I still prefer to believe that they're paranoid enough to consider the
need for it, but shrewd enough to not actually try to execute it. After
all, if even a single person who was approached to be paid off for this
turned on you, the negative publicity would WAY outcast the positive. I
have too much respect for my opposite numbers to believe that they'd
take that risk. Why should they, if BG is still excessively popular?
Still, if I'm proved wrong, I won't exactly shed any tears...
Today's Papers From Slate Magazine (<http://www.slate.com)
Too Public Relations
By Scott Shuger
...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?).