Thesis Statement – Nathaniel Cuevas

Thesis Statement: On a beautiful Monday, during the beginning of a new week, President Trump visited FIU to discuss and address the ongoing crisis in Venezuela. The country that was once South America’s richest country is currently in turmoil due to boycotts, voting fraud, and many other factors that have left more than half of the countries people in poverty. Venezuela has impacted the world by communicating, sharing, and influencing different countries, who side with the “acting president” or the current president. This great impact even has the United States involved, which a reason why President Trump visited South Florida to address the crisis.

Not approved: Are you analyzing the impact Venezuela has on the world through media? You should make that clear. You can eliminate the beautiful monday beginning of a new week…while poetic, it’s not necessary here. Good topic and idea though! just a bit a reworking


Team 5 Assignment 2

  • 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.

Hello Team 5,

Some excellent points were made in Question 1 analyzing the film using concepts from secrecy/revelation. A couple of grammatical issues “core principles and values were to lie”: principles and values are things and not actions. Each question was answered with a demonstrated comprehension of secrecy and the events that occurred in The Insider and, with a few exceptions, well-written.

The film “The Insider” shared the true story behind the events Jeffrey Wigand had to face and the time leading up to his “60 Minutes” Interview. Wigand’s life was turned upside down when he got caught in between the tobacco war. After being fired from his job at Brown & Williamson (B&W), he was restrained, harassed, and even threatened. The values behind concealment and revelation were prominent throughout the tobacco case. The first main example of concealment was the Brown & Williamson company restricting Jeffrey under a contract. After getting fired from the B&W company, Wigand was contacted by Bergman, an executive at CBS who needed help interpreting a few documents. After this meeting, Wigand was forced by B&W into a more restricted non-disclosure and confidentiality agreement with harsh consequences if he did not cooperate. Dr. Wigand knew too much about the tobacco company’s undercover attempts to increase sales and had intel information that could potentially damage the reputation and public image of the company. Thus, jeopardizing his value/benefits with them. The harsh restriction from B&W was also protecting the company from their lies and confidentiality. Ethically speaking, the company was acting in favor of their own interest rather than that of the public eye. Wigand and Bergman, on the other hand, believed that the public should know the truth behind the company’s hidden agenda. 

As the film progressed, Wigand struggled to decide whether or not he would abide by his contract of concealing information. Though his values eventually changed after receiving death threats from anonymous, but likely B&W personnel. This led him to change his mind and contact Bergman to have the interview with CBS’ “60 Minutes”. Wigan then had a revelation about the company during court, by speaking the truth and therefore exposing B&W. Wigan and Bergman both experienced tremendous risk and backlash as they were unsure where the story could lead. Wigan didn’t only have to look out for himself, but for his family as well: It can be understood why his wife left him as the constant fear of looking over their shoulders was too much to handle and greatly interfered with their private life. Bergman and Mike Wallace also dealt with the possibility of a lawsuit, shall they air the official interview which reveals the classified information of the tobacco company. For weeks, they were unsure of whether or not they would air the interview and what the possible repercussions of doing so would be. Brown and Williamson’s’ core principles and values during this dilemma were to lie and manipulate the public into thinking that Wigan was exaggerating; when in reality they were covering their illegal and nasty methods of boosting sales by adding other chemicals to the already addictive substance, known as nicotine. Despite the case becoming increasingly popular and headlining nearly everywhere, they pushed to make sure that the general population would understand the risks of continuing to consume tobacco product from B&W. Both were able to achieve this by getting the public to be concerned with this issue or in other words, raising awareness for the problem. 

  • 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? 

The non-disclosure agreement (NDA) is a legal contract between at least two parties sharing confidential material with the purpose of not sharing it with anybody and wish to restrict access to a third party.  Wigand was unemployed and if he breached his NDA he would lose his medical coverage which he needed to treat his daughter who had asthma. The dilemma of the NDA held Wigand on deciding what he should do. The Brown & Williamson company knew that the information Wigand had was important, sort of like a “secret formula” and if Wigand revealed the information, other companies would copy Brown and Williamson’s formula and cause them to lose millions of dollars.

