March 19, 2009 - 11:33 AM MDT
Dear Mr. McFadden,
Thank you for your observations about the article on PM's Ninja Program. I corrected the tense of the article and added some additional information about when PM funded the program, and in what amounts.
We cannot speculate on SourceWatch, so we cannot say for certain that the program has been discontinued. We do not know if it is continuing under another name, or whether it has been retired.
The Master Settlement Agreement has little or no enforcement mechanism built into it short of lawsuits, and this type of program wasn't specifically banned under that agreement, so there is just no way to know the current status of the program.
Thanks for talking to us!
User:Anne Landman, TobaccoWiki Editor
While responding to a newspaper article/discussion about a smoking ban and whether a particular "free-choice" (i.e. anti-ban) advocate was getting "paid as a tobacco lobbyist" I ran across this SW page on PM's "Ninja Program." The page appears to be accurate historically but I believe it is misleading in that it presents its information as current rather than as something in the past-tense. The source material for the page is apparently from a 1991 document about a program that has probably been discontinued for at least ten years.
Sooooo... I am proposing to change the page to reflect that tense change as well as add a statement that the continuation of such a program is unlikely today given the close watch kept over Big Tobacco activities since the Master Settlement Agreement was signed.
This is my first attempt at using the SourceWatch Wiki, but if I understand its mechanism correctly, I should wait a day or so for a response to this proposed change and then go ahead with making it unless there is reasonable and substantial opposition to doing so. Am I correct in that?
Michael J. McFadden Author of "Dissecting Antismokers' Brains"
A thanks and a question...
Thank you Ms. Landman. I believe your edits did well in correcting the tense problem I noticed and I think the resulting page is more accurate.
I do have a further question though that you may know about. You noted, "The Master Settlement Agreement has little or no enforcement mechanism built into it short of lawsuits, and this type of program wasn't specifically banned under that agreement, so there is just no way to know the current status of the program."
I had been under the impression that the MSA provided for continued access to all information on tobacco company programs and budgeting. Am I incorrect in that? Wouldn't such documents (at a minimum, at least the documentation after 1996 up until the MSA itself) show whether the program was continued in some form?
Also: I think the article might be more helpful if it spelled out clearly whether PM was paying these Ninjas for doing what they were doing or was simply helping them to do what they were already doing in a more effective manner. Do the tobacco company documents give any information on that?
Michael J. McFadden
Author of "Dissecting Antismokers' Brains"