Last Week Tonight on Tobacco: A Reminder

February 18, 2015

As I’ve been mentioning – this blog is beating the drum leading up to the release of “Merchants of Doubt”, the film version of Naomi Oreskes and Eric Conway’s book, which makes the link between the climate denial movement, and a broader attack on science that was perfected in large part by the tobacco industry.  I believe this movie will be “An Inconvenient Truth” for this decade.

All of the so-called ‘think” tanks that have been primary vectors for disinformation about climate change, cut their teeth carrying water for the tobacco industry. Yes, they are that venal, and that evil.

MODsmallWhich is what makes this post perfectly on-topic – John Oliver’s epic expose of what the tobacco industry has been doing to make up for the decline in smoking in the US – bully third world countries into accepting hideously destructive marketing campaigns which will all but guarantee enormous  epidemics of heart, lung, and vascular disease in coming decades, – on top of the ever-mounting costs from climate change that their devil-spawn anti-science campaigners have set in motion.
You really have to wonder if there is any punishment that can even begin to fit the scale and scope of the crimes here.

Oliver’s target, the Phillip Morris company, has long been a supporter of climate denial specialists The Heartland Institute.
I’ve posted in the past on Heartland CEO Joe Bast’s bootlicking appeal for cash to the tobacco giant, proudly recounting Heartland’s tireless effort on their behalf:

The letter is from Bast to Roy Marden, a Phillip Morris executive, and member of the Heartland board. Marden had apparently invited Bast to solicit further funds from the tobacco giant.

Dear Roy:

Thank you for inviting me to request renewed general operating support for The Heartland Institute for 1999.1 note that Philip Morris contributed $5,000 last August (for a Gold Table at our annual benefit) and $25,000 in October (general operating support). It also has allowed you to serve on our Board of Directors, which has produced many positive results for the entire organization.

The letter goes on to extoll Heartland’s tireless efforts to assist the tobacco industry in their sale of death dealing, addictive substances to children and adults around the planet.

Because Heartland does many things that benefit Philip Morris’ bottom line, things that no other organization does, I hope you will consider boosting your general operating support this year to $30,000 and once again reserve a Gold Table for an additional $5,000.

We genuinely need your financialsupport. Maybe by the end of this letter you’ll agree that we merit even greater support; I certainly hope so!

Bast continues, enumerating various components of their disinformation campaign on behalf of tobacco.

Heartland has devoted considerable attention to defending tobacco (and other industries) from what I view as being an unjust campaign of public demonization and legal harassment. We’re an important voice defending smokers and their freedom to use a still-legal product.

Heartland CEO Joe Bast and friend


The Heartlander, our monthly newsletter for members, has called attention to the dangerous legal precedents and discriminatory taxes that are part of the campaign against tobacco in cover essays appearing in the October, November, and June issues.

Recent and past Heartland publications on tobacco, including a Heartland Policy Study and several Perspectives, and the 21 documents on the subject available fromPoIicyFax, are all available on Heartland’s Web site. Particularly popular are two of my essays, titled “Five Lies About Tobacco” and “Joe Camel is Innocent.”


10 Responses to “Last Week Tonight on Tobacco: A Reminder”

  1. anotheralionel Says:

    I suspect you already know about this but, H/T John Mashey, Robert Proctor’s ‘Golden Holocaust’ is a worthwhile read for those interested in the details.

    Requiem for Marlboro Man:

  2. Andy Lee Robinson Says:

    Brilliant, and terrifying.
    Just what I needed to help me give up, not just for health reasons, but the thought of lining their pockets is just as bad!

  3. climatebob Says:

    By delaying action on tobacco reform they probably only killed 30 or 40 million people but climate change is a much bigger deal. When people are starving and displaced from their homes they start moving and this sparks civil unrest, just like Syria and Iraq today. Everyone on the planet will be affected and even rich Americans will suffer.

  4. anotheralionel Says:

    Golden Holocaust describes many of the devious mechanisms by which big tobacco ensures addictive properties for their products with freebasing being one worth examining.

    That commercial companies are able to fiscally bully countries is abhorrent and needs concerted action for pushback. I’ll bet the flies on the wall at COPxx meetings will know what gives here.

    But, what is really scary is that if TTIP succeeds then few are going to be safe from commercial pressure, with those attempting to engage in green energy and environmental safeguards. I get your point climatebob but it seems that the true axis of evil is aiming at ensuring most are powerless to achieve an equitable future.

