The Insider – IDS3309 Team Assignment 2 – Team 21

Hi Team #21, Good work all!  I enjoyed reading your post and thought your points and persuasive arguments were sound, coherent, and well-thought out. Good writing style. Good analysis of material and terrific images embedded in the post. I hope you enjoyed working on this assignment. Good organization, sound structure and overall good job!

1. The mainstream media often face enormous challenges in trying to give audiences an accurate picture of the world. For individual journalists, there are extraordinary pressures and obstacles to getting at the truth and telling the stories audiences want and need.

You may select Jeffry Wigand, 60 Minutes host Mike Wallace, producer Lowell Bergman, executive producer Don Hewitt, the Wall Street Journal editor who helped stop the smear or the NY Times reporter who exposed the inside story on how CBS handled the Wigand affair.

All of these people had significant personal and institutional pressures, some more than others. Please do not select your character because you believe everyone will write about that person. No team can analyze this case the same as someone else, unless they cheat.

Your essay should focus on how the principles and values of concealment and revelation apply to the tobacco case or the case at CBS News. 500 words.

Lowell Bergman faces several challenges when he tries to unveil to the public a truth that can cost him and others a lot. He goes through many obstacles to shed light on the serious issue going on in the tobacco industry. Bergman at times faces extraordinary pressure even more than other characters. He questions his own principles and values as well as those of the company he works for. He goes through a roller coaster of emotions, which lead him to make tough decisions and open his eyes to conflicts even he has not anticipated before. Bergman manages to conceal and reveal information in a very meaningful way.

From the very beginning of the movie, Bergman puts his heart and soul into the production of 60 Minutes. The way he pursues Jeffry Wigand suggests that it is Bergman’s priority to keep the public informed at all costs. Bergman begins his journey in this difficult dilemma as someone who seeks to reveal the harmful secrets behind the nation’s third-largest cigarette company, Brown & Williamson. When he is confronted with all the injustice around the case, he fights with all the resources he has to bring the truth to the American audience. Bergman also acts as a friend of Wigand as he wants to protect his integrity and everything he has lost because of this case.

Bergman does not want to conceal any of the information of the tobacco case against Brown & Williamson. However, he is forced to conceal certain information. When CBS decided not to air the original segment of the interview, Bergman strongly opposed that decision. This becomes very clear when he speaks to the NY Times reporter who exposes the inside story on how CBS handled the Wigand affair. In this very unique interview with the NY Times reporter, Lowell manages to conceal information about names, thoughts, even aspects of identity. When he says, “You ask me questions, I tell you if you’re wrong,” he puts the investigative role on the NY Times reporter and simply says he will tell him if his speculations are wrong. Whenever the reporter speculates something that is right, Bergman remains silent and doesn’t show any act of affirmation. The reporter even warns him that if this doesn’t work, he would “burn his bridges.”

Bergman is very persistent to work on this case from the very beginning he got his hands on this information. He possesses great skills in convincing an informer to blow the whistle and reveal the secrets he or she knows. In the scene with Wigand for example, Bergman sends a fax with three simple questions: “Can’t talk to me? Won’t talk to me? Don’t want to talk to me?” With this simple fax, he sets the tone for the entire case. The language Bergman uses in these three questions emphasizes that he understands any circumstance Wigand may be in and allows Wigand to be honest about why he is being resistant to talk with a journalist. This also suggests the expertise Bergman has as he knows exactly how to deal with potential whistleblowers.

Jeffrey Wigand & Lowell Bergman’s conversation after 60 Minutes broadcast. Video begins automatically at 2:09:05.

2. How does Jeffry Wigand’s non-disclosure agreement (NDA) affect the flow of information in The Insider? What legitimate argument, if any, could Brown and Williamson (B&W) make in support of the agreement? What NDAs have recently been used in the public sector? Using the critical perspective, what are the implications of NDAs for government employees? 300 words.

Wigand’s non-disclosure agreement completely interrupts the flow of information throughout the entire case against the tobacco company. Because of the NDA, CBS cannot reveal the original interview as they would face serious and expensive consequences. Moreover, Jeffry Wigand is personally affected by the NDA. The complexity of the NDA gives B&W enough time to lay out a case against Wigand and present him in a bad light. B&W could have potential good reasoning in support of the agreement. Oftentimes, concealed information is not even harmful to the public, but it’s rather secret because of competitive advantage. In particular, when there is research within the company involved, the company would want to keep this research information confidential, so that none of their competitors could take advantage of it.

Recently, there have been reports about interns at the White House having to sign NDAs (Burke). These reports have caused people to raise eyebrows. In the end, in an institution such as the White House, all employees have different clearance levels. If interns, who should have the lowest level of confidentiality, need to keep quiet about what goes behind the White House, then the integrity of these NDAs needs to be questioned. Is it a simple PR move in an attempt not to expose any information about the operations of the White House or do they really get exposed to confidential information? It is possible that when government employees reveal secrets, they are questioning commonly held assumptions. Moreover, they are trying to expand the bounds of debate with the new information revealed as they show a different perspective of an issue to the public. However, the dilemma comes in determining whether or not they would try to better the society with the secrets exposed. Sometimes, certain confidential information may cause more chaos and harm than good. This is the main reason a government would want to keep some information secret from the public.

3. John Scanlon and Terry Lenzner were hired by B&W to attack Wigand’s reputation. Jack Palladino and his team of investigators were hired by Richard Scruggs to counter their allegations. Using McLuhan as a lens, analyze the forms of media used by both Scanlon/Lenzner and Palladino. If this war over Wigand’s reputation had occurred in 2018, would today’s media have made things different? If so, how? 300 words.

Most allegations against Wigand’s reputation as well as any counter-arguments we published in newspapers and supported with some TV reports. John Scanlon and Terry Lenzner leaked the allegations to the Wall Street Journal and revealed some questionable aspects of Wigand’s life. Moreover, Scanlon was also in a close relation with Hewitt and he personally warned the executive producer about the integrity of Wigand. On the other hand, Jack Palladino and his team worked with the Associated Press to publish counter arguments and defend Wigand’s reputation. The fact that all arguments were published either in printed form or through TV reports gives the audience a very narrow view of the issue. As the medium is the message, the entire meaning, value, and integrity of the arguments depends on the source that delivers the reasoning. This has a great influence on the public when they decide whether or not to support Wigand.

If the dilemma over Wigand’s reputation had occurred in 2018, things would have looked differently. The internet has allowed information to flow faster and easier than any other medium. On the one hand, this has caused an enormous quantity of information to be accessible to the public, which in return has also made it possible for “fake news” to be delivered to a mass number of people. On the other hand, quantity is quality in itself. The fact that so many people can publish their opinions and stories allows for really controversial issues to come to surface. Moreover, it is also easier for articles to be published anonymously. WikiLeaks, for example, shows how information can be leaked to the public much easier than ever before. It is possible that the entire case, even the original interview, could have been leaked anonymously online. Moreover, with the help of social media, the support for Wigand would have been much greater. It is likely that different social media groups and campaigns would have supported him and his message. Furthermore, the general public could have researched Wigand’s life and everyone could have drawn his or her own conclusion about any allegations against him.

4. In the film, Bergman, Wallace, and Hewitt attend a meeting with CBS Corporate.  CBS general counsel Helen Caperelli informs them of “tortious interference” and its implications for the 60 Minutes Wigand piece. Provide a detailed analysis of the rhetoric used by the participants in the meeting. For each speaker, who is their intended audience, and how do they use the modes of rhetoric? 300 words.

