Team Assignment 2: The Insider

Congratulations, Team 3, on an intelligent, thorough, in-

depth commentary on the film!

There were some typos.

Also, there were no images, videos, or websites included.

 

TEAM #3

 

Team Assignment 2: The Insider

 

  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.*

 

In the Insider, Jeffrey Wigand is considered to be the whistleblower. A whistleblower is “a person who informs on a person or organization engaged in illicit activity”. Due to working at Brown & Williamson, he knows confidential information that can affect the company’s profit drastically. Wigand’s knowledge threatens B&W, so he is forced to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement. However, Wigand feels the need to expose B&W due to the false information they are providing the public.  His character goes through many hardships before, during, and after disclosing the truth about B&W. He not only suffered from these institutional pressures but from personal pressures as well. When he decided to release the sensitive information about the tobacco industry, he was kicked out of his home by his spouse because he had “put them all in danger.” The tribulation during his process of disclosing the truth is an excellent example of how confidentiality, secrecy, and revelation affect the lives of individuals.

The information that Wigand consumed was of value to him. The power he had was because of the importance of the data being hidden. At the point that B&W felt the dangers of Wigand blowing the whistle, they did what was necessary to tarnish his reputation. This could lead to an understanding when you ruin the status of a source, the value of confidential information from that source will lower in the eyes of the public. When the modified version of the episode was revealed, it did not expose the real power that Wigand had because it did not mention the fact that he worked for the company as a chemical expert. This fact would have added to his credibility and therefore, made his claims have more impact.

Another conclusion is that a claim could be given more value depending on how its deliverance. Although Lowell found out a way to provide value back to Wigand’s information, the ways B&W shows how it is possible to blockade a particular situation. However, the ways B&W couldn’t completely hide the truth, but delay it. During the process of speaking the truth, Wigand was paranoid. He received another restraining order from B&W the same day he came to court in Mississippi. The big tobacco company added to conceal the information he was presenting in court.  If he did speak any information pertaining B&W, he would receive jail time for breaking the restraining order. The audience can assume he wants to speak out for moral reasoning. In the beginning, the film shows his youngest daughter having asthma which affects the lungs. After disclosing the truth in court, B&W tried a smear campaign to embarrass Dr. Wigand publicly before the 60-minute episode aired on television. All the accusations made would discredit him as a reliable source for CBS news, which would have set up a lawsuit from B&W against CBS production and Jeffrey Wigand. That was payback for breaking concealment of Brown & Williamson. After CBS News broadcasted the hidden identity interview, the governor of Mississippi tried to sue his attorney general to abandoning the tobacco lawsuit case which made big news to the public. The real footage of Wigand on 60 minutes was shown to prove the big tobacco company has misinformed the public about cigarettes, giving Wigand his credibility back but mainly to use the 60-minute show as a diversion of Mississippi vs. tobacco company.

 

  1. 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.

 

Jeffry Wigand’s NDA affects the flow of information in The Insider as it is the main tool that B&W employs to prevent the truth from being exposed. Because of the NDA Jeffrey Wigand hesitates to come to light about B&W. Nonetheless, he feels compelled to share the truth about B&W. As a means to protect Wigand, he is brought to testify in the court of law, since testimonies are public record his NDA would be rendered powerless. B&W attempts to keep him from testifying by pressing charges against him for breaking his restraining order. Then they press charges against CBS to stop them from airing the interview, claiming that they forced Wigand to break his NDA. With the interview on hold, the information is eventually released by the newspapers, and CBS airs the interview without editing.

There are no legitimate arguments B&W could make in support of the agreement because the truth about their company poses harm to the general population.  Acting under the principle of Prima Facie Duties 1, Wigand outweighs the duties of beneficence, justice, and nonmaleficence, over the responsibility of fidelity.  

A recent non- disclosure agreement in the public sector comes from the National Health Service. This non-disclosure agreement is to ensure patients that their medical information stays confidential. The agreement explains the negative impact of having patients information leaked and exposed to the public.

