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Study Slams Philip Morris, Burson for Undue Influence 

Jump to full article: B&W NewsReal, 2004-08-23
Author: Source: PRweek; U.S. ed. Publication date: 2004-08-23 Arrival time: 2004-09-08

Intro:

A study analyzing Philip Morris' internal documents criticizes the tobacco giant; its PR firm, Burson- Marsteller; and a journalism school for their attempts to influence coverage on secondhand smoke.

In an interview, study author Dr. Richard Hurt attacked the tobacco company for funding training programs at the Herndon, VA- based National Journalism Center.

Hurt said the funds went to support speakers who would discount research on the dangers of secondhand smoke. They also backed an internship program to place reporters who supported the tobacco industry's position, Hurt said.

He noted that "hundreds of thousands of dollars" would be a "low estimate" of the amount of money that was spent.

He added that Philip Morris received PR support from Burson and an independent media consultant.

The study, which is scheduled to be published today in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, is the latest piece in an ongoing analysis of documents made public after a 1998 lawsuit against the tobacco industry. . . .

"The tobacco industry coined the term 'junk science,'" he said, referring to an oft-used phrase in pro-tobacco pieces. "When they can get people to write these things down in reputable places, then they can influence public opinion."

Hurt said he doesn't expect much reaction from the media to this study. "The typical reaction is no reaction because [covering this research] usually causes embarrassment."

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Quotes from this article:

The typical reaction [of the media] is no reaction because [covering this research] usually causes embarrassment.
Dr. Richard Hurt, on the American Journal of Preventive Medicine study that anyalyzed tobacco industry influence on the media's secondhand smoke coverage.

The tobacco industry coined the term 'junk science' . . . When they can get people to write these things down in reputable places, then they can influence public opinion.
Dr. Richard Hurt, on the American Journal of Preventive Medicine study that anyalyzed tobacco industry influence on the media's secondhand smoke coverage.