The Insider

Excellent work, Team 5

Thorough, well explained, comprehensive –all around

good work.

Occasional choppy English, but otherwise very good job.

No pictures, videos, websites

  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.*


      Jeffrey This movie truly depicts the struggle that journalist face on a daily basis to report their stories truthfully and authentically in regards to the events of the situation at hand. Lowell Bergman had pressure from his workplace to get a story as journalist do, but in the Jeffrey Wigand case, Bergman would be ruining a man’s life and reputation, not only that, but they were told that if Wigand’s story went live, CBS would be sued by the Tobacco company they were trying to expose. “You hear “reasonable” and “Tortious interference”, I hear “Potential Brown and Williamson (Tobacco company) Lawsuit jeopardizing the sale of CBS Westinghouse…Shut the segment down. Cut Wigand lose.”” Bergman continues and say “You pay me to go get guys like Wigand, to draw him out, to get him to trust us, to get him to go on television. I do. I deliver him. He sits. He talks. He violates his own confidentiality agreement.” He further goes on to say: “He  (Wigand) is telling the truth and that’s why we are not going to air it. The more truth he tells the worst it gets.” This monologue said by Bergman depicts his frustration in this story and how Wigand’s confession to the public will cause an uproar to the CBS Company, the Brown and Williamson tobacco company, and to Wigand himself. The issue with concealments is that there is plenty of information that is kept under wraps that the public should be aware of, but due to contracts and liability lawsuits that information is usually kept secret. Even though airing those types of stories would be a great publication for a journalist it is also very risky to deal with, so to avoid complications with the law those stories are usually thrown out.

      One can understand why non-disclosure agreements are made, especially for major companies. These agreements keep it clear for all parties to be aware of what can be public information and what is kept confidential, and if one were to leak information that is under an NDA their will always be consequences. For reporters and journalist, the task of concealing information may be difficult because their job is to find out the truth but when it comes to NDAs and private information it is their duty to hold this information from the public. In the film, the revelation of what the tobacco company was hiding was important information for the public to know. But the aftermath of this information being released resolved into a $246 billion dollar lawsuit. As a journalist or reporter it is important to weigh out one’s options and stick to the rules, keep confidential information confidential and if one has permission companies and parties involved in confidential information to be released, that permission of release should be in writing and signed by all parties agreeing to release the information.


  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.


      Jeffrey Wigand’s non-disclosure agreement substantially affects the flow of information in The Insider. As we can see, Wigand risks his career and safety of his family to expose the harmful effects of Big Tobacco. If it hadn’t been for the confidentiality agreement, he wouldn’t have been so afraid or taken long to have exposed them. Brown and Williamson did make legitimate arguments, like potential lawsuits and the risk of losing his severance package. For example, obstacles like the Kentucky gag order frightened Wigand, because he would’ve been sent to jail. It’s court orders such as this by companies abusing their power in order to keep their image from being tarnished by silencing whistleblowers/victims that feel that they have a duty to civilians.

       The most current NDA I can think of in the public sector is the Facebook scandal. Aleksandr Kogan, the man at the root of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, is a modern-day Wigand. Kogan, a data scientist who created a Facebook app that harvested user data had signed an NDA with Facebook, but then gave it to Cambridge Analytica. Unlike Wigand, Kogan was to delete the app and information he harvested, according to the NDA he signed with Facebook. He did not, therefore violating his clause.

     In both situations, NDAs are set in place to protect the companies from incrimination and bad publicity. Although Facebook did all that it could to protect its users, the creator, in this case , Kogan was “money-minded” and attempted to profit from his creation. Unlike Kogan, Wigand was consumed by lies and secrets. Knowing that Big Tobacco was attempting to make its harmful products more addictive, he risked his career, marriage, safety, and comfortable life for the well-being of society. Not all NDAs are ‘bad’ for society, perse. Sometimes, it is truly for the betterment of politics and war. In other words, “ignorance is bliss,” for the most part.


  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 were able to greatly damage Wigand’s reputation by publishing a 500-page dossier aimed as a smear campaign. In the findings, they not only attacked Wigand’s moral values and character but also made him out to look like a wife beater and fraud. They claimed that he had been arrested for domestic battery, shoplifting and filed fraudulent insurance claims. However, none of these claims were actually true and had no factual evidence behind to support them. However, due to the many enemies that Wigand had made in the controversial and complex tobacco industry, Scanlon & Lenzner’s aim was clear: to execute a successful smear campaign which would deter the public’s perception of Wigand and discredit him from revealing the industry’s dark secret.

