When the dangers of smoking first became widely known, cigarette companies secretly hired biomedical scientists to create confusion.
"Here's a recipe for academic controversy," observes Richard C. Paddock: "First, find dozens of hard-core teenage smokers as young as 14 and study their brains with high-tech scans. Second, feed vervet monkeys liquid nicotine and then kill at least six of them to examine their brains. Third, accept $6 million from tobacco giant Philip Morris to pay for it all.
The Meijer retail chain has issued a public apology, admitting that it "likely violated campaign finance and reporting laws" and pledging to "comply with any and all direction, penalties, fines or other actions required by the Department of State" in connection with its covert effort to manipulate elections in Acme Township, Michigan, where local officials opposed its
"The American public deserves to know when someone is trying to persuade them." — U.S. Federal Communications Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein, Thursday, January 17, 2008
Front Groups Beware of Full Frontal Scrutiny
Today, the Center for Media and Democracy and our partners at Consumer Reports WebWatch launched an exciting new project: Full Frontal Scrutiny. The site seeks to shine a light on front groups -- organizations that state a particular agenda, while hiding or obscuring their identity, membership or sponsorship, or all three. Google the term "front groups" and the number one return is CMD's extensive articles on its SourceWatch site.
Actress Suzanne Pleshette's recent death from "respiratory distress" was sad. Most of the articles about it briefly mention that she had been fighting lung cancer, but fail to mention that she had been a cigarette smoker in the past. Cigarette smoking is the single biggest cause of lung cancer.
It is rarely discussed, but tobacco has taken an extraordinarily heavy toll on Hollywood. The list of beloved celebrities killed by smokers' diseases is huge, and growing: George Harrison, Johnny Carson, Dana Reeve, Yul Brynner, Lucille Ball, Walt Disney, Nat King Cole, Joe DiMaggio, Michael Landon, Sammy Davis, Jr., Dean Martin, Betty Grable, and Babe Ruth to name just a few. Despite this, the failure to mention a person's smoking history in obituary columns is the norm in celebrity deaths. In just one glaring example, a four page obituary about the 2005 death of prominent news anchor Peter Jennings published by his own network, ABC, fails to mention the contribution that smoking made to Jennings' tragic and untimely death. A CNN's column about Jennings' death didn't mention it either. Something is up when major news organizations omit any mention the single most prominent cause of the death of a renowned news anchor.
The pharmaceutical companies Merck and Schering-Plough, which co-market the cholesterol drug Vytorin, "have gone into damage-control mode, taking out newspaper ads." The PR campaign follows the companies' reluctant publication of a study showing that neither of the drugs present in Vytorin "reduced the buildup of fatty plaque in arteries." The study "