In the film, Helen Caperelli addresses Bergman, Wallace, and Hewitt to emphasize the implications of publishing the original footage of the interview. She uses ethos and logos to build a strong argument and warns them about how this “tortious interference” could impact the entire company in a very negative way. Caperelli is a credible source to give this type of advice because she is a CBS general counsel and has the company’s best interest in mind. Moreover, through logical reasoning she explains to the men present in the room the scale of damage the company could undergo by revealing the truth. With the language she uses, she appeals to her audience’s obligations toward the company.

All three men address Caperelli in their arguments. Hewitt is a rather passive participant in the meeting. He observes and listens to all sides and asks questions for further clarification. He shows that he trusts Caperelli’s opinion as he does not oppose her or question her reasoning at any point. Wallace also addresses Caperelli with his arguments. His main point is that there is no need to be afraid of a lawsuit as the company has never lost a lawsuit. He uses ethos to convey his point as he has worked with CBS for many years and can confirm that 60 Minutes has always dealt with controversial topics and has always faced the risk for lawsuits. Bergman, on the other hand, handles this meeting differently. He is very emotional and passionate in his arguments. He uses pathos to show that they are responsible for two things. First, they have a man who is willing to reveal a secret to the public that will change the way people view the tobacco industry and will expose leaders who have lied to the public. Moreover, he emphasizes 60 Minute’s obligation to bring the truth to the public and keep their public interest as a priority.

This meeting is very important in the development of the case as it shows Bergman he alone has to fight for the truth and the disappointment in his company is so great that it leads him to quit his job in the end.

Work Cited

Burke, Michael. “White House Interns Forced to Sign Non-Disclosure Agreements: Report.” TheHill, The Hill, 21 Feb. 2019, www.thehill.com/homenews/administration/430922-white-house-interns-being-forced-to-sign-ndas-report.

Credits:

Valentina Tzvetanov – Writer

Lazaro Francia – Researcher

Gabriel Reina – Analyst

Arianna Moss – Media Research

Tiffany Bolanos – Analyst

Jessika Lathulerie – Researcher

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The Insider Analysis – Team 22

Hi Team #22,  Good organization of post. Excellent writing style, very good images, clear analysis and structure of answers, excellent points throughout the essay. Clear, persuasive arguments. All in all very well-done! I don’t know exactly who is responsible for which portions of this assignment so I am giving all the same grade. I hope you worked well together and found this experience a positive one.

 

How We Know What We Know

Spring 2019

02/04/2019

Group 22

Writer, Editor: Ursula Muñoz

Writer: Andrea Vacca

Writer: Chabelis Leal

Writer: Paula Rivera

Writer: Gabriella Gabino

Writer: Emily Bustamante

1. The mainstream media often face enormous challenges in trying to give audiences an accurate picture of the world. For individual journalists, there are extraordinary pressures and obstacles to getting at the truth and telling the stories audiences want and need. You may select Jeffrey Wigand, 60 Minutes host Mike Wallace, producer Lowell Bergman, executive producer Don Hewitt, the Wall Street Journal editor who helped stop the smear or the NY Times reporter who exposed the inside story on how CBS handled the Wigand affair. Your essay should focus on how the principles and values of concealment and revelation apply to the tobacco case or the case at CBS News. 500 words.

The principles and values of concealment and revelation apply heavily to the tobacco case. Brown and Williamson (B&W) had a non-disclosure agreement with Jeffrey Wigand which impeded him from providing information that was confidential to them. Unfortunately, there is a hidden story to be told here, as Dr. Wigand experienced personal and institutional pressures. Under such circumstances, what we hide and what is hidden from us is concealed, kept as a secret so that the public never finds out. This is exactly what B&W did to Wigand’s  story, and it violated the ethics of concealment. The revelation of this information was to bring to light the tobacco tampering that B&W committed, but the company disguised the facts and decided to keep them from seeing the light of day, leading them to commit deceit among their many wrongful actions. As CBS general counsel Helen Caperelli says in the film, “The bigger the truth, the bigger the damage”. B&W’s motive and their reason to conceal the information Dr. Wigand had to tell the world didn’t justify their actions in stifling this information. It was highly unethical and unprofessional on their behalf.

Another important principle that is shown throughout the movie is revelation. This took a major role in the tobacco cover up and the journalistic ethics seen towards the end of the movie. An act of revelation represents honesty in one’s character as the divine truth is being communicated. In The Insider, we see how Wigand is conflicted by the principles and values of revelation as he acknowledges his possession of important information dealing with the tobacco industry that may lead the company to a possible lawsuit. By exposing the long-tissue of lies from B&W laboratories to a mass audience, Wigand was afraid of the actions the company may have against him. However, upon the company threatening him to lose his job and take all benefits away from his family, he felt that he had nothing more to lose. It was then known that the presidents of seven cigarette companies had denied under oath before congress that the nicotine in the tobacco was addictive and that other additives were used to make it even more addictive. Although Wigand did sign a confidentiality agreement with B&W, he felt that he was not being disloyal to the company,but rather to  but people as since they were the ones who were dying because of the consumption of tobacco. By exposing the misleading information the company was giving and how they ignored the health concerns caused by tobacco, Wigand felt a sense of loyalty in taking ethical responsibility in protecting those that would consume these products. Despite knowing that the more truthful his statements were, the more damaging they would be in a lawsuit, Wigman chose to be sincere. Therefore, through Wigand’s acts of integrity and courage in revealing these truths we can see how highly he values the principles of revelation in his character. (good!)

https://www.youtube.com/embed/jiZERmW-Cs4?start=6495

(start at 1:48:00, end at 1:51:00)

2. How does Jeffrey Wigand’s non-disclosure agreement (NDA) affect the flow of information in The Insider? What legitimate argument, if any, could Brown and Williamson (B&W) make in support of the agreement? What NDAs have recently been used in the public sector? Using the critical perspective, what are the implications of NDAs for government employees? 300 words.

Jeffrey Wigand’s non-disclosure agreement affected the flow of information throughout the entire film. At the beginning of The Insider Dr. Wigand is troubled between doing what he believes is ethical versus doing what the law requires him to. The non-disclosure agreement Jeffrey Wigand signed with B&W prohibits him from disclosing information he acquired while working for the company. Ultimately, Jeffrey decides to give Mike Wallace the interview. By doing the interview he would be informing millions of people that executives at B&W knowingly approved the addition of chemicals to their cigarettes that were known to be addictive and could cause cancer.

Although Jeffrey sat down with Wallace and gave 60 Minutes the exclusive, CBS corporation decided not to air the complete interview. CBS was afraid of a possible multibillion-dollar lawsuit from B&W for interviewing a source with a non-disclosure agreement. Wigand was the vice president of research and development at Brown & Williamson which most likely meant he knew how their cigarettes were manufactured. B&W could argue that Jeffrey knew how their cigarettes were produced which is why they required him to sign a non-disclosure agreement.

In October of 2017 The New York Times reported that dozens of women accused film producer Harvey Weinstein of rape, sexual assault, and sexual abuse over the period of 30 years. Many other women who were also abused by Weinstein were afraid to come forward because of the legal repercussions they might face since many of them had signed NDAs. In March of 2018 The Weinstein Co. canceled all NDAs that Harvey Weinstein had with the women who have accused him of sexual misconduct allowing them to speak freely and share their stories.

