The Insider Team 1

Overall, very good. The last question was a little rocky, but still managed a good analysis. 

 

Fine work.

 

William Hess

Group 1

Question 1 (William):

Throughout the movie, “The Insider,” and the article, “The Man Who Knew Too Much,” Jefferey Wigand demonstrates one of the biggest examples of our relationship regarding concealment and revelation. We can see the many aspects and consequences when one knows and attempts to reveal a secret that’s kept between parties. In this case, the main insiders of the secret are Jefferey Wigand and the Brown and Williamson tobacco company. There will also be outsiders who later become insiders such as Lowell Bergman and the Mississippi state government that want to reveal this secret

Jefferey Wigand faces many obstacles when B&W finds out that he is threatening to reveal the whole tobacco industries long kept secret that cigarettes are addictive. This secret would cost the industry millions of dollars for health problems associated with smoking. However, Wigand was conflicted with himself for many years as too whether he should reveal the secret. This is partly due because he knew that if he did reveal it, his life would forever change. However, he felt it was necessary to do it because of his values as a scientist and a human being.

 

Wigand’s life begins to turn upside down as soon as B&W assumes he will reveal the secret.  In the beginning, his private life changes. He is fired, forced out of his home, and is threatened many times by B&W physically, emotionally, and financially. Later, as the conflict unravels, he is separated from his daughters and divorced by his second wife. As the event becomes more public, he constantly receives phone calls for interviews, questions from his legal team, and calls of harassment. B&W will later hire a group of people to do background checks on all of Wigand’s past to find and falsify things he did that would question his credibility as a source. At its peak, he will be all over the news and his private life will be forever lost.

As you can see, Wigand’s life completely changed when he revealed this secret. This demonstrates how at times we may use secrecy to protect ourselves. In terms of Wigand, his private, personal, and financial life were all protected. With B&W, their freedom from government regulation as well as their profits in the tobacco industry was also protected. It also demonstrates how Wigand and B&W each have a position of power threatening to one another.

We are also introduced to the outsiders: Bergman, an investigative journalist, and the Mississippi state government. Each of them wants to penetrate the secret for their own reasons. Bergman wants to do it because it’s what he does as an investigative journalist: reveal to the people when harm is done to the public in secrecy. The Mississippi state government, along with other state governments, wants the secret so that they can get reimbursements worth millions of dollars from the tobacco industry for health expenses associated with smoking. As you can see, these are some principles regarding concealment and revelation when secrecy is involved.

Question 2 (Katherine & Karina):

The non-disclosure agreement that Jeffery Wigand signed with Brown & Williamson had many effects on the flow of information throughout the movie “The Insider.” Initially, due to the threat posed by the non-disclosure agreement, Wigand was frightened of speaking to Bergman. However, when he finally decided to do so, he started by discussing information that wasn’t covered by the NDA. Wigand did this to work around the NDA because he must make sure what he says is regarded as a public record when he testifies in the deposition case against Brown & Williamson. In the process of doing so, B&W uses their powerful legal team to try and stop him by arguing that the information he testified with was rightfully owned by B&W.

Contracts of Silence discusses how those with power use NDAs to maintain their reputation, however, it also discusses how difficult they can be to enforce. However, when one has a more powerful legal team they have more power, tricks, and loopholes to enforce such agreements. Excellent point.  B&W initially believed that they could argue that their agreement was a signed and legally binding contract that covered everything Wigand might’ve said. However, as Wigand became more suspicious, they began to realize that it wouldn’t be enough. This was demonstrated as they attempted to coerce Wigand to sign a more expansive agreement. Good. 

Under the current presidential administration, incoming White House aides are required to sign NDAs regarding their work. These employees are especially required to stay silent about what happens over the course of their employment when compared to other governmental administrations. This means that if they were to break the NDA while employed as a White House aide, they would likely have to face one of the most more powerful legal teams in the world: the federal government and the president.

Question 3 (Michelle):

“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. Good. 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. Excellent. 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.

Question 4 (Catalina & Karina):

The Insider movie is a film with ethical dilemmas and controversy. Ethical dilemmas because of Brown and Morrison’s Williamson’s determination to keep research information about nicotine’s 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. Good observation.  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 I think you mean Wigand? 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 not 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 storytelling the whole truth, they understand that the most important matter is honesty, especially with their audiences. Maybe not Hewitt, or even Wallace. 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.

