Tobacco control groups meeting in St. Paul, Minn., disclosed a 1990 memo turned over to a Minnesota court by Philip Morris Cos. that urged PM to acquire a major media outlet as part of a PR strategy for dealing with anti-tobacco arguments. The memo, titled "Top Secret Operation Rainmaker," did not identify its author or the persons it was addressed to. The memo writer sited as acquisition targets Knight-Ridder, Mort Zuckerman's publications (including U.S. News & World Report
), Copley News Service, United Press International or a major newspaper. PM today called the memo "hare-brained" and said it had no idea who wrote it, and that none of its ideas went anywhere.
Copyright October 1998, Crain Communications Inc.