Published: Monday, 22 April 2013 12:14
The day of Margaret Thatcher's death, I -- with some help from a colleague/former Airspace President Bob Broughton -- wrote a rather scathing article about her, under the headline "TOBACCO WHORE THATCHER DIES".
Within hours of it being posted on the Airspace site, I received complaints from 4 people. Not one of them disagreed with the 'content' of the headline; their biggest concern was the timing (after all, Thatcher was still 'warm'...not to be confused with the decent, caring human being who had a heart and a conscience kind of warm).
So, after some discussion and a vote among Airspace Directors, it was decided to replace that headline with the one you now see: "Bye-bye, Maggie".
While I agreed with the above-mentioned complainants and voted in favour of changing the headline, I will now explain why I chose "TOBACCO WHORE THATCHER DIES" in the first place. I strongly suspected (correction: I KNEW!) that there would be no mention of Thatcher's multi-million dollar 'whoring' for Philip Morris (one of the biggest tobacco companies in the world [and that 'partnership' had its beginnings long before she retired from politics]) in the apparently-still-rather-tobacco-friendly mainstream media...both locally and globally. And, as it turned out, I was absolutely right: Not a word! That is why I felt the need to 'scream' it out, so big and bold and loud...to somehow compensate for the (at that time, only anticipated) silence from the mainstream media.
For the record: In the tobacco context, the word "whore"/"whoring" is gender neutral...and applies to anyone and everyone who, in any manner, shape or form whatsoever, works for or supports Big Tobacco, whether paid to do so or not [trust me, despite their denials, the vast, vast majority of tobacco whores are very well paid]). The first time I recall hearing/using "tobacco whore" was to describe Greg "Player's" Moore, a walking, talking cigarette pack (WTCP) who drove a cigarette pack on four wheels until his death, at the age of 24 (in 1999), while racing in the... wait for it... Marlboro 500. It must also be noted that what truly set Moore apart from most other WTCPs was his extremely enthusiastic lobbying of politicians on Parliament Hill, as he vehemently opposed any and all government efforts to restrict/eliminate tobacco sponsorship of sporting and cultural events. Despite Moore's best efforts on behalf of his pimps at Big Tobacco, such sponsorship ended just 4 years after Moore's death... and no, despite dire tobacco-industry-perpetuated doom and gloom predictions, no jobs were lost, no businesses closed, no events ended and, perhaps most importantly, the sky did not fall. However, I digress; back to Maggie.
April 9, 2013 -- the day after Thatcher's death -- I picked up the four biggest newspapers available in Vancouver: The two local papers; the Vancouver Sun and The Province... and the two national papers; The Globe & Mail and the National Post.
The stories of her death (including pictures) occupied at least half of front page of all of the papers except The Province (no mention of her on the front page, but 2 full pages inside). All told, between the four papers, there were a total of 20 full pages of articles (again, including pictures) of Thatcher! That's an average of five full pages per paper, with the Globe & Mail taking first (read, last) place, with 8 full pages, spanning all 4 sections (A [News], B [Business], L [Life and Arts] and S [British Columbia News, Sports and Obituaries])!
There are details about every little aspect of her life, from the day she was born til the day she died; everything you could ever possibly want to know about Maggie...and then some! The good! The bad! And the ugly! Spanning her entire life!
But not a single bloody word about her whoring for Big Tobacco where, between her $250,000 annual salary, an additional $250,000 a year to her foundation, plus $50,000 a pop for every speech she gave (not to mention her million dollar [courtesy of Philip Morris] 70th birthday bash), she 'earned' double or triple her salary as British Prime Minister!
The closest any of those 4 papers came to actually mentioning Thatcher's whoring for Philip Morris -- running a close second, with 7 exciting pages of Thatcher coverage -- was the National Post, which said, near the end of a full-page article, "Margaret Thatcher left office temporarily dazed and embittered, but sound in mind and body, full of energy and initially with nothing to do except write her memoirs -- upon which she embarked the following year." (emphasis mine) As I said, close...but no cigar, pardon the pun.
The main point of all of this being: If Margaret Thatcher had been a sweet little angel who could do no wrong during her political life, then I might be able to forgive the media for blissfully ignoring that 'minor little detail' about her becoming a multi-million dollar tobacco whore within just 2 or 3 months of resigning/retiring from politics. But the fact of the matter is -- as was very well documented in all of those 20 pages in 4 papers -- she was extremely controversial, made all sorts of mistakes, etc. And yet the media chose to ignore the biggest mistake of her life: Going to work for Philip Morris (makers of the world's #1 brand, Marlboro)...a company that is directly responsible for a huge percentage of the 6 million annual deaths (about 10% of which are innocent bystanders/non-smokers), globally.
It's possible that, after her death
, some mainstream media outlet somewhere on the planet said a few words about Thatcher's involvement with Philip Morris but, based on what I've seen so far, I have my doubts. That said, if you discover any such mention, please forward it to me here
ATTENTION ALL MAINSTREAM MEDIA: Why the silence??? And how long do you expec your 'tobacco-friendliness' will continue... especially given the fact that your tobacco whoring (running tobacco ads, co-sponsoring tobacco-sponsored events, employing a few very tobacco-friendly reporters/talk show hosts, etc.) 'officially' ended about ten years ago?!?
Errol E. Povah