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The Ghost in the Shell Group 1

Question 1 (William Hess):

1a) In its covert activities dealing with the puppet master, does section 9 go too far? Explain

In terms of Section 9’s covert activities dealing with the Puppet Master, I don’t believe they went too far. The Puppet Master was essentially a hacking weapon that was created to manipulate an information technology-based society from within and leave no trace. This is a huge dilemma because governments or people with bad intentions could therefore abuse such a weapon and destroy societies, start wars, and commit other illegal acts in their favor. Also, all of Section 9’s covert activities didn’t involve civilian casualties and for the most part were done in off-hours. outside ant busy hours. For example, the car chase scene where Section 9 controlled the lights, bridges, and road blocks didn’t have civilian casualties.

1b) Is the Government ever justified in violating its own laws to ensure the Safety of its citizens? If so, what examples can you provide, either from the film or real life.

The Government should never be justified in violating its own laws when ensuring the safety of its citizens. An effective democratic government and society should have laws and regulations from the get-go to protect its citizens and prevent any future instances where breaking the law is necessary. A good example of this is was when former president George W. Bush enacted the Patriot Act in 2001 in response to the Sept. 11 attacks. It was a clear abusive power of government oversight that was meant to improve “Homeland Security” through unconstitutional means of surveillance. Many critics argue it didn’t significantly prevent other acts of terrorism from occurring and was just a scapegoat for the government to extend its power and conduct illegal surveillance. Well written and argued.

1c) Is a government ever justified in keeping secret its violations of the law? Explain and give an example.

The Government isn’t justified in keeping its violations of the law secretive because any action conducted by the government in secrecy should be within its jurisdiction. An example of this would be when former president Barack Obama oversaw the special operations mission to assassinate Osama Bin Laden. In the early stages of the mission, only a few high ranked officials and Seal Team 6 were informed. All the president’s actions in the mission were done in secrecy and none was unconstitutional. However, he did keep the mission secret from the public. This is okay because informing the public could have alerted Bin Laden beforehand and could have led to him fleeing. Nonetheless, once the mission was concluded and Bin Laden was confirmed dead, president Obama released the news to the public and made it clear that all the steps taken were constitutional. With that being said, anything a government does in secrecy should be within its jurisdiction and should only be secretive if it is required to prevent war, keep its citizens safe, or preserve national security. Good.

 

Question 2 (William):

How is information technology used in the world of Ghost in the Shell to influence and control behavior and perception?

Cyborgs are the main example in “Ghost in the Shell” of the use of that uses information technology to influence and control behavior and perception. This is mostly demonstrated in by the main character, Motoko Kusanagi. She is a cyborg that was made by a secret organization that can travel through the “net” whenever she plugs into it. When she plugs in, she can speak directly to other cyborgs as well as hack a variety of systems such as a GPS without her physical body. However, there is an interesting aspect to this. Motoko’s ability to do these things are through her “ghost,” which would be identical to the concept of the “soul.” Even though she is entirely synthetic and created by a company, she has memories that are “special” to her. (Batou claims her brain is organic, though she isn’t certain) This is important because she emphasizes that memories make up an individual and it influences her to believe that she exists as an individual despite being artificial. Motoko also shows the human emotion of fear. For example, she understands that if she were to “retire,” she would essentially be shut down along with as all her memories and destroy her present form as a “ghost.” This means that she fears “dying” because she doesn’t know what that would feel like or what would come after it. In other words, she is worried about leaving the known and going into the unknown. This is the same fear about death that human beings express even though Motoko is a cyborg. This demonstrates how information technology influences and controls behavior and perception. Since the company gives Motoko the capacity to think and make logical decisions on her own, she inevitably becomes a slave to the company. She is aware that she has free will not too follow orders, however, also understands that if she doesn’t then she will be disassembled and terminated immediately. Thus, she is put in a never-ending cycle of forcefully following orders to survive and is essentially controlled by the company through the fear of death despite being a machine. Interesting analysis.

 

Question 3 (Karina von Gundlach)

In his essay, Deresiewicz argues “…that solitude enables us to secure the integrity of the self as well as to explore it.”

a. How does Major Kusanagi utilize solitude? What insight does it give her?