A non-disclosure agreement signed by a government employee will most likely not hold up in court as most things the government does is public information. Moreover, federal employees have free speech and whistleblower rights. Critical perspective as described by the Frankfurt school “seeks human emancipation from slavery, acts as a liberating influence, and works to create a world which satisfies the needs and powers of human beings”. Using the critical perspective government employees have a moral responsibility to let the public know if there is illegal or unethical coercion within the government, despite having signed a non disclosure agreement. As seen in The Insider, whistleblowers often face retaliation from the organization they are exposing yet they feel as if they have a moral responsibility to inform the public of illegal or unethical actions.

 

3. John Scanlon and Terry Lenzner were hired by B&W to attack Wigand’s reputation. Jack Palladino and his team of investigators were hired by Richard Scruggs to counter their allegations. Using McLuhan as a lens, analyze the forms of media used by both Scanlon/Lenzner and Palladino. If this war over Wigand’s reputation had occurred in 2019, would today’s media have made things different? If so, how? 300 words.

“They are gonna look under every rock, dig up every flaw, every mistake you’ve ever made,” Lowell tells Wigand in The Insider. “They are going to distort and exaggerate everything you’ve ever done.” Using media theorist Marshall McLuhan’s “medium is the message” theory, we can assert that B&W benefitted from cable news’ exploited coverage of Wigand’s personal life, as television and its news channels’ extensive reach and credibility provided ethos to Scanlon and Lenzner’s smear campaign. What goes around comes back around however, as Palladino’s cooperation with 60 Minutes’ Lowell Bergman led to the famous Wall Street Journal news story that eventually gave Jeffrey Wigand credibility over B&W. In similar fashion, the Wall Street Journal’s reputation as one of the most credible newspapers made the message stronger and added ethos to Palladino’s argument.

Funnily enough, the way that social media being such a predominant part of our lives today, tells us that a smear campaign like this would probably wind up being a whole lot more successful in 2019. The flow of information caused by the stream of social media and news sites would be at B&W’s disposal to further get the word out about Wigand’s wrongdoings.

A couple of years ago, Facebook videos surfaced of United Airlines passenger Dr. David Dao being violently dragged off an overbooked flight. Everyone seemed to be on the doctor’s side until deeply personal details of his private life—from felony charges to engagement in prostitution—were uncovered. Through Reddit forums and Twitter debates, people went from defending him to arguing whether or not he had it coming, all because he was now less sympathetic.

Though not a whistleblower, the case of Dr. Dao shows how quickly an online smear campaign will damage the victim’s credibility and distract the public from the issues at hand—in this case, American Airlines abusing its passengers. Scanlon’s findings of “shoplifting” and spousal “abuse” would have fared the same way in an online trial of public opinion, making it more difficult for Palladino to combat the dossier in court even though it was reportedly exaggerated and misleading.

 

4. In the film, Bergman, Wallace, and Hewitt attend a meeting with CBS Corporate.  CBS general counsel Helen Caperelli informs them of “tortious interference” and its implications for the 60 Minutes Wigand piece. Provide a detailed analysis of the rhetoric used by the participants in the meeting. For each speaker, who is their intended audience, and how do they use the modes of rhetoric? 300 words.

In this particular scene of the film CBS general counsel, Helen Caperelli, has a different perspective than that of Bergman, Wallace, and Hewitt. Her intended audience is the three gentlemen and anyone who is a part of their 60 Minutes team, and she uses logos to support her argument on why they have to be cautious with airing this segment. Her argument is very logical from the start and she gives a through explanation of the legality of it all. Her character uses exposition by explaining in detail what tortious interference means and by analyzing what could potentially happen to CBS if they do get sued.  

The character of Bergman uses argumentation towards his intended audience, Caperelli and anyone involved at CBS, by justifying why they can air the segment. He says, “It happens all the time. People are always telling us things they shouldn’t.” Although it is a weak argument, it’s still worthy of analysis because of how he is trying to get his point across to CBS corporate and prove that the segment should be aired. He supports his argument with pathos, as he is very emotional and passionate about this segment. There is anger and frustration in his tone when talking back to Caperelli, such as when he sarcastically quips “Is this Alice in Wonderland?” upon her descriptions of the hypothetical growth and reduction of damage depending on how true Wigand’s statements are

Wallace is very sure that they will get their way and that their segment will be allowed to be aired, so his character also argues against Caperelli. He has the same perspective as Bergman and argues the same point—as long as the information is true there should be no legal issues airing the episode, segment included. Wallace supports his argument with logos, explaining that at 60 Minutes they always corroborate their information and run a “classy show.” This can be seen as logos because logically if the story is corroborated then the information being said is true, therefore there should be no issue airing the segment, as well as ethos because it speaks to the credibility of 60 Minutes.

The Insider-Team 19-Assignment 2

Hi Team #19,  Good work overall. Good writing, good interpretation of film and good analysis. Nice argumentative style too. Nice presentation of material. I would have liked to see more images embedded in the body of the text, however, but all in all well-done!

Leandro Moreyra: Writer #2/Editor

Keenan Thompson: Writer #3&4

Alexandra Fernandez: Writer #1

Angie Blanco: researcher/media

  1.          One of the most dynamic aspects of the movie The Insider is its emphasis on how ubiquitous secrecy is in the world of journalism. From getting someone to reveal company secrets to even being able to disclose the name of one’s source, journalists are burdened with the task of finding ways to get the information out into the public without violating any privacy laws. Lowell Bergman had to go to great lengths to oust the revenue-damaging secrets that Brown & Williamson (B&W) didn’t want the world to know. The greatest obstacle to overcome was the fact that Wigand’s severance package came with a non-disclosure agreement preventing him from revealing the company’s trade secrets or practices. To convince Wigand to speak out against B&W, he assured Wigand that only he could make the choice to put himself and his family at risk, but implied that it was his – Bergman’s – duty to the people to reveal information that they need to know. Later on, Bergman elaborates during a very angry phone call on the dangers of secrecy and how any small lie or deception could be used by B&W to discredit Wigand’s reputation – lowering the people’s resistance to believing the tobacco company lies.

Bergman also seems to grasp the need for secrecy for even a few seconds of time, evidenced by how he directed an editor to place the scenes for Wigand’s interview on 60 Minutes. He tells him to show “The Seven Dwarfs” swearing that tobacco is not addictive just as Wigand says that he believes they had full knowledge on its drug-like properties. This half-second or so where he withholds Wigand’s statement is him using secrecy to better affect the audience’s pathos by controlling the flow of information. As a journalist, Lowell knew that he had to turn the secrets in Wigand’s memory into public access knowledge – since knowledge in public places become fair game – in order to avoid punishment for Wigand’s violation of the NDA. Thus, he had Wigand give a statement with part of the information in a lawsuit that the state of Louisiana wanted to file against the tobacco companies. Doing this placed the damaging information one foot out the door into the public. In summary, Lowell used his knowledge of secrecy and concealment to persuade Wigand, (to) figure out how to get his information into the public, and make a compelling piece for 60 Minutes that would have the greatest impact on the viewers so that they would in turn have an even greater impact on the tobacco companies.

