See for yourself: The leaked ABC tape

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


(Editor’s Note: In March 1994, ABC killed the “Turning Point” documentary that follows. ABC Executive Vice President Paul Friedman called “Tobacco Under Fire” a “boring” rehash. We disagree. Even two years later, the tape presents significant news breaks. The MoJo Wire invites you to decide yourself.)

Conning Young Smokers


2.4 Mb QT video
A hidden-camera sequence in which an ABC reporter goes to a job interview with a man who runs a dozen Marlboro vans in the Brooklyn area. “You’re trying to con the young smokers to switch to Marlboro,” says the Marlboro representative.
 

The Industry Overseas


2.4 Mb QT video
Donnie Gedling, a Kentucky tobacco farmer and then a member of the Kentucky state legislature, displays shock upon being confronted with a packet of “Kentucky-14” seeds developed with taxpayer money. These seeds are being used to grow tobacco in Brazil, where burley sells for half the price of that grown in Kentucky.
 

Koop’s Disgust with Reagan


2.4 Mb QT video
Dr. C. Everett Koop, surgeon general under Ronald Reagan, discusses correspondence between Reagan and the CEO of R.J. Reynolds. The CEO wanted to know if Reagan was planning to come down hard on the tobacco industry during his term as president. Says Koop, “…[Reagan] wrote back–I could hardly believe it when I eventually read it: ‘My administration will be too busy with more important things.'”
 

The Move Into Asia


2.4 Mb QT video
The video documents the tobacco industry’s illegal advertising tactics in Taiwan. This clip shows children playing in a Taiwanese schoolyard; under the spectre of a giant illegal Marlboro billboard. “The heavily-advertised foreign brands are preferred by 85 percent of Taiwan’s teenage smokers,” the narrator says.

Transcript: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest