Sidney Zion

From SourceWatch
Jump to navigation Jump to search

This stub is a work-in-progress by the journalists's group. We are indexing the millions of documents stored at the San Francisco Uni's Legacy Tobacco Archive [1] With some entries you'll need to go to this site and type into the Search panel a (multi-digit) Bates number. You can search on names for other documents also.     Send any corrections or additions to


This article is part of the Tobacco portal on Sourcewatch funded from 2006 - 2009 by the American Legacy Foundation.


Sidney Zion was a right-wing newspaper columnist with the New York Daily News, who faithfully repeated tobacco industry propaganda, and saw himself as the proud champion of the basic human rights to smoke. Bugger anyone nearby who didn't like it!

There is no evidence that he was ever directly paid to promote the views of the tobacco industry, but he obviously benefitted greatly from his close association with them in fighting a ban in New York on restaurant smoking. Philip Morris were part funding the campaign with ISRAE, the restaurant lobby group which hosted many supportive journalists, and Zion was on first-name terms with key tobacco disinformation executives.

Documents & Timeline

1994: He is prominent among the furthest of the far-right-wing 'foamers' of the national media, and he features prominently in this media contact list for Philip Morris USA. His contacts at PM were scientific disinformation executive, Ellen Merlo, (Senior VP Corporate Affairs) the famed 'Czarina" of the New York company headquarters, and Seth Moskowitz, its media manager. [2] [3]

Tom Griscom of RJ Reynolds Tobacco was also a fan. [4]

However he wasn't the only journalist to have thrown in his lot with the tobacco industry (See also Michael Fumento who was also pushing the "junk-science" line for tobacco at the same time. [5] [6] ) Fumento was being paid for his services, but there's no direct indication that Zion made anything from his. He would, of course, have been receiving complementary meals from the restaurants in New York fighting against Vallone's anti-smoking amendments. The restrauant lobby group ISRAE was part-funded by Philip Morris.

1994 March 4 Sidney Zion ("smoke facism") figures along with Pat Buchanan, and Rush Limbaugh in the "Communications Program" prepared by Burson-Marsteller for the tobacco industry's "Smoking Bans/Accomodation" project. Their strategies include

  • Publicize results to the EPA lawsuit (blocking anti-smoking measures in workplace)
  • Heighten awareness of TASSC (The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition -- established by Steve Milloy and APCO for Philip Morris. It was, for a while, the arbitrator of "junk science" in the media.)
  • Utilize Y&R (Young and Rubicam - a B-M subsidiary) exploratory language regarding ETS. (They were promoting the popularization of terms "junk-science", "Nanny State", "political correctness (PC)", and "New Puritanism".)
  • Implement: Top 10 Intolerance Awards (attack Hillary Clinton for banning smoking in the White House)
  • Distribute cartoon strip (to newspapers) that pokes fun at political correctness (with smoking woven in) Also a radio version.
  • Conduct ARISE Research (ARISE = Associates for Research into the Science of Enjoyment) ARISE was a sham scientific research group who held very popular, well-funded (by PM) conferences in exotic locations around the world and utilized celebrity speakers to attract media attention.
  • Get the Koch Brother's Cato Institute to promote a book and white paper on the "Slippery Slope" argument -- that once you ban smoking, the 'health-Nazis' will then move on to ban alcohol (raise fears of Prohibiliton).

1994 Apr 1: "Government smoke and mirrors put rights in the ash heap." He wrote a vitirolic attack on Robert Reich, Secretary of Labor under the Clinton Administraition which was published in the Daily News. [7]

1995 Apr 10 New York city has implemented a smoking ban in restaurants. [8] [9]

1995 May 16 Ellen Merlo of Phillip Morris USA writes congratulating him on a column. It is a "Dear Sidney" letter from a friend ("Ellen"). She is massaging his ego, which suggests she wasn't paying outright for his services. [10]

1995 June 8 Tom Humber from the Tobacco Institute/Philip Morris PR firm Burson-Marsteller, who also ran the National Smoker's Alliance (NSA) is running counter-measures against restaurant smoking bans all across the country. He boast that he can manipulate Peter Vallone (the initiator of the Amendment). Humber also says that one New York councillor may be attacked by getting "Sidney Zion to go after him." They are running a "card and petition campaign" against the anti-smoking measures. [11]

1995 Oct: Zion was still a New York Daily News columnist: and listed by Philip Morris as being a "Favourable and Fair" columnists. [12] [13]

1997 July 4: Daily News column "Flames of revolt" promotes the idea of the smokers of New York banding together to vote Peter Vallone, Mayor Giuliani and other members of the City Council out, over their anti-smoking regulations. Philip Morris, at this time. is locked in battle with the City Council over its smoking bans

1998 March: He is writing

"The only dangers second-hand smoke exposes us to are Nicotine Nazis and junk science. This deadly combination in restraint of truth had turned restaurants into battlefields, work places into gulags and ballparks into Sara Beth Kitchens"


Other SourceWatch resources

External links

There are 101 documents listed in the tobacco archives referencing Sidney Lion, [15] [16] [17] [18] [19] [20] [21]


External Articles