  1. Jeffry Wigand’s non-disclosure agreement (NDA) slows down the flow of information in The Insider. Because of this NDA, Bergman had to navigate through all sorts of litigation issues with Brown and Williamson in order to get Wigand’s interview on air. This gave the film a chance to explore the consequences that Weigand was facing for going against B&W and tell a more engaging story to the viewers that could better appeal to their sense of pathos. In recent times, NDAs have been used by the Trump Administration to restrict the information its employees could reveal. In fact, there are currently six cases in which employees of the Trump campaign or Administration have gone against their NDAs (Farrow). Using NDAs on government employees seems to be a double-edged blade. On one hand, information is sometimes too dangerous to let out into the public because it may disturb the public order. For example, Edward Snowden’s reveal of the National Security Agency’s invasion of privacy sparked a huge outrage from the American people and led to loss of confidence in our government’s reliability. On the other hand, however, the American constituents have a right to know about things that the government is doing that will impact their daily lives. We even have regulations in place to protect whistleblowers from persecution if they’re providing the people with information that they should already have available, but don’t. Whether NDAs would help or harm the government’s interaction with the people is a topic of widely debated controversy. It is for that same reason that Snowden is considered either a hero of the American way or a heinous traitor, depending on who you ask.

 

3.          “Wigand is a habitual liar, a bad, bad guy.” It was Scanlon’s assignment to disseminate a wide range of damaging charges against Wigand. Lenzner prepared a lengthy dossier that damaged Wigand’s reputation. These investigators claimed that Wigand had been arrested for wife beating, shoplifting, and filed insurance claims on lost luggage. None of these claims were true and had to do with Wigand’s legitimacy as a source in revealing the tobacco industry’s secret. Yet, the public used this information as a basis for questioning Wigand’s credibility. The message then is how at the time, the print and electronic media could use false claims that weren’t thoroughly investigated, or fact checked as means to manipulate the public’s view of a person. It also demonstrates how at the time, people wouldn’t consider the actual credibility that sources had. In this case, Wigand’s title in Brown and Williamson and a scientist.

           The media and technology continue to expand. If this war over Wigand’s reputation had occurred in 2018, the word would travel much faster. Accusations of mind control, bias, and poor quality are thrown at the media on a regular basis. Yet the growth of communications technology allows people today to find more information more easily than any previous generation, or just about 20 years ago like in the film. Investigators probe Wigand’s personal history and publish their findings in a 500-page dossier on Wigand’s reputation and credibility (on The Wall Street Journal). Newspaper subscriptions have fallen and now maintain an Internet presence. News outlets have also turned to social media and stories can be posted and retweeted, allowing the public to comment and forward material as well.

  1.     The Insider movie is a film with ethical dilemmas and controversy. Ethical dilemmas because Brown and Morrison’s determination to keep research information about Nicotine addiction hidden from the public. This movie put a negative light on businesses and in a way, broke the trust between consumers and the producers. Blevins helps us understand that privacy helps control reputation, which is what the tobacco company intended to do with the confidentiality agreements. Blevins also says that privacy has a physical component because it keeps people away and people don’t like to have their privacy invaded. Wallace says in the movie “I don’t believe you can maintain corporate integrity without confidentiality agreements” which is ironic because his intentions are to break the confidentiality agreement he had with the tobacco company in order to speak out about how addictive nicotine actually is.  It is also ironic because Wallace, in the process, did no imagine to be losing most of the things he held so dearly in his life like: family, job, and privacy. Privacy helps us protect ourselves and when there is a legal basis it becomes very problematic (which is what happened in the movie).

Wallace in this case was the man who knew too much and there is a direct correlation between that and the quote that is repeated often “the more truth he tells, the worse it gets”. Although Bergman, Wallace, and Hewitt are aware of the consequences of airing the story telling the whole truth, they understand that the most important matter is honesty, especially with their audiences. Bergman relentlessly chased the truth because he felt he had a credible source. The personal sacrifice they each made was a very important factor to shape their relationship with their audience, but in terms of their relationship with the tobacco company things did got rough and with CBS things got stronger.

 

Works Cited

Farrow, Ronan. A Lawsuit by a Campaign Worker Is the Latest Challenge to Trump’s Nondisclosure Agreements. 25 February 2019. Web. <https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/a-lawsuit-by-a-campaign-worker-is-the-latest-challenge-to-trumps-nondisclosure-agreements&gt;.

The Insider: Team Assignment #2 Team 18

Excellent Team #18! Good images, good points, good persuasive arguments, and all in all well-done assignment. The writing was convincing, good integration of past readings, thorough, good sentence and paragraph structure. Keep up the good work.

Fiorella Biagioni (Question 1, Inserted Pictures, Editor of paper), Emily Morales (Question 4, Editor of Paper), Atiya Pitaktrakul (Question 2, Inserted Pictures, Editor of Paper), Kora Ferjuste (Question 1, Inserted Picture, Editor of Paper), Erin Keenan (Question 3, Inserted Pictures, Editor of Paper)

Question 1

Jeffrey Wigand’s character dealt with multiple factors of concealment and revelation. In the beginning, Wigand had honored and valued the principles that coincide with concealment. Wigand had a confidentiality agreement with the tobacco company in order to silence him from the tobacco case that was being built against the company. He lived a comfortable life with his family for the simple fact that he knew about a major secret but agreed to not tell anyone. Concealment was also demonstrated when a gag order, issued by a Kentucky court to Wigand on his trip to Mississippi in another attempt to silence him from speaking against the company. Wigand, however, he has multiple moments of revelation within the film.

It was first observed when Wigand went against his values of concealment and released information to CBS News that would destroy the company. According to Wigand, he said the company hid all their lawsuits and mislead consumers about the highly addictive nicotine so that they could continue to gain revenue from all the smokers. The principles of revelation were also demonstrated by Jeffrey Wigand when he decided to go to court regardless of his gag order giving to him from Kentucky. Wingand started a war with the company. He lost his job, family, and dignity. Wigand’s revelation of how corporate tobacco companies lied regarding the addictive effect of nicotine is manipulated through ammonia chemistry. This then allows nicotine to go quickly into the body through impact boosting. Wigand stood against the corporation regardless of the consequences he could be put under. However, he knew it was the moral action to take.

This also connects to the principle of concealment for the tobacco case because the information of addiction was hidden by these tobacco companies in court in order to avoid any cases being built against these companies until Wigand spoke up. Companies should have a sense of ethics and responsibility when it comes to their consumers instead of taking advantage of them. Without the theme of concealment and revelation, the tobacco case would have never been built, fought against, and won. Wigand, in the end, valued revelation over concealment knowing the benefits it will have for thousands of smokers over the United States that have died or have complications due to smoking and because of him, the company had to pay about 246 billion dollars in litigation settlements. According to the law, there are possibilities of someone breaking a non- disclosure agreement. In this case, the secrets of B&W cigarettes, if public health is in danger which it was.   (not exactly sure this partial sentence says what you wanted it to?)

The tobacco case went through a back and forth of concealment and revelation between Wigand and the tobacco company but was ultimately overpowered by Wigand’s power in revelation and strength against concealment. This raises a series of questions, what will big brand companies do when their companies are in danger even though the acts they are doing are wrong? Will these multi-billion corporations value concealment over the public’s well being? Should people risk their life when this happens in order to help for the greater good even though it might come with big consequences?