    With TISA (Trade in Services Agreement) adding a turn to the screw.

  5. Friends, you can repeat the ‘paid tobacco shills / paid oil & coal shills’ until the cows come home, but it will never fly among critical thinkers unless one of you-all can dredge up actual evidence that will stand in a courtroom evidentiary hearing proving skeptic climate scientists held a proper ‘truthful’ view of catastrophic global warming but were persuaded by handfuls of illicit money to follow industry directives prompting them to knowingly lie and misinform. Fail to do that, and you have nothing to prove a parallel exists. Hitch your star to the likes of Naomi Oreskes (who is merely one of the latest repeaters of the worn-out 20 year-old ‘parallel’ talking point), and you are headed toward certain disaster. In case you haven’t noticed it, Ms Oreskes was unable to keep her mouth shut about a particular detail on the old ‘leaked coal industry’ memos which supposedly indict skeptic climate scientists, and that chicken is coming home to roost quite soon.

    As ever, not that you fellows listen to what I suggest, I recommend that you give serious thought to your exit strategy on this issue. It is an easy one to adopt, you simply held a preconceived generalized view of human influence and accepted enviro-activists’ claims without question about the credibility of skeptic scientists, and after careful examination of the complete details surrounding that facet of the issue, you discover you’ve been hoodwinked by folks who manufactured doubt, misinformation and lies about skeptics because they were bent on keeping the pro-AGW gravy train on its tracks. Upon discovering all of this, you become much better informed, a personal growth you can be proud of instead of being ashamed of. Give it a shot.

    • dumboldguy Says:

      Russell is here again, speaking to us of “personal growth that we can be proud of instead of being ashamed of”. Lord love a dozen ducks!

      Russell is only here because he is a shill for Heartland who gave him a $6000 “personal growth” incentive raise this year. He is so proud of that. He can’t find honest work to support himself, so he is forced to whore and lie. Pity him.

      Russell has made his appearance today and earned his dirty money by getting his “made a comment this week on a sane site” ticket punched. (I’ve said before that no one at Heartland really checks to see the low quality of what Russell is saying out here, just that he said SOMETHING—-if they did read it (and could understand what unconvincing horseshit it is), he’d be unemployed once again).

      So…..3…..2…..1…………………………………………GO AWAY RUSSELL!

      • dumboldguy Says:

        PS In case no one has noticed, Russell immediately returns after commenting to vote himself a “thumbs up”. That’s where those “1’s” come from

        I think that’s so cute! (and pathetic beyond belief)

  6. anotheralionel Says:

    “Hitch your star to the likes of Naomi Oreskes (who is merely one of the latest repeaters of the worn-out 20 year-old ‘parallel’ talking point), and you are headed toward certain disaster.”

    Strewth, you have some chutzpah coming here with this, Oreskes must have got to you. That is the problem with truth.

    What about James Lawrence Powell, John Mashey, Jim Hogan and others? They have more truth in the stops at the end of their exposes than Heatland has ever had in the whole of its literature.

    But then how could you judge for your your credentials and record kinda give the game away here?

    And I never bother with this voting up business but you have been busy with that ‘clicker’ not having so much trouble with a ‘clicker’ as Pat Michaels (2010).

    • dumboldguy Says:

      That photo of Russell posted in his “creds” would be much improved if he got himself a pair of Rick Perry “Look Smart” glasses and ditched the hat.

      Oreskes’ Merchants of Doubt actually has more FOOTNOTES than anything Russell has ever written has total words. A hundred and more for each chapter. It was so densely packed with truth that reading it was almost overwhelming—-tobacco, acid rain, CFC’s, SDI, AGW, etc—-and the killing expose of the never ending avalanche of BS from the Repugnants and their cohorts in the plutocracy and corporations. Can’t wait for the movie—-I’m going to buy it and put on the shelf next to “Inconvenient Truth”

      And look at all those “thumbs down” Russell is giving out, pathetic coward that he is. Come out and fight, Russell! Put down the “clicker” and try to find an original idea to use as a weapon.

      How about the exponential decline of Arctic Sea Ice? I have hit that ball over the net to you so many times that the fuzz is worn off it.

  7. redskylite Says:

    On the topic of the tobacco industry guess what company had the most successful performance (in the world), ??????????????????????

    “It had to have been revolutionary. It had to have been innovative. It must be in an industry that changed the world — probably the biggest trend of the 20th century. It must have done something no other company could do.”

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