Thesis Draft – Marielle Cohen



The topic is interesting, but a bit broad and is more a statement of fact than something disputable. You might try to focus on a congressperson, or group of them, and perhaps their use of social media. For example, some articles have looked at the media usage of Ocasio-Cortez.

There are claims that the new US congress is the most divisive in the history of United States and it not clear how the politics of the superpower will affect the rest of the world amid the political strife in the country since news outlets have varying opinions.


Team assignment: The Insider

  1. 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 assignment requires an analysis of the “pressures and obstacles to getting at the truth” faced by one of the principle characters. Assuming you chose Wigand, there is little examination of the role of secrecy, lies, confidentiality, and revelation. The answer is mostly a summary of events in the film. Watch your tenses.

The Wigand affair was one of the most complicated cases the media ever faced due to being a story about Brown and Williamson’s tobacco health concerns that were wrapped under confidential agreement from the public. This was only until Lowell Bergman convinced Dr. Jeffrey Wigand to go on his show 60 minutes to reveal the truth behind the company Brown and Williamson’s product. Wasn’t it still complicated after that?

In the movie the CEOs swore in court that the cigarettes were not addictive, Wigand’s attempt at slander not the right word here to discredit the tobacco company’s reliability and trustworthiness would backfire at Wigand. The Brown and Williamson’s started to dig in any information that Dr. Wigand withheld from CBS to be used against him, in retaliation making a smear campaign out of the situation. During the affair, he would be left with death threats that would traumatize and ruin his relationship with his wife and eventually lead to them a divorce. Lowell Bergman eventually went out of his way asking for publishers to release Dr. Wigand statements on the health issues caused by cigarettes from Brown and Williamson’s.

CBS also had a big part on in the tobacco case as they would not release the full interview Dr. Wigand did on the show 60 minutes, instead CBS wanted to reveal an alternate that did not include Dr. Wigand revealing any information on Brown and Williamson‘s.The reason why the company was against the full video an even look for alternatives was due to a purchase that would merge CBS and Westinghouse for $81, General counsel of CBS News Ms. Helen Caperelli would receive 3.9 million dollars and Mr. Eric Kluster, president of CBS News, would receive 1.4 million dollars if the share deal was approved. The risk of the company Brown and Williamson’s filing to sue against CBS due to breaking confidentiality agreements through third party. This could cause an impact between the relation between CBS and Westinghouse, but also ruined the chance of merging between the companies. 

At the end Lowell Bergman discloses full information and the video interview of Dr. Wigand to New York Times to ensure that even though CBS released an alternate, the uncensored version would still be revealed to the public. Assuring that Dr. Wigand’s sacrifice and pain did not go in vain and it help exposed what cigarettes can do as a health problem. Eventually CBS release the uncensored interview due to the New York Times newspaper exposing Brown and Williamson chemical interference with the cigarette production process.

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.

Good analysis.

Jeff Wigand’s non-disclosure agreement affects the flow of information by limiting his ability to expose Brown and Williamson’s immoral business activities of not just lying about the addictive nature of nicotine to their customers, but also exploiting these addictive properties in cigarettes to make them more addictive by adding chemicals in order to improve their profits. There’s also the issue of perjury by the company’s management on US Congress, and their blackmail and threats today against Wingard’s family if he whistle-blows (Mann, 1999). The NDA is also affecting the flow of information in the film because CBS Corporation is refusing to air the 60 minutes interview due to the potential lawsuit from Brown and Williamson. Good.

Brown and Williamson can cite protection of their intellectual property rights and their vast research and innovations work in the justification for their non-disclosure agreements. Good. Some of the non-disclosure agreements recently used in the public sector include those signed by White House employees working in the Trump administration and support staff for different members of Congress (McCullough, 2019). Some of the gravest implications of NDAs for government employees include tying their hands when it comes to reporting corrupt political activities, and this may even lead to these employees being misused by politicians. NDAs for government employees, however, also prevents malicious leakage of important intelligence that is not meant for public consumption.

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.

Good analysis.