Question 2

Jeffrey Wigand’s non-disclosure agreement (NDA) hindered what information could be shared to the public concerning Brown & Williamson tobacco company. Towards the beginning of the film, when Wigand is confronted by Lowell Bergman, a reporter from CBS, he is hesitant about sharing any information to Bergman in fear that he would violate his confidential agreement. Wigand is eventually persuaded to go forth and take part in a recorded interview that was set to premiere on 60 Minutes to expose Brown and Williamson’s plans to make their cigarettes more addictive. After the interview, CBS News president Eric Kluster debated whether or not to cut Wigand’s interview out of the show after being warned by CBS’s legal counsel that there may be the risk of legal action from Brown & Williamson. This action would have affected the public’s knowledge of what dark secrets resided behind the doors of Brown & Williamson.

Wigand’s NDA allowed Brown & Williamson to decide what information is confidential, what is not, what can be shared, and what can’t. Additionally, the NDA is a legally binding contract of two parties as long as this company has Wigand’s signature in their possession. Therefore, legal action can be taken place.

The topic of NDAs that have recently unfolded in recent news is the case of Cliff Sims, who worked alongside President Donald Trump during his presidential campaign. Sims argued that Trump is using his campaign apparatus to seek retribution against federal employees who are writing and disclosing information about what it was like to work in the federal government and not as an employee of the campaign.

Although NDAs started off as a way for tech companies to keep their employees from sharing information regarding new tech developments, they’re also used today to keep employees of various companies from disclosing information that could jeopardize a company’s reputation. NDAs have expanded across the business landscape to places in the government that allow them to shield their employees from sharing misdeeds to the public. To those who walk the line of going against their agreement, the question remains, is telling the truth worth the consequences that are to come?

Question 3

The campaign to sabotage Wigand’s reputation involved selective individuals. John Scanlon and Terry Lenzner were hired by B&W to essentially attack Wigand’s stature. Their assignment was to organize and prepare a series of documentation that B&W could use to demolish Wigand’s reputation. Scanlon, a P.R. man, was constantly peddling false information on Wigand to the media. The media took counter arguments and released this information regardless. Watching this film gave a clear image to where large corporations priorities lie. Big corporations like B&W tend to completely ignore negative outcomes of their own actions in favor of the businesses success and profit. In addition, the corporation’s power tends to carry a huge responsibility to themselves and how the media portrays the business. Therefore, even though the film was dramatized and based on true events, the idea of power comes with responsibility and B&W was not taking part in that role. This film does not just put the lawsuit and situation in a negative light, but it also portrays business in a negative light.

In the movie and in modern times, media is fed information. McLuhan was known for the idea that the “medium is the message”. This is where not just what the media publishes but how they publish it. Whether the information is correct or not, citizens tune into who publicizes the information the fastest. However, in the film, there is respect for Bergman. He gave everything non-disclosure to pursue the truth, all while utilizing the rhetoric of ethos. He was working with a very credible source which should have allowed him to clear the air with the true facts. If the media took on this war in 2019, it would be hyperbolized to another degree. Every news station and social media platform would be covered with information regarding the case. Some media would be true and some false. P.R. is an intense stream of information and when it comes to profound wars like this, it will be publicized everywhere, whether it is true or false.

cbsnews.com

Question 4

The meeting between the CBS corporate workers discussed the possible interference of CBS becoming the third party interferer in the Wigand vs. Brown and Williamson Tobacco Company. The meeting is held by CBS’s general counsel, Helen Caperelli. She is dressed formally with her hair slicked back and accompanied by another man. The movie begins displaying a form of ethos in this sense since she is regarded by her job title and her choice of wear, insinuating that she is of reliable importance. She begins her argument using an ethos and logos approach stating legal jargon such as “tortious interference” and explaining to the group how they, the third party, could be potentially sued by one of the leading Big Tobacco companies for interfering in their confidentiality agreement with Wigand. Hewitt, Wallace, and Bergman respond stating that journalism is uncovering the truth and begin with an ethos approach; discussing how they often receive confidential information and how they’re required to verify the information before releasing it to the general public. Hewitt, Wallace, and Bergman are arguing that they work for a reliable network that has been put into legal situations before, that is what their job entails as Wallace states “that’s why we’ve never lost and we run a classy show”.

Hewitt later responds with an ethos approach reminding them of the consequences of Wigand’s statements. Although, because he is reliable and credible, he could cause him to breach the confidentiality agreement he had with Brown and Williamson. She then reiterates and ends the meeting by approaching the argument through a pathos approach stating how detrimental it is that the Wigand segment isn’t aired. In the film it is mentioned, “Well, at the end of the day, because of your segment, the Brown and Williamson Tobacco Company could own CBS”. By stating this, Caperelli is making it clear that everyone’s job is at risk. In addition, it reminds them how their personal lives would be jeopardized if their job is also threatened.

The Insider- Group 17- IDS3309

Hi Team #17, Well-done!  This seems like a good group effort to me. The writing is solid and excellent persuasive points are made throughout the essay. Good work.

Michael Eure

Maria De Los Angeles

Krystal Montoya

Adjany Kappen

Julia Thomas

Nathalie Bernal

The Insider

IDS 3309

February 26, 2019 

Question 1

The Insider’s main character, Jeffrey Wigand, could very easily be compared to a muckraker journalist. He attacks a big tobacco company by attempting to inform the public of secrets that these companies are keeping. Wigand agreed to discuss the scientific make up of cigarettes and the ingredients that these companies are adding into the product that they have pleaded ignorant about in court because he wanted to be able to consider himself a scientific man. After his termination from Brown and Williamson though, he was coerced to sign a non-disclosure agreement. The interview was cut because the tobacco industry threatened to file a lawsuit. As Wigand continued to be served with litigation, all of his noble efforts began to spiral downhill. The New York Times in some way steps in as a fellow muckraker that admonishes CBS for not running the interview. 

Throughout the movie Wigand faced enormous institutional pressures to not share the information he was obligated contractually to keep secret. Not only did the company he formerly worked for (B&W) fire him unreasonably, they began to constantly threaten him, and they eventually began to threaten his family. At first, these vile threats made Wigand afraid and anxious to share the information because he was internally conflicted with protecting his family which was his priority. His wife later filed for divorce due to all the threats and this was her attempt to keep her children and herself safe. Once this happened, Wigand decided to go forth with sharing his secret knowledge. His doubts basically dissipated because once his home life was destroyed, which was his biggest concern, he didn’t care about himself anymore. At this point, he just wanted to get the information out that the public deserved to know, and he wanted to get back at these big-shot CEOs for what they had done to him.

Concealment played a huge role in the cover up of what the Big Tobacco companies knew. During the film, clips of a court hearing demonstrate all the CEOs, also known as the seven dwarves, sworn in under oath lying about their consciousness of nicotine’s addictive properties and how it is essentially a drug. The big tobacco companies in the film, like many other companies and brands, use NDAs (non-disclosure agreements) to conceal and maintain secrets they do not want the public, the government, or anyone who isn’t on the inside to know. These secrets would virtually destroy their industry, so they use a government document to stop people from sharing any of this information. Although hundreds of people have attempted suing these companies for damages, medical expenses, and long-term pain and suffering, they win time after time by simply pulling out their wallets. These companies are the literal representation of lying and concealment in a corrupt manner. They are fully aware of what their product is doing and is capable of, yet they continue to put the people’s health at risk, not informing them of what chemicals are actually being put into the product because it keeps money flowing into their pockets.

