IBM views media relations as a form of advertising. If they’ve got some breakthrough in the labs, or some new product they’re hoping to hype, they’ll hand-pick a publication or two and tee up a story. They tell you what the story is; they set the agenda; they tell you which people at IBM you’re going to interview, and when; and every IBMer who gets interviewed has been scripted and rehearsed to death before you sit down with them. Nobody strays off message. Every interview is tape-recorded by IBM PR flacks. Those flacks write up a summary of every interview. That info gets used to prepare the subjects for the next interviews. If you’ve ever wondered why almost every story about IBM feels canned and pre-fabricated, that’s because it is.