If this war over Wigand’s reputation had occurred in our present day, the results would have been widely different. The dossier could have easily been leaked to any tabloid or social media platform and from there; it would have been virtually impossible to control or delete. Once a tweet, video or media article goes viral, it spreads like wildfire. Users across social media can tag, comment and forward information to each other – thereby creating an endless chain. In Wigand’s case, he at least had Palladino who filtered and evaluated the information before it could be released to the media and public.

Today’s media can be a powerful and also dangerous tool where an individual’s reputation can be easily tarnished or destroyed in a matter of hours. Although we are fortunate to have unfiltered and endless sources of information at our fingertips, today’s media can also be a double-edged sword. Our generation, in particular, can become overly saturated with sensational news that could be counter-productive and enable us to become fixated on gossip and pointless news as opposed to thinking critically to find accurate and unbiased sources of information.

  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.


CBS general counsel Helen Caperelli, begins to inform Bergman, Wallace, and Hewitt on the legal concept that has been getting a lot of attention “tortious interference” explains that if two people have a confidentiality agreement and one of them breaks it because they are induced to do so by a third party, the third party can get sued from damages for interfering.


After hearing that, participants of the meeting immediately laughed and felted insulted as they questioned the accusation of interference. Bergman expresses CBS is a news outlet, there is no interference. People are always telling them things that they shouldn’t. Before anything is aired they first verify if the information is true and if it is of the public interest. Wallace continues to add that they collaborate it which is why they never lost a lawsuit.


The 60 minute Wigand piece is seen to CBS Corporate as riffed with problems. Caperelli wants to make sure of Wigand’s veracity since CBS is the standard for everyone else. Although Wigand is telling the truth, Caperelli explains that the greater the truth the greater the damage due to tortious interference. The Tobacco company owns the information being disclosed by Wigand. She continued explaining that if he lied the damages would be smaller. All participants of the meeting are baffled as they are warned if the segment gets aired they are at grave risk of being sued and owned by the Brown and Williamson Tobacco company.


Corporate is using logical reasoning as they show no empathy for Wigand. They rationalize from a business standpoint rather than news. If an alternate version of the segment gets aired it takes CBS out of the crossfire with the tobacco company. The participants of the meeting which are the individuals who go out and seek the truth are being both empathetic and credible to the information and Wigand’s case.

* Question 1 written by Dr. Blevens.

Credits: Team 5

Question 1: Kelsey Salomon

Question 2: Rosy Ayala

Question 3: Daniela Garcia

Question 4: Wendy Palacios

Edited by Kelsey Salomon


Final Essay Thesis: Ozone Depletion

Ozone depletion is a huge environmental nightmare for the human existence. The ozone is crucial for the survival to life on the Earth, yet about 20 percent of the ozone has been deteriorated. As earthlings it is our job to protect the ozone from further depletion. Without the ozone layer to protect us, ultraviolet radiation would directly reach the Earth’s surface, making it very difficult for any form of life to survive.




Many politicians are denying that climate change is a serious problem. However, scientists warn us that we stand on a brink of failure within 10 years if we don’t get things under control and act now.



News Blackout

Kelsey Salomon

Team 5

Kelsey, I think this is your best essay so far: thoughtful, thorough.

You capture the uncertainty, ambivalence, and anxiety that we all feel in the new information environment.

Isolating myself from the News for 48 hours felt tranquilizing, once I got used to the idea of detaching myself from the internet and all digital entertainment. The first few hours of this experiment consisted of me reaching for my phone to open up Twitter, but I would then remember that Twitter mainly consists of news-related posts, so I would then put my phone away and begin to do my homework. When it comes to the culture of celebrity I am in between. On one hand I don’t care to constantly post on social media or check social media to see what my friends are up to. On breaks where I would usually scroll through Twitter or Youtube, I found myself texting friends and starting conversations out of nowhere, just to fill the gap. I asked my friends how their day was going and what they were doing at the moment, just to have any kind of conversation and human interaction. During this News blackout I kept myself busy by doing homework, and staying at the school library to focus on studying to not get distracted and want to surf the web. I did notice myself beginning to get antsy at times. I kept reaching for my phone, and when I had nothing to do on it I just started tapping it as if I were using the phone but in reality I was just fidgeting. Once I got home, I decided I could use this time to catch up in writing in my personal journal. Journaling is something I have not done in awhile, I could say it is because I haven’t had any time but in reality it is because I have not made time for it. Writing in my journal for thirty minutes made me feel at peace. It was the first moment in a while when I was alone and relaxed with my thoughts. I usually watch the news to help me fall asleep but I decided to do another activity I haven’t in a while, which was turn on my record player and fall asleep to my music.

