Big Tobacco, 60 minutes, Vanity Fair and The Insider…


On the tube the other day I watched a movie called ‘The Insider’:

After seeking the expertise of former “Big Tobacco” executive Jeffrey Wigand (Russell Crowe), seasoned TV producer Lowell Bergman (Al Pacino) suspects a story lies behind Wigand’s reluctance to speak. As Bergman persuades Wigand to share his knowledge of [tobacco] industry secrets, the two must contend with the courts and the corporations that stand between them and exposing the truth. All the while, Wigand must struggle to maintain his family life amidst lawsuits and death threats.

The insider

20 years ago, 60 minutes aired an interview with Dr. Jeffrey Wigand, attorney generals of 3 states and a lawyer for Brown & Williamson (the tobacco giant Dr. Wigand worked for).

Dr. Jeffrey Wigand was a former Director of R&D for Brown and Williamson (B&W) and discovered that B&W was lying about the adverse health effects of cigarette smoking and the carcinogenic ingredients within cigarettes – an obvious truth now that big tobacco purged for decades. In the famous video below, from a 1994 congressional hearing, 7 CEO’s (7 dwarves) of big tobacco testify that they believe ‘nicotine is not addictive’.

Tobacco Company CEOs testify before Congress

Dr. Wigand was fired by B&W after 4 years and felt that the truth had to come out. Fascinating, fascinating interview and story by 60 minutes exposed big tobacco’s lies and Dr. Wigand as one of the most important whistleblowers in US / World History.

60 minutes interview (click here to watch interview)

But what brings this all together is a wonderful behind-the-scenes Vanity Fair story about Dr. Wigand, how the 60 minutes story came to fruition and the lengths Brown & Williamson went through to discredit Dr. Wigand and effectively the truth.

Vanity Fair article ‘The Man Who Knew Too Much’ (click here – long, but great read)

The truth never lies…despite efforts to kill/discredit the messenger…

Great movie, great 60 minutes interview and great Vanity Fair article. I recommend watching them in this order:


Vanity Fair

60 minutes interview

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