Under the Federal Trade Secrets Act, government personnel is not required to sign a non- disclosure agreement. Recent news has claimed that current President Donald Trump asked his top advisers to sign non- disclosure agreements to keep quiet about what happens in the white house. Another instance was when a Montana legislative panel reported more non-disclosure agreements being signed by state employees and the executive branch regarding various confidential settlements. Since non-disclosure agreements are not a requirement for government employees, when one does come up it is usually to cover up scandals or illegal behavior.

 

 

http://core.ecu.edu/phil/mccartyr/1175docs/PrimaFacieDuties.pdf

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2018/08/21/trump-likes-nondisclosure-agreements-should

 

 

Leslie Castillo #3

Briana Jimenez #3

 

  1. 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.

Scanlon and Lenzner used different forms of media such as press conferences and newspaper outlets like The Washington Post to try to discredit Wigand’s claims against the tobacco companies. They used unflattering facts from Wigand’s past to amplify their argument so that his image would be destroyed in the public eye. In the article, it reads “Covenant House held a press conference in which confidential information about Ritter’s 26-year-old male accuser was made public—a classic destroy-the-accuser technique” which shows their technique in the process of ruining Wigand’s reputation. Palladino had to counter these attempts at Wigand, so he met with journal editors to counter any bogus claims. Unlike his opponents, Palladino used TV shows like 60 Minutes and was adamant about sticking to facts. In the article, he states  “It’s simple,” Palladino says. “Just tell the truth. That is all you have.”

In today’s world, we have social media such as Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, etc. that impact our way of thinking. This instant form of information has increased the rate that misinformation can spread. With this in mind, one can deduce that the Wigand’s situation would have amplified ten-fold. Social media would have been used to spread slander at a faster pace than having to meet with journal editors and waiting for the information to be printed out. Not only that, but programs such as photoshop could have been used by Scanlon and Lenzner to support their claims against Wigand.

 

Jessica Franco #3

Kassandra Perez #3

 

  1. 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.

 

The whole movie is structured on many deep conversations and monologues. Lowell Bergman, a main character in the film, presents several important twists in the plot especially, the decisions in the scene of the meeting with the CBS Corporate. Mike Wallace’s role is one of the most effective characters on Bergman, and he gave a neutral commissioner in the assigned meeting. Don Hewitt, as the financial producer of the show, had to be persuaded in the conference; the final decision seemed to be his, and he ended up doing what he wanted.

In the beginning, Helen Caperelli informed the three of them about CBS’s position about producing Wigand’s episode; yet, her claims and orders were based on logical facts. Moreover, Caperelli reinforced her claims using ethos when she said: “Our standards have to be higher than anyone else because we are the standard of everyone else,” backing up her claims with the corporate vision. However, Bergman’s stand is the center of the focus at this point of the movie. He stood up for this particular episode of the 60 minutes show while Don and Mike were driven away from backing him. The mention of Jeffreys truth, and supporting his case shows us the usage of pathos and emotions appeals. Besides, Lowell showed credibility when he presented the SEC file and backed up his point with its facts. Mike Wallace is the logical character. He gives rational facts and gets affected by them. He did not let any emotions to affect him towards Lowell.

Additionally, Mike’s decision about supporting Lowell and Jeffrey came after a gradation of facts presented to him. Don Hewitt is the one in the high position; Don’s credibility comes from his job as a financial manager. The character got emotionally angry in many points. Thus, it concludes that he is using pathos which works perfectly with a high-positioned businessman. Finally, Mike got persuaded by Don who was convinced by CBS’s general counsel, leaving Lowell unconvinced nor convincing.  

 

Murphy, Patricia. “Rhetorical Appeals.” Arizona State University, http://www.public.asu.edu/~trishm/classes/activities/rhetoricalappeals.html.

 

Hashim Al khaburi #4

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Team Assignment 2 – The Insider – Team 3

Congratulations, Team 3, on an excellent performance!

Cogent, comprehensive analysis.

No images, videos, and web links.

