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.

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.


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