“When Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt negotiated with People and other celebrity magazines this summer for photos of their newborn twins and an interview,” said Brooks Barnes in The New York Times, it wasn’t just an estimated $14 million that they wanted: Ms. Jolie asked for “a hefty slice of journalistic input—a promise that the winning magazine’s coverage would be positive, not merely in that instance but into the future.”

It is kind of interesting, said Perez Hilton, that Jolie “was once known for making out with her brother, wearing blood around her neck, and confessing to pre-red carpet limo shenanigans.” Now she seems to be thought of as “a sparkling goddess of maternity and philanthropy.” If this is a result of “careful media manipulation,” it’s not surprising—but it could also be looked at as a shrewd business move.

“Celebrities like Jolie get admiration for such effective flacking,” said Ryan Tate in Gawker, “which in this case worked not only on People but Us Weekly and others.” But the publications come off looking “more and more like publicity brochures crafted by the celebrities they cover, and increasingly undifferentiated from the morass of celebrity coverage online.”