 

  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.*

         Jeffrey Wigand, a former executive of Brown & Williamson who exposed his company’s practice of intentionally manipulating the effects of nicotine in cigarettes on the CBS news program 60 Minutes, had moved beyond self-interest and company duty to the post-conventional stage of individual ethics. “I had what I would consider some moral compass issues that I was dealing with in terms of what principle do I need…[what is] my guiding principle here? I wanted to get the truth out. I wanted to make sure it got out. I felt that the industry as a whole had defrauded the American public. And there were things that I felt needed to be said.”, said Jeffrey Wigand Former Vice President of Brown & Williamson Tobacco.  In an interview with David Gregory, GUEST HOST “HARDBALL,” he described feeling trapped by the inner conflict of loyalty to his family, and the legal obligations to the company that he was previously employed by.

        Perhaps, based on his core values, Wigand self reflected on the issue at hand. Did his contractual obligations to the company outweigh his loyalty to public health and safety? After considerable deliberation he felt compelled to speak the truth.  With the knowledge he had from his time working within the tobacco company, he had a moral obligation to let the public know of that information under the notion that is could possibly save lives. He realized that the tradition and the process was so embedded that he could never change it from the inside. Whether it was the violation of lawyers vetting documents, or violation of rules of civil procedure with the lawyers, he realized there was no way for the truth to ever get out.

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.

      The non-disclosure agreement affected the flow of information in many ways.  One important way it did so was when Bergman hired Jeffrey Wigand as a consultant on another tobacco story to prove that nicotine was addictive, and that companies were adding extra additives into their tobacco. Wigand had a lot of information on this matter after his investigative journalism at B&W. However, Wigand signed a NDA with B&W so he could not provide this information outright. This affected the flow of information because Bergman then had to go behind the scenes and slowly leak the information and call competitors. Bergman had to rely on other sources to provide the public with this information.Much of the information was unorganized and companies had to put pieces of the puzzle together to get the full story. Bergman would provide small pools of information that would provide the public with enough information, but not break his NDA with B&W.

      An argument that B&W could make in support of the contract is that in order to prevent classified information about their factories and product from being leaked to the public, a NDA needed to be signed to protect their rights.

      A NDA that has been recently used in the public sector is the contract between President Trump and Omarosa Manigault Newman. Omarosa signed a NDA stating that she is not allowed to disparage Trump, his family or his business during the service of the campaign and anytime thereafter. NDAs in the government, however, are not common unless it is for a position that will be privy to classified information. In this event, these contracts are usually lifetime agreements.

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.

       At that time, news was reported on TV, or the newspaper.  There was no other way to see it. Scanlon and Lenzner made what is called a “smear campaign” against Jeffrey Wigand.  They dug up as much dirt on him as possible and released it to everyone, stretching the truth to make him look even worse.  Accusations of him skipping child support payments and spousal abuse attempt to drag his name through the mud. This would take the credibility out of anything Wigand says.  By putting this dirt out to every news station and newspaper, Scanlon and lenzner effectively made it impossible for people not to see. Scanlon overplayed his hand, and pushed these false facts too hard.  Palladino and his team of investigators quickly started trying to disprove all of these allegations. Palladino has Wigand “counter-attack” with another 60 minutes interview where he coaches him on TV technique and tells him to “just tell the truth.”  The only media they had to fight on was TV and newspapers.

        In 2018, the initial attack on Wigand’s reputation would be hard to counter.  The dirt on Wigand would be published in newspapers, and posted on every social media outlet.  It would be implanted into the internet forever. Putting it all on TV as well makes it available for everyone to see it every way possible without being able to make it go away.  Palladino would have been able to refute the comments immediately. Posting investigation findings disproving the false accusations, or anything in defense. If the war was now, all of the information regarding the case would be available.  There is no hiding anything in today’s society. The smear campaign may not have even worked in the first place. Big tobacco would be more likely to fall. False information would be unlikely to last.

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.

      The concept of “tortious interference” that is introduced, puts the airing of the piece into question, and more importantly, reveals the motives of the people in the room.

