John Peter Berger

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This article is part of the Tobacco portal on Sourcewatch funded from 2006 - 2009 by the American Legacy Foundation.

(Dont confuse with [Peter L. Berger]] of Rutgers University in the USA who also worked for the tobacco industry.)

John Peter Berger , generally known only as Peter Berger in the UK, was an art critic who wrote the famous textbook on art, "Ways of Seeing". He was also part of a group of semi-intellectual/semi-pseudo-intellectuals -- newspaper columnists and a smattering of academics -- who craved celebrity status. Two of the group became the famous 'cumudgeon team' on British television - Bernard Levin and Auberon Waugh, and Peter Berger was probably almost their equal in the number of TV interviews he conducted.

They accepted into their fold Petr Skrabanek a toxicologist with the Community Health division at Dublin's Trinity College, and Digby Anderson who ran the Social Affairs Unit (SAU) which was secretly funded by the tobacco industry through the London-based Institute of Economic Affairs which also ran FOREST (The Freedom Organisation for the Right to Enjoy Smoking Tobacco) .

This collective of pseudo-celebities were tied together by joint funding from the global tobacco industry as members of ARISE (Associates in Research in the Science of Enjoyment), which pretended to be an association of scientists dedicated to understanding the nature of pleasure. [2]

They shared in common, the pleasure of earning large sums of money which were channelled from tobacco, chocolate, food, beverage, and alcohol companies as grants through ARISE and handed out tax free overseas. They also had the pleasure of first-class air-travel and accommodation to attend fictitious scientific conferences held in exotic locations. Rather than needing to conduct the tedious work of actual research, they would only need to give media interviews decrying the 'Nanny State' and the 'Health Nazis', which guaranteed that the conferences would be well covered by reporters, and well-publicised by the media.

Their attacks were general directed against the society and governments, rather than specific focussed on tobacco or alcohol. They constantly emphasised that the welfare and public health activists raised the level of anxiety through their scare-mongering, and accusing anti-smoking programs as being run by blue-nose moralists who only wanted to destroy the pleasure of life for others.