John Scanlon and Terry Lezner were hired to investigate Wigmand’s history and find every mistake that he has made in his lifetime. From running a red light to not paying child support, they found everything they could that could be used against him and potentially catch him in a lie. Berman continuously told him that it didn’t matter if his testimony was truthful, if they had found anything about him that was a lie then his reputation would be ruined, and his testimony would not be trusted. The people of B&W were out to get him for tip-toeing around the confidentiality agreement and he now held the reputation of “whistleblower”. The news that they had dug up was published by the wall street journalists Wall Street Journal and the public became aware of his micro mistakes. This movie was based in the 90’s when the electronic revolution was starting to occur. McLuhan had mentioned in his interview that this revolution was moving fast and could generate a huge shift in how information is perceived and decrease the reliability of the news that was being distributed to the public. If the war over Wigmand’s reputation had occurred in 2018, there would be hundreds of more sources and people chiming in on the issue. Yes. In the movie the investigators had to dig up information first-handedly firsthand through interviews with past acquittances acquaintances in secrecy. Nowadays we can find somebody’s history just by the search of their name on Google. When one person makes a mistake, every news reporter is on it to publish an article on snapchat, Facebook, twitter, and Instagram as soon as possible. Social media has extended the amount of information distributed to the public and reaches a more extensive audience, anybody and everybody would be able to dig up his history within minutes and distribute it to the mass media.  Good.

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.

A good summary, but you needed to focus on what was ethos, pathos, and logos.

Helen Caperelli tells the men at the table that if the interview comes to light through CBS, there would be serious, legal consequences for the company because of this tortious interference. Helen’s intended audience is the company of CBS itself. She wants to protect the company because she knows that if the interview is released, then CBS can face a huge lawsuit and their company could end up being owned by Brown and Williamson. One of the rhetoric’s that she uses is “the greater the truth, the greater the damage”. Is this pathos, logos, or ethos? Since Jeffrey Wigand knows everything about Brown & Williamson, he represents a huge threat to the tobacco company. The truer information that is disclosed in the interview, the greater the legal penalty because of Jeffery Wigand’s confidentiality agreement. Not only will Jeffery be in huge legal trouble, but the company of CBS as well. Lowell Bergman, Mike Wallace, and Don Hewitt do want the interview to be aired so that the truth surrounding the addictive effects of nicotine come to light in the public eye. Lowell Bergman uses the rhetoric in his defense that he works for a news organization and that people are always telling him things that they shouldn’t because that is what his job requires him to do, get the truth and make sure they are factual and have relevance. Mike Wallace then adds confidently to Lowell Bergman’s statement that they have never lost a lawsuit to persuade Helen Caperelli to air the 60-minute episode. Bergman, Wallace, and Hewitt’s intended audience are the people in society that buy the products that are offered by these big tobacco companies. They want to make public aware that tobacco is indeed an addictive drug that is extremely dangerous and that it can harm your lungs and nervous system and cause many lifelong diseases. 


Question 1- Sebastian Saavedra and Anthony Orezzoli

Question 2- Marielle Cohen

Question 3 & editing- Brittany Adams 

Question 4- Taylor Wells & Joey Hernandez

Joey Hernandez Group #1

Joey – Good analysis of the importance of actionable information in your life, and especially in your work. You needed to make the connection to Deresiewicz to fulfill the assignment.

Overall, writing is good and you communicate your thoughts clearly. When editing, omit needless words, watch tenses and singular/plural form. News is singular, not plural.


News are is a very important source of information that humans need. Everything is moving very fast nowadays and people should not get caught up in the past. While doing this 48-hour news blackout, I felt very anxious and to be honest very lost. Typically when we hear the word “news” the first two things that come to our mind are newspapers and Fox, CNN, CBS, and NBC news channels. With this experiment I actually discovered that news is are not only those news channels and newspapers, but also social media, the radio, billboards, and even our friends. Good observation. News are literally everywhere we go, it is almost inevitable not to hear something new every day. Social media sends us notifications of something recent that happened, friends usually talk about sports or things currently happening, when we get in the car the first thing that we do is put the radio and hear what they have to say, etc.