       Lowell Bergman seems to be driven by his internal passion for raw and honest journalism. His genuine relationship with Wigand, plays on pathos, and it triggers an emotional response towards the two. They are in distress, and their journey to blow the whistle on such a serious issue comes with legal consequences. Bergman is guided by an emotional sense of justice as a journalist, which is clearly presented in this particular scene. Bergman defends his stance by saying, “People tell us things all the time they shouldn’t. We have to verify it’s true and in the public interest, and if it is we air it”. In a later conversation between the three men, he says, “Since when has the paragon of investigative journalism allowed lawyers to determine the news content on 60 minutes?” This dialogue shows that he is more concerned about revealing the truth, rather than being controlled by corporate. Even though the airing of the piece would be a major risk individually and company wide, he stays confident in the truth of the matter.

       On the contrary, Wallace and Hewitt, show more concern for the image of CBS, and profits, rather than the authenticity of journalistic work. An example of this is seen when Wallace furiously expresses his disapproval of the airing of the piece, “I’ve been in this profession 50 years! You, and the people you work for, are destroying the most-respected, the highest-rated, the most-profitable show on this network!” His rage, of course, is a strong emotion appealing to pathos. However, is overall demeanor in response to the concern of tortious interference can be interpreted as logos. In addition, Hewitt argues that Bergman is acting out of blinless when he says, “You won’t be satisfied unless you’re putting the whole company at risk”.

Citations

Brenner, Marie. “Jeffrey Wigand and Big Tobacco.” The Hive, Vanity Fair, 24 Apr. 2018, www.vanityfair.com/news/1996/05/jeffrey-wigand-big-tobacco.

“Inside the Mind of a Whistle-Blower.” NBCNews.com, NBCUniversal News Group, 2 June 2005, http://www.nbcnews.com/id/8077025/ns/msnbc-hardball_with_chris_matthews/t/inside-mind-whistle-blower/.

Credits

Writers:

Question 1: Maria Ospina

Question 2: Demetria Jennings

Question 3: Anthony Galburt

Question 4: Myckenzie Russell

 

Final Thesis

I EMAILED YOU ON THIS, RIGHT? IT IS APPROVED. SCOTT KASS

 

Anthony Galburt

Team 3

Open access to 3-D printed guns, in a world already suffering from gun violence, will be problematic.  The Government is blocking the uploads and downloads on open forums such as reddit for example.  Uploaders are calling the block a violation of free speech, but the government has the right to intervene.  Despite the block, thousands of blueprints are being released, escalating the gun violence issue.

Thesis Statement – Draft

Judge Brett Kavanaugh was sworn in on October 6, 2018 as Supreme Court Justice after being accused of two counts of sexual assault and misconduct. This begs the question on whether his confirmation could pose a risk to the national security of the United States.

Given his background, he may post a risk to national security because he might be blackmailed.

Just a suggestion. Great thesis, approved, Scott Kass

Maria Ospina- Thesis Team 03

HI, I EMAILED YOU ON THIS. I APPROVE. GREAT THESIS. SCOTT KASS

 

Maria Ospina

Team 3

Recently CNBC discharged breaking news of a heightening $32 billion exchange war between the US and China. Composed by a market editor Weizhan Tan, the article displayed proclamations made by business moderators, financial experts, ambassadors, and the U.S. president which featured the money related effects that would before long impact the U.S., China, and their neighboring nations financially. The article advances through the use of the rhetorical triangle, allowing for forms of credibility, logical reasoning, and feelings of concern for the U.S. and its society. However, the use of the critical perspective to convey a question, on how the U.S. society feels on trade wars and its effect on the global economy, seemed to be ineffective when looking at the conversations that went on in social media platforms for this issue, like Twitter.

News Blackout Assignment

Group 3

PID: 6054594

The text explores the evolution of solitude and argues that the current generation is vastly unfamiliar with the concept of solitude. We rather focus on fitting into the masses with the help of technology. William Deresiewicz, the author of the essay, goes as far to say that we are seeking out to be validated by others. Rather than practicing self reflection and realization, Deresiewicz feels that people are striving for celebrity and connectivity, both ways of becoming visible to others. It is this constant search for validation that has apparently consumed our current generation.