The Insider
Image result for the insider

Question 2

Jeffry Wigand’s non-disclosure agreement (NDA) affects the flow of information because it stops him from giving information he believes is morally right to provide.Wigand sacrificed many things when he decided to talk to the press. Morally, he believes that he should share this information because it would benefit the American people who are being lied to by the big tobacco companies, but now he is cautious in sharing confidential information to avoid certain consequences like going to jail and not being able to get medical coverage for his daughter.

B&W has its employees sign this agreement so they can control what information flows in or out. These agreements stop any sensitive information from leaking and essentially these secrets allow them to lie. These documents also keep information, formulas, recipes, out of the hands of other companies who might want to use it for their own benefit. The NDA allows the company to sue the person who breaks the agreement in the contract, allows them to place a gag order on that person, and if that person decides to continue talking, they will be found in contempt of court and could face jail-time.Brown & Williamson’s argument for the NDA is that if contractually bound information were revealed, they would essentially lose customers and lose a lot of lawsuits.       

It is very rare for government officials to sign an NDA. Government information should be public as the citizens have a right to knowing what their elected officials are up to.Recently NDAs have been talked about and seen a lot in the Trump Administration. President Trump, unlike many that held office before him, asks any officials that work in the White House to sign an NDA. This has been receiving a lot of backlash as many agree that government officials are meant to serve the public, an NDA would violate that common “law” very easily. 

Question 3

Marshall McLuhan stated that the “medium is the message”, meaning that the way you send the message is more important than the actual message itself. The medium affects the way the audience can interpret the message. The primary form of media utilized by both Scanlon/Lenzner and Palladino is television. The use of television provides the viewers to see whomever is speaking. They are given the opportunity to read body language to fully understand the message. This can affect the audience’s interpretation completely because if they see that the speaker is being earnest, then they will believe it more. In the case of both Scanlon/Lenzner and Palladino, the audience seeing their responses gave them the opportunity to decide who they want to believe.

If this war over Wigand’s reputation had occurred in 2018, today’s media definitely would have affected it because it would have spread to a wider audience than it did. The media has grown so much since the release of this movie that there are multiple different platforms that can be used to tarnish one’s reputation. Especially when it comes to whistleblowing. People nowadays have very torn opinions; they either appreciate it because it is bringing something to their attention that was hidden, or they consider it as a negative. Reputations are easily stained in this day and age because once you say one thing to turn the public against you, many different things that you may have said that have been problematic in the past start coming to light. A modern-day example of this is when Trump had begun his presidency campaign and everyone who was against him started pointing out the bad things that he had done in the past. Trump was saying multiple problematical things and many of his enemies decided to attack by releasing more things that would further tear apart his reputation.

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Question 4

In the film, The Insider, Helen Caperelli, CBS Corporate counsel meets with journalist Lowell Bergman, host Mike Wallace, and producer Don Hewitt to discuss claims of tortious interference. In this scene, all characters utilize rhetoric, rhetorical questions, diction and allusion to display their emotions on the imposition of tortious interference with an overall tone of satire.

Right from the start, we see Don Hewitt stop writing to listen to Caperelli when she mentions the words “tortious interference”. Once Caperelli defines tortious interference, Hewitt responds by asking a rhetorical question, “Interfering? That’s what we do.” Hewitt’s purpose in his use of this satirical question was to make the argument and criticize the claims in posing the assumption of the journalists being in violation of tortious interference, hence journalists’ jobs are to report valuable information. Another example of Hewitt’s rhetorical questions would be when he said, “Why? You think we have liability?” This is not meant to receive a straight answer from Caperelli, but instead to bait her into arguing.

To inform the three media workers about tortious interference, Caperelli uses diction to explain to them what they are in breach of. In the film, she says, “… I might add, that’s already rife with problems…And I’m told there are questions as to our star witness’ veracity.” The diction used in these examples is meant to set her point of view towards the imperious jurisdiction and to lead her into her argument of what the journalists violated and why they shouldn’t air the story.

Bergman uses an allusion, “Is this Alice in Wonderland?”, to exaggerate implications of the damage they might receive. Referring to a well-known children’s story, Bergman expresses his feelings of the absurdity towards Caperelli’s statement about the amount of damages and veracity. 

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/FefEF0PYVw8eMhd1v2tosXMAjNsr65L64TJoABAwt92EV1lxKkFEflVQfOl_cLMyBWXCqcESQiGe6rxdSXTFb7ITOHQSOGF5dKWCYodIl32ICmngjGGv29L45-Lnc1fL9JHo9Jz4

Credits:

Question answers were a group effort and contribution on behalf of:

Michael Eure

Maria De Los Angeles

Krystal Montoya

Adjany Kappen

Julia Thomas

Editing: Nathalie Bernal

The Insider Assignment- Alexandra Bello, Lailah Johnson, Laurenth Espitia, Shantall Suarez, and Yesenia Montenotte- Team 16

Hi Team #16,  Good work, very coherent post. Good persuasive argument, good detail and writing. Excellent points throughout the essay. Well-done!

 

1. Lowell Bergman is a man who has moral values and wants nothing more than to showcase the truth. Throughout the movie, he is shown working around the clock in order to get the story out about Brown and Williamson Tobacco company. When Bergman receives the box of stolen information regarding confidential information about a tobacco company he tried to contact Wigand. Although Wigand was hesitant at first, Bergman finally was able to get through to him. The film shows Bergman’s persistence and drive to always try to do the right thing. The executives at CBS were essentially threatened by the legal team. They were told that if they aired the Jeffrey Wigand interview in its entirety, they would potentially face litigation from the tobacco company. When the president of CBS News, Eric Ober, decided not to air the full interview Bergman became suspicious and went on to find out about Ober’s desire to sell CBS to Westinghouse. The executives at CBS decided to conceal the information that the public needed to know about in order to preserve a $5.4 billion merger between the two companies. The information that would have been revealed if the full interview had been aired was of public health concern but they were still willing to omit the facts that could save millions of lives. “60 Minutes” decided to air an edited version of the interview that did not reveal all of the harmful practices taking place within the tobacco company. Bergman fought for the full interview to be aired showcasing his dedication to their duty as journalists and not as businessmen.

When it became clear to Lowell Bergman that CBS was not going to air the story that needed to be told he contacted a friend he had at The New York Times. Bergman gave them all of the information on Jeffrey Wigand’s case as well as the situation at CBS and their unwillingness to air the full interview. The article titled, “Self-Censorship at CBS” was published and profoundly ridiculed the staff of 60 minutes for bowing under corporate pressure. The article explains that the First Amendment freedom of press protects newspapers and allows them to put out information if it is factual and especially if it concerns the safety of the public. It basically explained that CBS executives are a group of greedy cowards. The New York Times article concludes by saying that the failure to air the interview due to corporate pressures has tarnished the legacy of Edward R. Murrow, a pioneer of radio and television news broadcasting. This was the true intent of Lowell Bergman. (period) capital He he had the ethics of Edward Murrow etched into his brain and was disgusted by the realization that his colleagues were willing to forgo their morals and journalistic duty for the sake of money and money alone.