In Ghost in the Shell, Major Kusanagi uses sinking in the ocean as a symbol to find solitude within herself, and her ability to discern. In that moment, Motoko Kusanagi reflects and thinks about her life. Even though, Major Kusanagi knows that she is a cyborg, she understands that she has the ability to feel and reflect upon her emotions. Therefore, even though Major Kusanagi was created by a company, and is recognized as being artificial, she has the ability to feel emotions every time she has memories that are “special” to her. Major Kusanagi feels that every time she is alone, she has the ability to feel her individuality. The insights of self-recognition and self-awareness gives Major Kusanagi a better understanding that she has free will to not follow orders. (Interesting connection. Good catch.) The sinking in the ocean scene reflects the exploration of Kusanagi’s true identity. Therefore, solitude can be seen in the moments when Kusanagi is sinking in the ocean, and reflecting on her behavior and perception as an individual, not as a machine.

 

 

b. Is Deresiewicz right when he says we are approaching a time when information technology makes solitude socially undesirable, or even impossible? Has that time already occurred in the world of the film? Explain your answer.

 

Deresiewicz states that we are approaching a time when information technology makes solitude socially undesirable or even impossible. Nowadays, we live in a modern world where technology is in control of society. Technology has changed the 21st century completely, and social media is taking control over human behavior and perception. Nowadays, every person in the world owns a phone, computer and social media. Therefore, solitude is becoming undesirable, and technology is becoming the main priority, when we are alone. Even though, a person is actually alone, the internet will always provide us to connect with our friends and loved ones through text, video calls and social media platforms. In Ghost in the Shell, with the advance of cybernetic technology, solitude is socially undesirable. In 2029, technology has augmented the human brain into a cyber brain that allows access to the internet and other networks. Therefore, in that world solitude is socially undesirable, due to the advancement of technology.

 

 

Question 4 (Isette Rodriguez). The movie was based on a manga originally published in 1989.

a. Various forms of media (using McLuhan’s definition of a medium as “an extension of ourselves”) have had an impact on the way people use, create, store, access, and communicate information. Give 3 historical examples of such media and describe their impact.

 

Various forms of media have had an impact on the way people use, create, store, access, and communicate information. Three in particular historical examples of such media could be the telephone, the computer, and the internet. The telephone, made in 1876 by Alexander Graham Bell, was one of the first major societal impacts. The invention had an impact towards the idea of communication that one can instantly connect with others around the world at great distances. The telephone made businesses more efficient, saved money in the economy, and developed the process of transactions. There had been many different forms of the computer by the modern-day version of what we know as the computer came in later years. The impact on society, especially businesses, was immense. The computer allowed work to be done in much less time, more information could be stored into small devices, easier to access date, and information could be kept more confidential. A while after the invention of the computer along came the invention of the internet. The internet continued to develop media by impacting society in economic, social, and political changes. Creating billions of users from different communities and cultures to be able to interact in their daily life. Good overview. 

 

 

b. Select the one medium that has appeared after 1989 which has had the greatest impact on the information landscape. Explain.

 

One medium that has appeared after 1989 which has had the greatest impact on the information landscape could be the internet. The internet’s impact spread across economic, societal, and political realms. Economically, the internet made significant cost savings in many sectors, resulting in faster productivity growth. The internet also produced lower prices for consumers, resulting in faster growth in living standards. Within society, the internet allowed various people from different communities and cultures to interact with each other in their daily lives. In politics, the impact of social media applications such as Facebook, Twitter, etc. began to take a huge part in elections. The rise of social media had a positive impact on the participation and interest in political affairs. Technically, the Internet has existed since the 1960’s. However, I suspect you mean the World Wide Web, which brought the Internet to millions of people. That aside, a good analysis.

c. How might the technology in answer 4b, above, have affected the story?

The internet is augmented in the year 2029. The internet helped facilitate the cyber brain. Therefore, the cyber brain allows access to the internet and other networks. In the story, the internet has become a purpose to function in society. (Not sure what this means) It has increased the human brain and knowledge. The internet and the advancement of technology have become the essential tool tools to access the creation of cybernetic technology. The internet affected the story by increasing unlimited access to technology. Technology, or information?

 

https://www.history.com/topics/inventions/alexander-graham-bell

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048733302000690

https://www.history.com/topics/inventions/invention-of-the-pc

 

 

 

Final Essay Thesis Draft

Approved.

Final Essay Thesis Draft

Group 1

Although there would be worldwide coverage on Indonesia’s recent earthquakes and tsunami’s, it wouldn’t be generating the emotional connection or live coverage it has without social media.