Deresiewicz emphasises that we seek celebrity and connectivity. Indeed, the majority of the population has immersed themselves in a sort of digital culture, that values personal exposure and social media status. For example, most of my peers are constantly seeking out more followers and likes on platforms such as Instagram and Facebook. Nearly all social media outlets present us with platforms to market ourselves and connect with others. I find myself falling into this pattern as well, as social media is my leading source of connecting with others.

For two days, I went without any form of news including: cell phone apps, news articles, talk with friends, radio, or websites. Rather than experiencing any form of solitude that Deresiewicz refers to, I felt immense anxiety. The disruption of my morning routine, which consists of coffee and reading the New York Times, gave me a feeling of emptiness. I had to continue on with my day without knowing the breaking news, or the details of the stories I had been following. Perhaps, this feeling of anxiety simply came from the change in routine, rather than the absence of news. Either way, it was unpleasant to say the least.

In addition to feelings of anxiety, this blackout period brought up a feeling of disconnect from the outside word. The news is something that I rely on to connect with the world as a whole, even if in a small way. Without this knowledge, or power as I feel it may be, I felt unproductive and disconnected. I now realize that news is a tool that I need to be a productive citizen. News apps, my most common method of consuming news, keeps me informed and intellectually stimulated. I tend to find solitude in my time pondering upon news stories, or wrapping my mind around current events. In this case, the news is a form of media that promotes solitude.

The concept of solitude that Deresiewicz speaks of is something I typically experience daily. Ironically, during the time I spent without it, I experienced little solitude if none at all. Our ability to access news from anywhere at anytime is taken for granted. Many people use the news as a form of shallow entertainment, rather than a way to think more deeply and intellectually. For me, the news gives me time alone to think deeply about current issues.

48-hour news blackout

Leslie Castillo

 

Team #3

 

After attempting to spend 48 hours disconnected from the news I could appreciate the article “The End of Solitude” from a new perspective. Turns out that, receiving new information at all times has become a habit, or worse, an addiction. While I know that I have no problem spending time by myself, I had a very difficult time dealing with “idleness”. Much more like the author of the article, I perceive “a passive receptivity to the world” as just plain boredom, and it is terrifying. While watching a slow movie scene, while doing homework, while waiting for a video game to load, or while reading a book, without even thinking about it I would end up using my phone to fill that very small hint of boredom, be it by playing another game or by sending someone a text, and sometimes, by opening my social media apps. And what was scary was that I noticed it was unconsciously, much like breathing or pumping blood. This unconscious use of my phone made me think of Mcluhan, and how he stated that our devices are just an extension of our senses. Using the phone is such a natural action that I don’t even think about it. After all, who thinks of using their lungs to breath or their heart to pump blood. I just used my phone to deal with boredom the same way.

In his article, William Deresiewicz quotes “As long ago as 1952, Trilling wrote about “the modern fear of being cut off from the social group even for a moment.”” And that is the fear that social media and the news mask for us. News and social media keep us from feeling bored as we know there is always going to be something interesting popping up in the “news” feed. But this quote refers to the fear of not being able to keep up with what the social group knows, and therefore feeling alienated or distanced from the rest. While I did not experience fear of being by myself, or felt lonely during the 48 hour intermission, I couldn’t cope with the feeling of boredom, and as a result I sent more text messages than I normally would have. I believe boredom may be what gives rise to the belief that we can’t cope with loneliness. In the fashion of using social interaction to mask boredom. After all, who hasn’t texted or called someone out of boredom. We, or at least I, use social media and other people’s time to cope and eliminate boredom.

Overall, I wasn’t able to complete 48 without checking the news. But within the hours, I lasted while in the blackout, I learned that the news makes us feel like we are a part of something even if we are just reading it them. They give a sense of connection to other people, topics of conversation and argument, but as I mainly noticed from my experience, they’re an always a refreshing and renewing source of information that keeps (or keeps me) from experiencing boredom.