Those 48 hours of not knowing what was happening in the world made me anxious because it made me feel like if I was living outside of the United States in a place where there is no internet or any source of news. Uncertainty is the root of anxiousness so this is exactly why I felt this way, because I did not know what was going on.

My job was affected because of this 48-hour blackout challenge. What I do is I earn money trading in the Foreign Exchange and Cryptocurrency market. Trading comes with a lot of risk if you do not know what you’re doing so you have to obtain many confirmations before putting in an order or trade.  That comes with confirmations of technical analysis and confirmations with the news. A possible revision:

Trading comes with a lot of risk. Knowing what you are doing and confirmation of technical analysis and news is required before doing a trade or order.


The Foreign Exchange market is the market of currencies all around the world. The physical currency exchange that people do when they go from one country to another, I do it through my phone or laptop. The value of every currency is constantly changing so the price of, lets say, euro can be different today than tomorrow. One of the things that greatly affect affects the price of currencies are is news. So if I see a good trade setup with my technical analysis, but I don’t check if there are upcoming news for that currency, I am going to be risking a lot because I do not know how the market will react. “I” is acceptable in this assignment, but don’t overuse the pronoun:

If technical analysis indicates a good trade, but I don’t check the news of that currency, there is risk for how the market will react. 

For this reason, news are very important for me to know because I depend on them it to basically make money.

In conclusion, news are very important to people because it provides us with the information that is happening in the world and tells us how those news can affect our every day life. This experiment made me feel like an outsider. Everyone was well informed and I was the only person lost in my group of friends. I personally don’t really mind being alone. Actually, I enjoy being alone because I can talk to myself, analyze my mistakes, and reflect about  on my future. What I don’t really like is not knowing what is happening around me. The feeling of uncertainty and lack of understanding is what really makes me feel uncomfortable. This is why news are very important in our every day life. 


48-Hour Blackout

Brittany –

Excellent piece. Good integration of Deresiewicz into your analysis. Well written and compelling.


Social media and technology have created a false sense of connection between people without actually having to physically be there with someone. There is always an audience watching us, judging us, and feeding off of us, as well as vice versa. The feeling of solitude has become extinct now that smartphones have given us direct access to everyone and everything. Good introduction.

 Within William Deresiewiez’s article, “The End of Solitude”, he had said that technology is taking away our privacy, concentration, and also the ability to be alone. I often find myself taking hours to complete an assignment that should only take 30 minutes because Kim Kardashian is at the tips of my fingers telling me what she’s eating for lunch. I have become obsessed with the false relationship between me and every influencer on Instagram which has made an unhealthy lifestyle for me.

The 48-hour blackout was a time for me to test how bad this obsession has actually become. Deresiewicz mentioned in his article that the contemporary self wants to be recognized and connected. Sadly, I don’t ever picture myself being out of the social media loop. This generation has become obsessed with sharing every piece of information with the world from what we ate for lunch to what our outfit of the day is. This past Thursday was Valentine’s day and It it was just my friend and I at dinner and my anxiety had reached its full potential. What are other people doing for vValentines day? What could we possibly talk about at the dinner table? Almost every time the table got silent, I had an urge to pick up my phone and scroll through Instagram. I started to observe those around me and how there was always one person who was on their phone. I felt out of the loop and alone… I felt sad. I wish social media and technology didn’t have as big of an impact as it does, I wish being alone didn’t feel as dreadful as it did. 

Thursday night I fell asleep early. My phone usually keeps me up for hours editing pictures to post, sending tweets to friends, however, I was able to fall asleep early (solemnly because I had nothing else to do). On the second day I felt mentally prepared. I didn’t have class so I thought it would be a good idea to create a schedule, so I didn’t get caught up in moments of boredom and loneliness. Deresiewiez had said that loneliness is not the absence of company, but it is grief over that absence which is exactly what I had felt the entire day. I cleaned the dorm, made myself lunch, and got my homework done so that the rest of my weekend would be clear. It was a nice feeling of being tidy and put together however, there was a still a void of loneliness left to fill. 

