a few years ago.
Independent media's presence has become a game changer in political races, elections and news in general. Without the Mitt Romney 47% video from Mother Jones, would Obama have won re-election in 2012? But the title for this article remains true- independent media is the real winner.