Deresiewicz is right when he stated that this generation is living in a culture of celebrity and connectivity. While participating in this experiment I noticed myself constantly wanting to speak to someone or reach for my phone. I experienced some anxiety while in this blackout experiment due to the lack of connectivity I had with the world for these few hours. It felt somewhat uncomfortable to know that news was being updated and I was not able to know about it. In this new perspective, I don’t miss the news. Though the news is important information to know, without it my thoughts are less full. I’m not worrying about the president’s next move, or a celebrities feud. Without the news I live more in the moment, but the news is important. Without the news we are ignorant to the events that are going on in our country or around the world. I believe I reacted this way to this experiment due the time in which I grew up. As a pre-teen I had  the ability to access social media, where people would post pictures and videos about their life that strangers could view, like,  and share, and those actions are what have given people in the digital world a sense of power and presence. With these tools I get to hear and see the news from so many different sources and different opinions. I believe the way my generation interacts is important. I think our culture of connectivity has also led this generation to be more open minded and self aware and I think that is important.



The critical medium

Kelsey, you have touched on several major tenets in the

McLuhan doctrine. Good! I know where you’re going with the blue part

below, but I wish you had elaborated on it a bit more. 

You wrote about 350 words out of a possible 500, so you could have

elaborated on all three points, with additional examples, etc. Otherwise, OK.




Marshall McLuhan was insistent on the his idea that “The medium is the message”. McLuhan believed that the way we receive information is more important than the information itself. By stating “The medium is the message” McLuhan questions the common assumptions most people possesS. Most people would believe the message being given is what is important, but McLuhan realized that the format that we receive our messages is what started to change modern culture. The “medium” such as telephones, the internet, the radio, have allowed the audience to be able to announce their own opinions and ideas on subjects at hand.

McLuhan realized that the medium had changed our behaviors and how significant that was. McLuhan expanded the bounds of debate due to the fact that not many people realized that the mediums had a greater impact on society than any message broadcasted through that medium. He understood how mediums were and are extending our capability of how we communicate. Linked below is a conference talk of McLuhans where many of the audience members ask him questions and you see his point of view opening up conversation and debate. I believe McLuhan is aiming for the betterment of society by attempting to get the individuals of society to see the bigger picture, and what is really going on. I believe McLuhan is trying to get people to acknowledge the importance of all the different forms of mediums, and how they have developed our culture as well as the the way we communicate in so many ways and that is what is substantial. I believe McLuhan is aiming for the awareness of individuals and how their  society is being affected with these technologies. In conclusion I do believe that Marshall McLuhan is using critical perspective when he states that the medium is the message.

The image below depicts Marshall McLuhan  surrounded by many television screens that state “The medium is the message”. Demonstrating his ideas by quoting him and displaying it on a medium such as the television screens.

Image result for marshall mcluhan images

Video- Marshall McLuhan – The Medium Is The Message [1977] (Conference)

Webpage about McLuhan:

Kelsey Salomon Team 5

Assignment 2: McLuhan Critical Perspective

Rosy, your essay is very well done. Articulate, flowing. You touch on major tenets of the McLuhan doctrine.

I think the essay would have been even stronger if you had dived right into the subject:

McLuhan questions society’s assumptions, expands the bounds of debate, and aims for the betterment of society.





I think you can dispense with a lot of the stuff in blue below. Just go right for the heart of the issue.

You’re a good writer. This is just advice for future essays.


Rosy Ayala



Professor Pearson

Team 5

Marshall McLuhan was a Canadian philosopher, professor, and public intellectual that left behind the foundation of Media Theory. With his astounding insight, we use our knowledge of today’s technological advancements to decipher what he meant when he coined the term “the medium is the message” in the ‘70s. What’s made McLuhan’s teachings so memorable, and continuously relevant in today’s society, is his approach to mediums with respect to critical perspective in delivering his message. McLuhan invited questions towards his assumptions, expanded the bounds of debate, and aimed for the betterment of society.

