The planting of articles, letters to the editor and opinion pieces.
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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Mon, 13 Apr 98 13:19:56 -0700
Subject: The planting of articles, letters to the editor and opinion pieces.
Forwarded-by: Nev Dull <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Stung by the public relations fallout from antitrust
investigations of its business practices, Microsoft Corp. has
secretly been planning a massive media campaign designed to
influence state investigators by creating the appearance of a
groundswell of public support for the company.
"The elaborate plan, outlined in confidential documents obtained
by The Times, hinges on a number of unusual -- and some say
unethical -- tactics, including the planting of articles, letters
to the editor and opinion pieces to be commissioned by Microsoft's
top media handlers but presented by local firms as spontaneous
Today's "Today's Papers" page in Slate:
A big LAT front-page piece reveals that Microsoft has been secretly
planning a massive media campaign that, the paper says, was designed to
influence state investigators contemplating further anti-trust action by
"creating the appearance of a groundswell of public support" for the
company. The plan included "the planting of articles, letters to the
editor and opinion pieces" to be commissioned by Microsoft but presented
as spontaneous local offerings about "how wonderful it is to do business
with Microsoft." When the paper first asked Microsoft spokesman Greg Shaw
about this yesterday, Shaw said he was unaware of such a plan. But Shaw's
name is on some of the confidential company documents in the LAT's
possession and he later acknowledged the PR plan but said it was "merely
a proposal." The ad campaign per se does not trouble "Today's Papers,"
but the idea of planting stories disguised as independent efforts does.
"TP" hopes that the independent stance of the previous sentence is not
thought by readers to in fact be part of a coordinated company effort to
simulate independence (GREG -- Was this what you wanted here?).
Excerpted: Communications-related Headlines for 4/13/98
Forwarded-by: Kevin Taglang <kevint@BENTON.ORG>
Title: Microsoft Is on Defensive Over Media Strategy
Source: Wall Street Journal (B8)
Author: David Bank & John Simons
Description: Microsoft has been on the defensive since Friday, when reports
surfaced of a proposal by Microsoft's PR firm in Washington to generate
favorable news articles, op-ed pieces and letters to the editor in many of
the states where Microsoft is under investigation by state attorneys general
for possible antitrust violations. Microsoft spokesman Greg Shaw called the
spate of publicity about the media plan "unfortunate" and acknowledged that
it could undercut the impact of testimonials to the company by casting doubt
on their authenticity. "It's an unintended consequence," he said.
(c)Benton Foundation, 1998. Redistribution of this email publication --
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© 1998 Peter Langston