Media: Press Hits
Thanks to Slashdot, I found an article on how PR firms seed the media with stories. When they succeed, it's called a "press hit", and it's better than any ad. Fascinating stuff.
Remember the exercises in critical reading you did in school, where you had to look at a piece of writing and step back and ask whether the author was telling the whole truth? If you really want to be a critical reader, it turns out you have to step back one step further, and ask not just whether the author is telling the truth, but why he's writing about this subject at all.