According to the government, “President Donald Trump’s top advisers were asked to sign non-disclosure agreements (NDAs), forcing them to keep quiet about what happens in the White House”. For the government, the value of information is a priority and they make their employees sign NDAs because in case someone leaves, the government would not want the employee to reveal information that could harm the country or the people. Another reason is that when the government makes their employees sign these contracts, the employees are less likely to break the contract as they know they could be sued. The employees also work with people’s personal information and if any of it leaks, it could cause chaos because people trust the government to keep their information safe. 

  • 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.

McLuhan notes that we as consumers blindly observe and take notes of the messages media presents when in reality we should be more mindful of their push of agendas. Utilizing McLuhan’s outlook that “the medium is the message” we can reason that Scanlon/Lanzer created a 500-page dossier not to just advise the public about their ex-employee Wigand’s faults, but also to assassinate his character and disprove him as credible witness to the hidden effects of nicotine in cigarettes; this was an action taken in order to prevent big tobacco companies from losing millions in revenue because of Wigan’s claims worrying cigarette smokers. 

Scanlon/Lenzner disbursement of their dossier via television news stations solidifies McLuhan’s perspective because in sharing this dossier with news outlets, not only do Scanlon/Lenzner imply nationally that Wigand’s faults make him incompetent to share truth about big tobacco, but also embarrass and humiliate the fearful and paranoid Wigand further because news of his faults would be ubiquitous. Palladino allows The Wall Street Journal to publish an article exposing that evidence of Wigand ’s allegations in the 500-page dossier is backed by scant or contradictory evidence. In sharing the news of Wigand’s allegations to be false, The Wall Street Journal exemplifies McLuhan’s outlook because rather than the maintenance of Wigand’s reputation matters, what matters is that a credible source is solidifying that the effects of nicotine in tobacco should be dispersed to the American public.

Currently, the media looks to disperse allegations in a manner quickly and ubiquitously, so if the war over Wigand’s reputation were to happen in 2018, it would be trending on social media via the internet, online news, television, and print sources, and even in worldwide news. False accusations concerning Wigand’s character may have been disputed via internet communication, television and internet interviews.  

  • 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.

     During the film, The Insider, main characters Bergman, Wallace, and Hewitt attend a meeting with CBS general counsel Helen Caperelli to discuss how the 60 Minutes Wigand piece will affect the company, demonstrating different modes of rhetoric throughout.  Lowell Bergman, an investigative journalist for CBS 60 Minutes, is one of the main men behind Wigand’s piece on exposing the Brown and Williamson tobacco company. Bergman’s intended audience is the general public, specifically people who support Brown and Williamson’s tobacco products since the company is lying about their cigarettes being more addictive. Throughout the process of the interview with Wigand coming together, Bergman uses the rhetorical mode of narration, including background information on the tobacco company and the rhetoric mode of description, giving details and creating a picture for the public to visualize. Bergman also uses logos, from the rhetoric triangle, to focus on the negative facts that Brown and Williamson have been manipulating nicotine through ammonia chemistry and hiding it from the public.  

Mike Wallace, an American journalist, and Don Hewitt, a news producer for CBS, both had an intended audience similar to Bergman’s. Their intended audience was the general public interested in exclusive news pieces such as the interview with Wigand and the interview conducted at the beginning of the film with Hezbollah founder, Sheikh Fadlallah. Although Wallace and Hewitt acquire the same intended audience as Bergman, their modes of rhetoric differ. Wallace and Hewitt both used the rhetorical modes of compare and contrast, and analogy since both end up siding with CBS Corporate to edit the interview in order to prevent the risk of the company getting sued by B&W. They both compared and contrasted how things would turn out in the future if they left Wigand’s interview unedited. Wallace and Hewitt used ethos, from the rhetoric triangle, as well, demonstrating their “goodwill” to CBS by editing the tapes and following orders.  

CBS general counsel, Helen Caperelli, used the rhetorical mode of cause and effect, to explain how this interview could potentially have big consequence for CBS if it gets aired to the public, due to the risky content that could leave CBS with a billion-dollar lawsuit against B&W. Her intended audience were the people present at the meeting, which includes Bergman, Wallace, and Hewitt. Caparelli also used ethos, from the rhetoric triangle, which allowed her to use her credibility and authority at CBS Corporate, to weigh in on the topic of the interview and how it might affect the company altogether. Thus, guiding the participants of the meeting to what might be best for CBS in the end. 

