Was Wired‘s Anderson Spun By Microsoft?

A couple months ago, Wired editor and Long Tail author Chris Anderson was touting a new approach that involved something he called “radical transparency” — sharing secrets with rivals, blogging about unfinished products, admitting failure — in his words, “Wikifying everything.”

Now that Wired‘s “radical transparency” issue is out, Anderson is admitting that he might’ve been spun by Microsoft in an article about the company’s blogging initiative.

Anderson posted a 6,000-word memo inadvertently leaked by Microsoft’s PR firm, Waggener Edstrom, in which executives are coached on how to stay on message, and recounts how they were able to woo him into publishing the article.

“As far as I can tell, everything in the memo is accurate,” Anderson says. “I also think the executives were very well served by the document; they did indeed stick to their message and they got pretty much the story they wanted. This was also, as it happens, the story I wanted — or was it just the story I thought I wanted because I was so effectively spun by Microsoft’s PR machine?”

Waggener Edstrom’s Frank Shaw defends the memo:

“Seriously, in this case, the interests of a journalist and PR are totally aligned — a great interview is always the best possible outcome. And that doesn’t mean an interview where a spokesperson endlessly repeats key messages — that’s a loss. It’s an interview where the person is prepared to talk, has the relevant data at hand, understands the story premise and his/her role, and doesn’t waste time going over the same territory as a previous interview.”


  • Wired Editor Wants To Apply Long Tail’s Transparency To Wired: ‘Let’s Wikify Everything’