Beware PR Men Bearing Gifts

The Panglossian wisdom is that the web allows access to new sources of information and blogs, tweeters and online journals will replace the old newsrooms. But the pinpricks tiny sites can inflict on a target do not begin to match the cudgel blows the mass media of the 20th century could deliver. Of course, an oligarch or leader of a dictatorial regime would prefer that no criticism appeared anywhere. But he can rest easy if the criticisms are hidden in obscure corners of the web and do not enter the mainstream. The PR with the resources of a state or oligarch behind him is there to maintain a cordon sanitaire.

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