My overall experience was disappointing. I always have an urge to delete social media and disconnect myself from technology and I never acted upon it until I had to for this assignment. The feeling of loneliness and urge of being in the loop was not ideal and quite dreadful. News is most definitely an intrusion of our solitude however, it has been imbedded embedded in everyday life and is now impossible to cut out. As much as news and technology benefits everyday life, there are also many harmful side effects that come along with it. 

team # 1 Sebastian Saavedra

Sebastian –

First, don’t submit a giant block of text. Use paragraphs to distinguish distinct parts of your essay. Second, avoid long, rambling sentences. A sentence should contain one point or thought. Shorter sentences frequently have more impact. When you edit, try reading aloud to see if it sounds right. Avoid needless words. Watch your tenses.

Your experience was interesting, but you failed to make explicit connections to Deresiewicz. The essay is more a narrative of events and reactions than analysis.


So, to feel alone or excluded from news and social media is something that at first is hard to imagined imagine now a days.  In this generation including all ages, we have a necessity of being connected with family and friends whether is in the city, state, or abroad. I got started on this project on Saturday trying to get away from news and social media which is my phone and at the beginning it was easy cause because I was working from morning to afternoon, but as soon as the low time (what is low time?) came, I was urging felt the urge to check my phone and see news and check social media. Is no surprise that I wanted to be entertained when I was bored, and I would constantly grab my phone almost like a routine naturally every time I got bored, but I put my mind to it and did not check my phone.

In this essay, “I” is OK if used sparingly. Consider using fewer pronouns:

When bored, I want to be entertained. Constantly grabbing my phone is routine. But mindful of the habit, I suppressed the urge the check out the latest news. 


Also, when it came to concern on current new among my coworkers everyone was busy and I was on the register away from them so there was no problem avoiding them. As soon as I got home, I took a nap so there went two hours of the day without any news and during lunch my parents like to turn on the tv and try to either watch movies or see news while eating, of course me trying to avoid the news, I eat at my room listening to music in Spotify but I had to cover my ears during the commercials as some of the commercial were based on politics and news. Sentence is way too long. Break into 3 or 4 sentences.  It was amazing how much publicity does news and politics get got (keep past tense) as propaganda even on an app for music. The rest of the day I was just playing my piano and playing my ps3 without the internet connected which keep me entertained most of the day. The next day It was hard trying not to check my phone and check Instagram to be up to date, my family did help out that day to actually go out in family and forget the phone and social media by leaving my cellphone at home while we went to the beach. The beach was a great way to get away from technology and just relax, it felt great just being distracted by being outdoors without the worry of my phone.


Is weird to say but I was such it was a relief not having to check a phone for or not knowing the current updates, it felt almost like a vacation and my mood of the day was pretty good. (2 sentences) As the night approach  on Sunday my parent like to always watch the news and of course I had to avoid watching anything related to news. On Sunday, my parents watch the news, something I had to avoid. It’s hard to stay awake in your room without any type of social media and since my phone was my main way to stay update updated with anything happening current. The funny part is that there were many occasions my parents wanted to inform me of news knowing that I could know any updates. At the end I realized that this is something that we all need and we connect sometimes without even knowing.

48 Hour News Blackout: Taylor Wells

Taylor –

The analysis of your experience was interesting and insightful. Good connections to Deresiewicz. Overall writing is good, but more careful attention to editing is needed. Watch singular/plural and tenses. Omit needles words. Several sentences could have been broken up. Consider reading aloud to ensure the prose sounds right.



I had never really thought about how connected we all really are until after my experience participating in the 48-hour news blackout. I definitely was aware it would be a challenge to not look at any of the media on my phone for two days. However, the part that I struggled with the most was not being able to receive my set of notifications from a variety of apps that I use on a daily basis. Interesting. I typically get most of my news from Snapchat, where I am subscribed to new news outlets, daily broadcasts and Facebook, where my friends are constantly posting and sharing stories and updates about what is going on in the world. 

I don’t think I really missed the news updates as much as having something to read or look at when I thought I didn’t have or couldn’t find anything else to do.

