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The True Magazine Article

The publicity regarding the dangers of smoking was accelerating in the popular press following publication of the Surgeon General's report. In January 1968 an article entitled "To Smoke or Not to Smoke—That Is Still the Question," by Stanley Frank, a widely read sports writer, appeared in True magazine. Frank stated that he had reviewed the evidence and found it contradictory and inconclusive; he concluded that "the hazards of cigarette smoking may not be so real as we have been led to believe." The tobacco industry's role in generating and disseminating this article and other articles is summed up in the instructions to the law firm hired to analyze the Brown and Williamson documents (see chapter 1):

TRUE AND NATIONAL ENQUIRER ARTICLES : Documents discussing the True and National Enquirer articles. Joseph Field, a public relations agent for Brown & Williamson, arranged for Stanley Frank to write a smoking and health article entitled, "To Smoke Or Not To Smoke—That Is Still The Question." The article was published in the January 1968 issue of True . Tiderock, TI's [Tobacco Institute's] public relations agency, arranged to run an advertisement promoting the article. Tiderock also purchased and distributed reprints of the article. Stanley Frank later wrote a similar article entitled, "Cigarette Cancer Link is Bunk" for the National Enquirer under the pen name Charles Golden. John Blalock was one of the Brown & Williamson employees involved. {1001.01, p. 13}

Frank did not disclose that he worked for Hill and Knowlton, the public relations firm that created the Tobacco Industry Research Committee and the Tobacco Institute {1902.05} (see chapter 2); that he had been paid on behalf of the tobacco industry to write the article; or that tobacco interests had reviewed the article prior to publication (4). Tiderock Corporation also played a role in creating and placing the True article. This information was later revealed in a series of investigations by the Wall Street Journal, Consumer Reports , and US Senator Warren Magnuson (D-WA).


The role of the tobacco industry at the highest levels in the generation and dissemination of Stanley Frank's article in True magazine is outlined in detail in a confidential memo dated March 28, 1967, from J. V. Blalock, director of public relations at B&W, to Addison Yeaman, then B&W vice president and general counsel:

According to Joe Field, True Magazine has asked Stanley Frank for a formal outline of his projected article. This is tantamount, except in the rarest of cases, to a guarantee of publication.

We will receive a copy of the outline. If it is unfavorable, we can exert sufficient influence to change the "tone" before the final article. I need not emphasize, however, the strategic importance of the proper guidance of Frank prior to the writing of the outline. We are assured by Joe that Frank has the desired point of view.

They both intend to talk again this week to Ed Jacob [a lawyer at Jacob and Medinger] in order to amplify the Roswell Park angle. Perhaps you will want to alert Ed to this intention. Certainly, this can be an extremely important part of the article.

As to our financial agreement:

We will pay Frank $500.00 for his time and expenses in preparing the article. This is a firm obligation whether he sells it or not.

If True buys the article, our full obligation is satisfied. The magazine pays $1,750.00 for material of this type.

Should True turn down the article, and Frank does not subsequently sell it to another publication, we will pay him $1,250.00 to make up the difference between our guarantee of $500.00 and the anticipated magazine payment of $1,750.00 [emphasis added]. {2101.11}

Not only did Tiderock place the article with True , but it paid the author and guaranteed him his fee in the event that the deal fell through with True . The fact that this article was essentially a work for hire for the tobacco industry was not disclosed. The tobacco industry distributed 600,000 copies of the True magazine article with a letter from "the editors" to physicians, the media, and business and political leaders without any public acknowledgment that the tobacco industry was distributing it or that tobacco interests had a financial relationship with the author. Not until this arrangement was exposed by the media did the public become aware of it (4).

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