It's not just Microsoft's pr people who terrorize journalists. Other vendors do it, too. A billion-dollar-a-year corporation threatening a law suit is a great way to shut up a journalist. It's been done to me.
Tom Yager of Infoworld documented how Apple recently sent him their terriers to adjust his incorrect thinking. Here are some of the tactics used on him:
"... they felt I had given a year-old story a fresh coat of paint..."
The terriers try to spin the story as an old one. Other versions I've heard include "Let's move forward", "That's not relevant today," and "Our users are more concerned about..."
"...sensationalized it for an audience that wasn't affected by it."
The terriers try to persuade the journalist that the item isn't worth the ink he's wasting. Variations include "Our customers tell us that what they are really concerned about is..." and "A recent poll from a leading research firm tells us that..."
"Has anybody ever written to you about this?"
The terriers try to isolate the journalist by implying it's just his own hobby horse. Variations that Apple used on Yager included:
* The subset I described is only a "fraction of a fraction" of the geeks who are my regular readers.
* Issues that matter to so few, and to me, shouldn't be projected to a larger audience in 48-point type.
He sums it up this way: "...lots of people ... understand why breaking a promise, and saying nothing about it, matters. It’s not about code. It’s about character."