Using “I” was OK in this essay, but avoid overuse of the pronoun. This takes some work, but results in smoother prose. For example:

Missing news updates wasn’t the problem. The issue was having nothing to read or look at when I had nothing else to do.

I somehow felt vulnerable, as if I were missing out on something some this long time of complete disconnect. Vulnerability is an interesting reaction. Analyzing that emotion would have enhanced the essay. This time actually ended up being an eye-opening and quite incredible experience for me. Instead of using my phone and its apps to read and pass the time I exercised, enjoyed some music, and had conversations with the people around me, even though I had to disclose the fact that they weren’t allowed to update me on any world or social new events. I was able to take a step back and enjoy the conversation instead of wondering what nonsense my phone has had to show me next.

            In the article “End of Solitude” by Trilling, a point is made in which the belief Deresiewicz argues that someone can be validated by public appearances. I deem that this is what I experienced during the two days of the news and media blackout, I didn’t want to engage in a conversation with anyone in fear that they were speaking about a current news topic. In its place, I forced myself to enter a someone state  state of solitude by keeping to myself either at the gym with my headphones in on, or walking around campus listening to music, in order to avoid conversation with most people. (2 sentences here) I saw as an interesting connection to what I experienced during my news blackout. The “End of Solitude” article left me questions questioning myself as to why I am rarely alone. It’s was quite interesting that the article asked the question: what is a ‘friendship’? when you have hundreds and thousands of friends on the internet. “It was not too long ago, when it was easy to feel lonely. Now it is impossible to be alone.” This is what really drew me in about this article.  I distinctly recall a memory from when I was in middle school and my parents ever gave me my first cell phone and I wanted to call and talk to everyone on the phone instead of face to face. However, after reading this article, I understand that there can be peace in solidarity.(do you mean solitude?)

Assignment 3 Marielle Cohen


Very insightful analysis of your experience. Good job making connections to Deresiewicz. Overall, writing is good, but could be improved with tighter editing. 


Two days without a phone and access to news seemed like an eternity. I could not believe how much I was addicted to social life until the blackout. The fear of missing out the news was continually running through my mind. I could not think that there was such a time when people used to live without relying on technology. I also learned that I was not patient because I could not wait for the 48 hours to be over so that I can return to normal life where I had access to my phone and news. Using “I” in this assignment is OK, but 5 in one sentence is probably too many. A possible revision:

Unable to wait 48 hours and return to a normal life with phone and news, I learned that I lacked patience.

I was sure that I was missing something important in my life.

Waking up without having to check on notifications and listen to the new is the worst kind of solitude I can imagine. The day was much longer, and I could not believe how much time I could have if there were no internet or the news. Interesting. In the first day, I was not sure which activities would make me busy except cooking (favorite hobby) and eating because of the anxiety I had. It was the most boring time of my life. However, on the positive side, it was a real eye-opener of to how much time I waste looking at my phone which is insane.

During the news blackout, I could not help but think how much I fit in the description of Deresiewicz about celebrities. I was confident that my absence from social media would raise a lot of questions since people are used to my numerous photos and posts. It was a eureka effect to find out that I am also a celebrity in a way because I maintain an active social media presence (Deresiewicz, 2009). Missing out on social media plus no news for 48 hours made me uncomfortable because I felt as though an essential part of my life was missing.

It is also exciting to fond find? that I could survive for 48 hours without access to news and the internet. Retrospectively, I was anxious about the idea of not using my phone for a whole day. It seemed like an eternity because the world was going on without me. Now, I know that staying without a phone and no access to news is the worst kind of solitude.

Having a lot of time to spend on other things away from the news and the internet is not as interesting as I had imagined. Since I had become accustomed to regularly checking on the internet for social life and news, living without such privileges induced more solitude, engaging in activities such as reading a book and drawing may seem like fun activities but living in a world that depends on the internet and news can be distracting. Now, I am certain, that everyone is used to listening to the news and using the internet it is almost impossible to socialize with other people when one does not know how the world works. Good insight. Going off the information grid does make it harder to connect with others.