2. Jeffrey Wigand’s non-disclosure agreement (NDA) was a legal document signed by him and his former employers preventing him from sharing sensitive information related to the addictive nature of tobacco products and nicotine. Therefore, he could not talk about the medical effects of tobacco or any other information that could reflect his former company employer in a bad light. He was restricted in just how much information he could divulge about the true nature of the company’s products.

NDAs are meant to protect specific information usually in the corporate industry related to the performance or effects of specific products or services. While Brown and Williamson were engaged in the manufacture of harmful products, the NDA ensured that Wigand could not harm the business by exposing the nature of its products (Mann, 1999). Therefore, they could justify their agreement with him based on the effects of his sharing that same information would have on their company.

Recently, Harvey Weinstein who is an affluent film industry investor in the United States used NDAs to silence some of his past employees about issues related to his behavior while contractually bound to them. Harvey’s company employed several actresses and other female employees such as Zelda Perkins who is his assistant. She along other women came forward to report him after their contracts expired for sexual harassment. Harvey used NDAs to silence them stating that his relationship with them was not open to the public or private investigation.

Based on the developments of Harvey Weinstein’s sexual harassment case, alongside the perspective created by the film ‘The Insider,’ the implications of NDAs for government employees are serious. Government employees must refrain from breaking NDAs because some of the secretive information related to governments can be life-threatening. Additionally, governments seek to conceal specific information for the sake of their security and that of the citizens.

3. At one point people religiously depended on the radio, TV and the newspaper for their daily news. However, being in a technology advanced generation, people have become authors, editors, and publishers of their own work from having the ability to access anything at their own fingertips. Both investigative teams utilized the forms of media that they had available to them at the time. They used the traditional methods of digging up one’s past which is usually easy as most information is kept as public record. They simply had to go to a library to find any legal records on Jeffrey Wigand or they would have to go to a city hall or district court to request any information they wanted. In 2018, it is even easier with the advent of Google. Each time a character uses a medium, it creates an even more impactful message on the importance of the media and the role it plays for society.

If this war over Wigand’s reputation would have occurred in 2018, today’s media would’ve completely had a different effect and reaction. Due to the amount of exposure that currently exists today, it is difficult to determine what and who is reliable and credible. Whether a person is educated or not, everyone has the ability to share their opinions. This allows anyone to publish fake news. With this in mind, the United States has laws that protect citizens from defamation, libel, and slander. Exposure isn’t always bad, it can also have a positive effect on people. In Wigand’s case, the war over his reputation would have become a trial of public opinion. The news often publishes whatever they get their hands on for the sake of ratings and this mad dash for content would have had a profound impact on the trial. It could also cause people to be aware of the cause in action. In this case, a larger amount of people would’ve considered quitting smoking, protesting, petitioning, creating a movement and a hashtag on Instagram. Wigand’s whistleblowing could’ve created a name for this wave of change in society.

4. The meeting with CBS corporate results in Bergman and Hewitt getting into an argument over tortious interference and its implications. Bergman uses the rhetoric logos, to assert his point that there are vested interests to sell CBS to Westinghouse. He does so by using evidence found supporting his assertion, quoting lines from an SEC filing. Reading the lines from the document, Bergman then goes onto apply logic to his argument, saying how there is potential vested interest to push for this motion of selling CBS. Bergman continues to build onto his argument by going further on to mention how the company is illogical and bends the truth by refusing to air Wigand speaking the truth, adding in how “the more truth he tells, the worse it gets”. From this, it can be said that Bergman’s audience is the public and the newsman, as he is defending what he does for a living, which is preserving the truth to any situation so he can report it.

On Hewitt’s side of the argument, he defends himself by using the rhetoric ethos and focuses his attention on the reputation of the company talking about how Bergman is a “fanatic” and an “anarchist”. Hewitt also questions Bergman in terms of CBS’s journalistic integrity. Rarely speaking throughout the conversation, Bergman mainly tries to justify the actions taken through the reputation of the company while he constantly denies Hewitt’s argument and focuses on bashing him. Hewitt then begins talking about the future events and conversations that will take place if CBS is sold, where Bergman denies it, saying that Hewitt is “exaggerating”.  Bergman implies that Hewitt will not be satisfied unless he puts “the company at risk”. Based off of this situation, it is clear that Bergman’s audience is mainly Hewitt, as he aims to battle against Hewitt’s argument through his character. Overall, they use different modes of rhetoric to go against each other in the meeting.

 

Works Cited

Brenner, Marie. “Jeffrey Wigand: The Man Who Knew Too Much.” The Hive, Vanity Fair, 31 Jan. 2015.

Dean, Michelle. “Contracts of Silence.” Columbia Journalism Review, 2018.

Ebert, Roger. “The Insider Movie Review & Film Summary (1999) | Roger Ebert.” RogerEbert.com, Brian Grazer, 5 Nov. 1999.

Mann, M. (Director). (1999). The Insider [Motion picture]. United States: Touchstone Pictures, Spyglass Entertainment.

Myers, Scott, and Scott Myers. “Great Scene: ‘The Insider’ – Go Into The Story.” Go Into The Story, Go Into The Story, 3 May 2017.

“Self-Censorship at CBS.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 12 Nov. 1995.

 

Alexandra Bello– Responsible for question #4 and edited the whole paper.

Lailah Johnson– Responsible for question #1 and edited the whole paper.

Laurenth Espita– Responsible for question #2.

Shantall Suarez– Responsible for question #3.
S
Yesenia Montenotte– Responsible for question #1, edited the whole paper and added media and citations.

Team Assignment #2 The Insider

Hi Team 15, good job overall but I don’t see any images. If you send them to me in a word document I can include them in your grade. Good persuasive argument and good writing style. You covered the material very well. Good points made throughout!

1. The mainstream media often face enormous challenges in trying to give audiences an accurate picture of the world. For individual journalists, there are extraordinary pressures and obstacles to getting at the truth and telling the stories audiences want and need.

You may select Jeffrey Wigand, 60 Minutes host Mike Wallace, producer Lowell Bergman, executive producer Don Hewitt, the Wall Street Journal editor who helped stop the smear or the NY Times reporter who exposed the inside story on how CBS handled the Wigand affair.

All of these people had significant personal and institutional pressures, some more than others. Please do not select your character because you believe everyone will write about that person. No team can analyze this case the same as someone else unless they cheat.

Your essay should focus on how the principles and values of concealment and revelation apply to the tobacco case or the case at CBS News. 500 words. (Lauren & Carlos)

Jeffrey Wigan faced numerous amounts of pressure in his attempt to morally inform the public about the addictive properties along with the harmful effects of tobacco products sold by tobacco companies. Throughout the film, “The Insider” principles and values of concealment and revelation could easily be applied in the Tobacco Case. Even though Wigand had signed a contract with the tobacco company Brown & Williamson, he was unable to speak about anything he knew about the company by law. He continued to ponder the idea of speaking out about what “Big Tobacco” wanted to be kept a secret. The following questions are crucial when analyzing how the principles and values of concealment and revelation apply to the case: why was it so important for the company to make Wigand keep quiet?  Why was secrecy necessary? And most importantly, what are the consequences of Wigand’s desire to expose “Big Tobacco’s” secrets to the public?