After reading the 1969 interview by Playboy magazine, and listening to his 1977 ABC Radio lecture, McLuhan’s message remains the same: the form of a medium embeds itself in any message—influencing how a message is perceived. McLuhan does this by answering questions and understanding his demographics. His ability to connect to the audience is a demonstration of critical perspective—comparing and contrasting different attitudes and interpretations towards a subject. For example, in his ABC Radio interview below, McLuhan gives his perspective on radios, televisions, and the effect it has on literacy. McLuhan does not shy away from the audience, but instead questions and invites reporters to give their opinion, and to contribute to the conversation. Unfortunately, there weren’t any in the audience, yet this was an example of inviting inquiry towards his assumptions that “radio people are far more literate than T.V. people.”

With statements described as “pithy,” “simple,” and “provocative to the point of being outrageous,” by the ABC Radio host, McLuhan had no trouble expanding the bounds of debate. In the interview, a woman questioned that “if the medium is the message, and it doesn’t matter what we say on T.V., why are we all here tonight?” McLuhan reassures her otherwise, that what he meant was that “the message is quite independent of the program.” In other words, it is the usage of the product/technology (in this case T.V.) that determines the value, not the other way around         McLuhan has always promoted the betterment of society. He describes media as the “folk art of the 21st century,” and stresses media as “extensions of [the] physical.” Particularly in McLuhan’s Playboy interview, when his interviewer asks him why he is “attempting to dispel [media] and alert man to the changes in his environment,” McLuhan makes a valid observation. McLuhan emphasizes that society has a “rearview” perspective on life, and “if we understand the revolutionary transformations caused by new media, we can anticipate and control them; but if we continue in our self-induced subliminal [narcissistic] trance, [we risk becoming their] slaves.”

All in all, McLuhan’s foreshadowing has come to pass. Regardless of what critics had to say about him, McLuhan’s thinking utilized critical perspective to his advantage, and was never arrogant when questioned. His insight for media was far beyond his era, which is why he’s still such an important figure studied in media today, allowing us to question assumptions, expand debate, and recognize media’s effect.



Marshall McLuhan

Wendy, nice work! You have captured major themes in McLuhan’s doctrine. I

have highlighted your best points in red.

Once in a while the meaning is not completely clear (see the blue line below).

Wendy Palacios
Team 5
Marshall McLuhan, is a philosopher and professor known for his studies in media theory. His explicit use of the critical perspective has made him a public intellectual. The critical perspective is defined as a means to understanding communication and how it affects and shapes our culture. One of its many characteristics aims for individuals to use a more demanding thought process by questioning assumptions. An immeasurable amount of people use easy shortcuts like assumptions to pass judgement. This is a useless tool and effortless method of thought.

In accordance with Mcluhan’s literature “ Understanding Media” he analyzed the affects typography had on the psychic and social consequences of the culture. In today’s modern time the same effects are upon us with the electric media. He later proceeds to translate the extensions of man by explaining that whether it’s clothing or a computer, humans are sensitive to print. A human’s direct inspection and awareness has become numb. It’s simple to assume the content of the electric media is what shapes society. In reality, the electric media covers various content from what is deemed to be in style to overactive news reports on discrimination towards certain ethnic groups. GOOD

If one were to think critically, without assumption they would come to question the culture of society. Are things really in style or are people following what the media has considered to be a trend? Are certain ethnic groups consistently being discriminated against everyday or is the media popularizing the content to the stimuli? McLuhan advises us not to assume but rather understand and carry an intellectual thought process.

Identically, he specifies on talks about the incredible change technology will impact on the human society. A well known phrase established by McLuhan goes as followed “The Medium Is The Message”. The medium is determined as the print in the message. People see the message as a large rather than a medium. McLuhan wants people to transfer their awareness on how the message is being communicated and it existence instead of fixating on the message. As he brings awareness to this issue, he is implementing the critical perspective by expanding the bounds of debate and betterment for society.

As has been noted, on an interview with Playboy Magazine from 1969, Marshall McLuhan stated “Today, in the electronic age of instantaneous communication, I believe that our survival, and at the very least our comfort and happiness, is predicted on understanding the nature of our new environment, because unlike previous environmental changes, the electric media constitute a total and near-instantaneous transformation of culture, values and attitudes.” His prediction to the affects of the electronic media is a warning for people to turn on their critical sensibility and debate within themselves. Doing so will not only better the individuals but the society as a whole.He illustrated the impact media will have on man as a trance people one will become a slave to.


Primacy of vision, commodification, individuality, including more concepts he cites as changes caused by the media of printing.[WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?]



Once it is understood that the median is the message rather than the mass will be the day humans break free from the chains of the electronic age.