This site deals only with the corporate corruption of science, and makes no inference about the motives or activities of individuals involved.
There are many reasons why individuals become embroiled in corporate corruption activities - from political zealotry to over-enthusiastic activism; from gullibility to greed.
Please read the OVERVIEW carefully, and make up your own mind.
David K Berlo
— Michigan State University —
Dr Berlo and Professor Gary Steiner saw an opportunity to make money from the tobacco industry by floating a public opinion survey which was heavily loaded to produce the results the tobacco industry wanted.
Even so, the industry needed to be sure that, in the event of questions being answered in ways not acceptable to them, that all answers would be destroyed and all trace of the polling erased.
Dr Berlo appears to have had some status in the area of academia (Communications). One witness for the tobacco industry said in a deposition that Dr David Berlo, characterized the basic communications model as consisting of the elements of source, message, channel, receiver and feedback. [actually not original[
He claimed that this model equips one with the ability to analyze the flow of information from sources to receivers and gain insight into how that information is acted upon or not acted upon. In that sense, he believed it to be an almost universal model ... which just shows how gullible some people can be.
Some key documents
1960: Berlo wrote a book The Process of Communication, New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.
1963 Apr: /E Abe Krash of Arnold Fortas & Porter has written to Brown & Williamson suggesting a project to fund a consumer survey on warning notices in tobacco advertising — one that has been carefuly designed to elicit the answers the tobacco industry requires.
It has been suggested to us by experts in the field of marketing and communications — Professor Gary Steiner of the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business, and Professor David Berlo of the Department of Communications, Michigan State University — that strong support for the industry position that labeling and warnings in advertisements are not necessary might be developed through a public opinion survey. Such a survey would attempt to establish six basic propositions: [encapsulated]
The Legal Committee considered this proposal at its meeting in Washington on May 7 , 1963, and authorized a survey on a pilot basis. We requested Professor Steiner to formulate questions that might be used. A draft questionnaire prepared by Professor Steiner has been thoroughly revised with a view toward seeking information on the above listed propositions without raising extraneous issues.
- There are already plenty of warnings.
- Most Americans know there is a risk to smoking.
- This health risk is exaggerated.
- Obestity and cholestorol, etc. are greater risks than smoking.
- Those ignorant of the risks would probably not see warnings anyway.
- That advertising is not a major factor in the social acceptance of smoking.
It is the opinion of Professors Berlo and Steiner that the survey is likely to establish these propositions.
If Professors Berlo and Steinder are correct in predicting that the returns will be favorable, it is possible that this information could be of significance to the industry both for its Congressional presentation and for other purposes.
If, for example, we were able to establish that the American consumer overestimates the risks of habitual smoking, the case for warning or labeling would be weakened.
Professor Steiner has recommended Elrich & Lavidge, Inc., which is a very highly-respected market planning and research organization in Chicago. Elrich & Lavidge has also been used by a client of Covington & Burling [C&B — the tobacco industry's main lawyers] and is held in high regard by Stan Tempko. [A tobacco lawyer with C&B]
The question has been raised of possible adverse use of a survey. Specifically, Mr [H Thomas] Austern [The top tobacco lawyer from C&B] has suggested that should the results of the survey prove unfavorable, they may be subpoenaed or otherwise may fall into the hands of the FTC, a Congressional Committee, or a plaintiff in pending cancer litigation. There is no question that some risk exists.
We have been assured by both Elrich & Lavidge and by Professor Steiner that they would transmit to us every interview and every copy of the analysis. Thus, when it is completed, there will be nothing in the records of Elrich & Lavidge or Professor Steiner to subpoena.
The danger of a successful subpoena would be reduced (though not entirely eliminated) if the survey were in an attorney's files. In any event, if the returns were unfavorable they could be destroyed and there would be no record in any office of the nature of the returns. The possibility of compelling oral testimony from Steiner, of course, always exists.
In the attached draft questionnaire, we have tried to avoid that problem [harmful answers] by avoiding unnecessary questions which might elicit answers harmful to us. The questionnaire has been revised to eliminate questions that might upset an otherwise favourable return.
See Steiner's list of questions.
[In the B&W Conspiracy Notebook the tobacco lawyers used this as an example of deceptive and conspiratorial behavior.]
1964 May 23: A year later, Abe Krash of Arnold Fortas & Porter writes again to the lawyer-directors of the Cigarette Advertising Code, Inc. They have decided to go ahead with the public opinion survey in order to convince the Congressional hearing that the public already had an adequate level of awareness of smoking dangers.
Subsequently, Herbert Dym of Covington & Burling, Bill Ross of Wald Harkrader & Rockefeller, and my associate, Richard Sobol, made a trip to Michigan State University [David Berlo] and to the University of Chicago [Gary Steiner] to discuss the survey and related problems with the two marketing experts we had previously retained. I am informed that both of these experts strongly urged that a survey be taken. Henry Ramm of RJR later became concerned that the survey might be used against them. It appears to have been dropped.
1998 Oct 13: In the Oklahoma vs. Reynolds et al trial a defence witness Nancy Mathiowetz (Uni of Maryland and Michigan) was asked during her deposition about the recently deprivileged document of Apr 1963 (above) and also of the list of proposed public opinion survey questions.
She provides training for members of the America Assocaition for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and sits on some of its committees:
[The Q&A is evasive and convoluted and peppered with OBJECTIONS from defense counsel.].
Q: My first question regarding that to you, Dr.Mathiowetz, is whether you've ever been involved in a situation with a survey where all of your data was requested to be turned over to attorneys so that unfavorable returns could be destroyed and no record would remain?
She appears to have no opinions as the the ethical nature of the survey, or the likely attitude of the council of the American Association for Public Opinion Research to such a blatantly loaded piece of research.
Q: Would you be concerned if you were asked to participate in a survey under those circumstances, where the records would be given to the attorney's office so if there were any unfavorable returns, they could be destroyed and there would be no record?
A: Well, you're asking me for a hypothetical response,and I would have to know more information in order to answer that question.
Q: What information would you need to know?
A: Every data collection that a person undertakes or consults to is for a different purpose. Sometimes there are reasons that, for proprietary reasons people house the data and don't release it to the public.Those would all be concerns at issue.
Q. Is it appropriate when you're preparing a survey instrument, a survey questionnaire, to specifically draft the questions in order to, ensure a particular result?
A. Are you asking is that science or is that something I do? I need you to just clarify.
Q. In your science of public opinion research and survey, your field, is that an appropriate thing to do?
A As listed in that code of ethics and as you will see in probably a lot of refereed journals, there is an attempt in survey measurement to, for the most part, not xxx a responent to not write a question so as to get a particular result. That doesn't mean that that doesn't happen when people write questions.
Q: Would you agree, Dr Mathiowetz, that the language in that paragraph at least would again raise a red flag that proper ethics are not being utilized, survey ethics have not been utilized in connection with the questionnaire being discussed here?
A. [Circumlocutory and vague answers and regular objections continue]
It appears that she has been working on tobacco litigation through Shook Hardy & Bacon since 1997. Other poll analysts sassocaited with te tobacco industry defence were Don Rubin and Dr Glen Lamotte, and a representative from Dr Weckler's firm. [maybe also Dr McClave]