Wigand anatomy of a decision

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REF: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/smoke/cron.html Facts and context in the "60 Minutes" decision not to air a tobacco industry exposé

March Jeffrey Wigand, head of research for Brown & Williamson tobacco, is fired after some four years with the company. Wigand claims B &W was trying to kill his research. Wigand signs a confidentiality agreement in order to receive his severancebenefits. September Brown and Williamson sues Wigand, suspending his health insurance and severance benefits, and contending that he violated his confidentiality pledge by discussing the terms of his severance with another company executive. November Wigand signs a "nondisclosure settlement agreement" that is tougher than his initial confidentiality pledge with Brown and Williamson. (B &W was awarethat Wigand had been called to testify as part of a 1993 U.S. Justice Department investigation into Philip Morris' "fire safe" cigarette program.) Wigand's benefits are reinstated.

Early February Lowell Bergman meets Jeffrey Wigand while producing a "60 Minutes" story on Philip Morris' "fire safe" cigarette. Bergman asks Wigand to help him interpret secret internal Philip Morris documentsanonymously sent to him in late 1993. February 28 ABC's newsmagazine, "Day One," broadcasts a story contending that Philip Morris "spikes" the nicotine content of its cigarettes. March 27 "60 minutes" airs its story on Philip Morris' "fire safe" cigarette program-research, the story contended, which was killed by Philip Morris for fear of negative legal ramifications. During the course of the story'sproduction, Wigand is reportedly paid an estimated $12,000 for his time and expenses as a consultant. May 12 Stanton Glantz, professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, unexpectedly receives an anonymous donation of some 4,000 pages of Brown & Williamson documents. July The Justice Department opens a criminal investigation into possible perjury by seven top tobacco companyexecutives who testified at April 14 congressional hearings that "nicotine is not addictive."

March Bergman files a "blue sheet" with "60 Minutes" proposing an investigative story on Brown & Williamson. The story is quickly approved and Bergman and his CBS team begin reporting with Wigand in Louisville. June Wigand's lawyer negotiates with CBS lawyers on the question of indemnification forlegal fees and costs in any libel suit that might arise in connection with Wigand's appearance on "60 Minutes." July 1 Stanton Glantz, professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, posts the voluminous, internal Brown &Williamson documents on the Internet. July "60 Minutes" learns that Wigand will be a witness in the Justice Department's criminal investigation of the seventobacco CEOs and their possible perjury during the April, 1994 hearings. Andrew Tisch, the CEO of Lorillard tobacco and the son of CBS Chairman Laurence Tisch, is one of the seven CEO's under investigation. "60 Minutes" also learned that Wigand was listed as an expert defense witness for ABC in its Philip Morris/R.J. Reynolds suit. August 1 Laurence Tisch announces at a press conference that theWestinghouse Electric Corporation will pay $5.4 billion to acquire CBS Inc. The announcement comes one day after the Walt Disney Company agrees to pay $19 billion for Capital Cities/ABC Inc., a merger that creates the largest entertainment company in the world. August 3 Jeffrey Wigand and his wife agree to be interviewed by "60 Minutes" correspondent Mike Wallace, after a summer of indecision aboutwhether to appear on camera. Producer Bergman gives Wigand a handwritten note assuring him that CBS would not air the interview without his permission. Bergman later says that he felt this to be a courtesy, not an extension of "veto power" over the story to Wigand. August 21 ABC News agrees to apologize for its February 28, 1994 "Day One" report that said Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds controlled...
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