Thesis Statement

Approved

 

Catalina Nemmi

Group 1

 

Efforts to lift strict abortion laws in Argentina resulted largely through the work of the feminist group, Ni Una Menos, in raising awareness about violence against women. Argentina’s Senate is now voting on the legalization of abortion up to 14 weeks.

Thesis Statement on Ford-Kavanaugh case. Karina von Gundlach

Karina,

Topic is fine, but you need a specific event for the thesis: the testimony of Ford, or Kavanaugh’s rebuttal, the Ramirez story, FBI investigation, etc.

 

Brett Kavanaugh confirmed to Supreme Court after two women have come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct. Both Ramirez and Ford called for an FBI investigation into their allegations, but Republicans have denied that request. Dr. Ford’s allegations were documented by her therapist in notes from sessions in 2012 and 2013, in which Ford talked about a “rape attempt” and being attacked by students from an elitist boys school. According to the New Yorker Ramirez told the New Yorker that Kavanaugh exposed himself to her in a drinking game at a freshman-year college part at Yale. Kavanaugh denied the allegations, due to sufficient evidence on his behalf and was still confirmed by Supreme Court as Associate Justice.

Final Essay Thesis

Michelle –

The topic is fine, but you need to narrow the thesis to a specific event: the FBI investigation, Kavenaugh’s testimony, a Trump speech, a protest, etc.

 

Michelle Abril

Team 1

Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination will change the court, but the question is how and to what degree. The media’s coverage of Kavanaugh’s nomination and the allegations against him are imposing and erratic. Establishment media outlets repeatedly bungled their coverage of Kavanaugh, spreading misinformation as a result. Impulsion and the rhetorical appeal of statements by the media on the Supreme Court and Brett Kavanaugh have been working on the persuasion of “key issues” and his nomination being exacerbated.

Assignment 3

William –

 

Excellent work. Thoughtful, reflective, and solid connections to Deresiewicz. Prose is good, but you could tighten your writing by omitting needless words. 

 

Assignment 3

Group 1

In Deresiewicz’s article, “End of Solitude,he examines how our current postmodern society fears and has lost the value of solitude. However, in previous time periods such as Romanticism, the idea of solitude was culturally salient. This newfound fear of solitude is caused by the changes of our contemporary self wants. Today, they’re celebrity and connectivity. In other words, becoming Becoming recognized and visible by others which in turn gives us a sense of validation. This of course is possible through social media such as Twitter, Facebook, and instant messaging. These social media platforms allow us to be connected to thousands if not millions of people all the time.

This constant connection thus allows individuals to avoid solitude or– as society refers to it –being alone. Once people become disconnected from the world, they notice immediately and begin to panic. However, Deresiewicsz believes solitude shouldn’t be feared, but welcomed. He believes solitude is essential to develop an in-depth understanding of the self, stronger communities, increased attention spans, and self-integrity allowing people to resist the vices of society. Nonetheless, he acknowledges that solitude leads to unpopularity and, to some extent, anonymity. Yet, he believes that these two things have value. to them.

After reading Deresiewicsz’s article, I don’t think that the author’s argument in terms of constantly wanting to be connected all the time applies to me. I have a Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram; however, I check them roughly once every week. The friends and followers I do have are my family, longtime friends, people I’ve interacted with numerous times, and who are significant in my life. I send roughly 50 text messages a day and they’re mostly to my family and closest friends. Thus, I see myself more towards embracing solitude and acknowledging its significance. This does mean I’m not the most popular person; but it has its benefits.

Lastly, after conducting the 48-hour experiment, I learned some things about myself. At first, I really missed not being able to watch, read, or talk about the latest events occurring in my fields of interest. However, instead of fighting the urge to check, I focused on doing all my school assignments. When I finished, I would think about certain things happening in my life or watch old T.V. shows on Netflix. As I finished everything for the day, I began to get a feeling of boredom and isolation. I felt it was time to come back to reality and be informed about current global events, especially ones that affect my family, friends, or me.

After the experiment, I realized the importance of news. If we are shut off from different points of view, we are limited to only our own view point and reality. Interesting. This prevents us from developing a greater capacity to think for ourselves, the ability to dissect important and complex issues, and distinguish what is important and why. Thus, we need both connection to the news and solitude to obtain a better understanding of ourselves, our values, and the world.