For the most part, when Google updates it's algorithm it's a million little webmasters that hunker down and discuss it in forums such as webmasterworld. They talk back and forth and try to understand the changes. When an algorithm change goes against you, it can mean that you lose a substantial portion of your income.
Public companies like About.com - owned by the NY Times, and Answers.com have a huge dependency on Google traffic as well. Last week Google tweaked it's algorithm and just like that, Answers is down 28%. Ouch. Also, last week Associated Content announced a $10 Million round of funding for a site that lives on Google traffic. Venture Beat calls it a bold strategy. And, just to be clear, Google is by far the biggest source of traffic for HubPages.
When it's a million little webmasters that feel this pain it goes fairly unnoticed in the main stream press. When it's a big company that screams it could be different. It may also be different because Google has the ability to change the value of a public company with a very small tweak. Answers.com is down 11% today. Think it has another 17% to go?