            A Whistle Blower’s Job is not synonymous to a leaker. A leaker is classified as the anonymous source for unauthorized disclosure of any information.  A whistleblower makes a public interest disclosure and may be either anonymous or public. In the film, “The Insider, Wigand was a whistleblower whose mission was to inform the public on “Big Tobacco’s” secret information on the addiction to nicotine. It was important for the company to keep Wigand quiet because they knew that their reputation would be tarnished once the public knew the truth. Wigand (who was an executive before he was fired), knew the companies’ CEOs lied in front of Congress. In the Tobacco case, they denied nicotine being addictive and harmful for consumers and wanted to conceal the fact that their cigarettes go through a process called “boosting” which is the manipulation and enhancing of nicotine.  The secrecy was necessary due to the company’s image being at stake.

    Just like in the tobacco case, many whistleblowers face obstacles and pressures when wanting to reveal the truth to the public. For instance, Wigand suffered many consequences when working to expose “Big Tobacco’s” secrets.  Prior to his 60 Minutes interview, he received a death threat aimed to him and his family from “Big Tobacco” as well as having his reputation tarnished. According to Karen Higginbottom’s article, “The Price of Being A Whistleblower”, whistleblowers often suffer with their mental health due to the consequences of revealing secret information to the public.

In conclusion, the principles values of concealment and revelation apply to the tobacco case. Wigand, who was a whistleblower on exposing “Big Tobacco’s” secret, faced enormous amounts of pressure when bringing the truth to the public all the while he faced serious retaliation by the Brown & Williamson Company in the attempt to keep him quiet.

2. How does Jeffry Wigand’s non-disclosure agreement (NDA) affect the flow of information in The Insider? What legitimate argument, if any, could Brown and Williamson (B&W) make in support of the agreement? What NDAs have recently been used in the public sector? Using the critical perspective, what are the implications of NDAs for government employees? 300 words. (Cody & Colin)

In the film The Insider, Jeffrey Wigand’s non-disclosure agreement creates a dilemma in his revealing of the tobacco industry’s knowledge of the health risks of its products and practices. He held back from disclosing information at first because he did not want to risk losing his severance package and health care, which his family depended on. However, the aftershock of Wigand’s NDA extended far beyond Mr. Wigand himself. CBS initially aired an interview that excluded Wigand’s involvement, after pressure from the CBS legal department noted the severe legal battle they could face from Brown and Williamson (B&W) if CBS were to air it. I do not believe that B&W should have had a legal leg to stand on with Wigand’s NDA because it was attempting to cover up information that was harming to the health of the public, a conflicting motive in comparison to critical theory. The critical theory developed in association with The Frankfurt School establishes that “a theory is critical to the extent that it; seeks human emancipation from slavery, acts as a liberating influence and works to create a world which satisfies the needs and powers of human beings.” (Cody)

As for a recent example of NDAs being used in the public sector, we can look no farther than the campaign of President Donald Trump. According to an article from The New Yorker, one of Trump’s campaign employees, Alva Johnson, claims she suffered “racial and gender discrimination” during her time working for the campaign. Apparently, Johnson’s suit is “at least the sixth legal case in which Trump campaign or Administration employees have defied their nondisclosure agreements.” Though many politicians use this tactic to minimize political damage, President Trump happens to be its most prominent perpetrator. The implications of NDAs for government employees can be kind of a gray area. On the one hand, they should be enforced if national security or secrets are on the line and could potentially harm the country or government. However, if they are only used to cover up crimes or bad deeds by high-ranking officials, they can be a dangerous tool used for the wrong purpose. This is the same exact way the NDAs were being used by B&W. They wanted to silence Wigand with this document, as well as death threats, so he can’t reveal that they had the intentions of making their cigarettes more addictive. (Colin)

3. John Scanlon and Terry Lenzner were hired by B&W to attack Wigand’s reputation. Jack Palladino and his team of investigators were hired by Richard Scruggs to counter their allegations. Using McLuhan as a lens, analyze the forms of media used by both Scanlon/Lenzner and Palladino. If this war over Wigand’s reputation had occurred in 2018, would today’s media have made things different? If so, how? 300 words. (Georgina)

The media used by Scanlon/Lenzner and Palladino varies from print to television. Scanlon and Lenzner try to discredit Wigand’s reputation through the Wall Street Journal so no one would ever listen to what Wigand has to say about tobacco. They both first use print as their form of media with their 500-page dossier that states how Wigand pleaded guilty as a shoplifter, how he’s a wife beater and ignored his child support duties, how he got ticketed for running red lights, along with other accusations. Their second form of media is television, where they publicly announce the 500-page dossier on the WLKO local news station.

Jack Palladino and his team went around interviewing people who were part of the accusations such as the judge who oversaw the child support case and the police officer who cited Wigand for running a red traffic light. Their form of media was also print. They compiled all their findings into a folder that was handed off to Charlie Phillips who worked for The Wall Street Journal. That folder contained all their leads and sources that contradict what was in the 500-page dossier, proving Wigand’s innocence. The dossier is later dismissed in The Wall Street Journal as “the worst kind of organized smear campaign against a whistleblower,” and “the lowest form of character assassination.”

If the war over Wigand’s reputation had occurred today, the media that would have the most impact in making a difference would be Social Media. With today’s social media platforms, the public that’s hearing about how there’s some sort of health issue regarding Big Tobacco companies’ cigarettes can demand to know the truth. They have the freedom to state their opinions online and share posts with others. Since it’s about such a huge company, the issue would most likely get huge exposure around the world. This can cause people to start protesting, boycotting, or even act violently towards Big Tobacco.

4. In the film, Bergman, Wallace, and Hewitt attend a meeting with CBS Corporate.  CBS general counsel Helen Caperelli informs them of “tortious interference” and its implications for the 60 Minutes Wigand piece. Provide a detailed analysis of the rhetoric used by the participants in the meeting. For each speaker, who is their intended audience, and how do they use the modes of rhetoric? 300 words. (Josh)

In the meeting between Bergman, Wallace, and Hewitt and the CBS Corporate, both sides try to persuade the other to either airing the 60-minute Wigand piece or not. In this discussion, Bergman, Wallace, and Hewitt try to convince Helen (The CBS general counsel) and her board by using rhetoric to show the risky piece on the case of Cigarettes being bad for you. Helen explains “Tortious Interference” and what the consequences would be. Wallace tries to convince them by using logos in saying “interfering? That’s what we do “to steer his point which could easily create an argument for itself considering they work for a news network that is supposed to provide information for the public. To add onto what Wallace says, Bergman explains “this happens all the time, people are always telling us things they shouldn’t”, he also uses logos. Both intended audiences are the board in stating the obvious and reminding them of the true purpose of the show. To try to persuade the board a little more, Hewitt comes back by saying  “After we corroborate it that’s why we never lost a lawsuit and run a classy show”, the team as a whole continuously try to convince the board using ethos, by expressing that news business is risky and its nothing they have not done before. Helen explains through pathos “The greater the truth the greater the damage” this could be for both sides if the whole truth is told and the case is lost the cigarette companies could end up owning CBS, but on the contrary, if the cigarette company losses it could seriously damage the company. Helen’s audience is to company managers. She is speaking on behalf of the company’s CEO and does not want to change the business being lost in court.

Editor: Lauren Bedevia

Source used

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nondisclosure-agreements>. Higginbottom, Karen. “The Price of Being A Whistleblower.” Forbes. 23 Feb. 2017. Forbes Magazine. 26 Feb. 2019 <https://www.forbes.com/sites/karenhigginbottom/2017/02/18/the-price-of-being-a-whistleblower/#4090ed355b52&gt;.