Question 1 – Nathaniel Cuevas and Pedro Almeyda

Question 2 – Josue San Martin

Question 3 – Dane Witter

Question 4 – Veronica Martinez

Editors – Alana Ortiz and Pedro Almeyda 

Works Cited

“NDAs and Confidential Settlements Shake State Capitols and City Halls.” Governing Magazine: State and Local Government News for America’s Leaders, Governing,

48-hour news blackout by: Josue San Martin

In this 48 hours that I disconnected from the world I was able to see the argument of Deresiewicz and how society is walking away from solitude, including myself. As Deresiewicz said, “the computer is creating a culture of connectivity” when I was disconnected from the world I did not see a connectivity with anyone but with myself. Made me analyze the time when I use the computer to check social media and connect with the people I was looking at but in this time where I did not check anything or anyone, I was disconnected from the world and the only connection I had was with myself. Deresiewicz also said that we are turning into miniature celebrities. With the rise of social media people use cameras to create a culture of celebrity and with every profile, there is a miniature celebrity where everyone can see it and where no one is alone.

After the first 18 hours I started to realize and analyze the importance of the technology in my life. Going outside without knowing if it was going to rain, not knowing what was going on in the world, not knowing how my father and my sisters are doing in another country. I did not have any type of connection with the world. I tried to fill out the gap with different activities but in the end even though I could barely fulfill the gap there was one thing missing and it was the interaction with another individual. In this time of complete solitude, I was able to analyze that the human is a creature that more than a desire, is a need to socialize with other species, not only other humans but with animals and the nature as well. For survival, the human needs to interact with a cow in order to get milk and survive. Cavemen needed interaction in order to survive. When one of them was sleeping the other one would look up for predators and vice versa in order to survive.

When I was getting closer to the 48 hours, I analyzed the importance of news and why is a good intruder in solitude. Without news I would have no idea what is happening in the community and around the world. In this solitude time, I compare the world with the movie “Ghost in the shell” and how news and technology are taking us apart from solitude. Solitude made me analyze myself in a way Major Kusanagi did when she was diving into the ocean. Technology might take us apart from solitude but we can also find time to be in solitude as Major Kusanagi did. Solitude and technology can interact with each other. I came with an analysis where I agree with Deresiewicz that the human needs solitude to secure integrity as well as to explore it. But the human also needs connectivity, beacuse I came with the conclusion where connectivity brings happiness and when I was alone 48 hours, I was unhappy.  nice references to Ghost and the reading throughout your work. a very different take on this assignment. I cannot say I completely agree that the connection between interaction with animals and nature is comparable to the the arguments made in the article, but it is an interesting diversion from the usual take aways.

48-hour News Blackout: Veronica Martinez, Team #5

After throwing myself in a Twilight Zone of partial solitude, I realized how immersed I am in the culture of celebrity and connectivity.  good

Following a news blackout experience for 48-hours, my world was turned upside down. I underestimated how much I rely on technology and the need to know constant information around me, whether it’s from the local news to the latest celebrity gossip. I found myself desperate for any sort of digital freedom that could ease my mind after feeling a form of partial solitude during those incessant 48-hours. In the article, “The End of Solitude” by Deresiewicz, he mentions that, “Not long ago, it was easy to feel lonely. Now, it is impossible to be alone.” This quote stood out to me most throughout the article since it was relatable during those isolated 48-hours. As I disengaged from the digital universe, I was left mesmerized after methodically examining how people were able to function without social media or any form of technology in earlier times. 

Loneliness and boredom had never crossed my mind, but, after this 48-hour experiment of disconnecting myself, I learned that those two feelings make me nervous and unsettled. Deresiewicz states that, “Technology is taking away our privacy and concentration, but it is also taking away our ability to be alone.” I realized that technology acts as a substitute and distraction for things that should require more attention, such as building meaningful relationships and being more productive. The quality that validates us is the way we are seen by others. 

By blocking myself from my normal news induced lifestyle, I had ample time to reflect on my choices. I did not realize how immersed I was in the culture of celebrity and connectivity, defining every move I make throughout my daily routine. Like many millennials, I am constantly on social media and taking selfies. The thought of a day without Snapchat filters destroyed the way I operated, driving me to mere insanity. Only stepping away from my delusional bubble was I able to see my robot-like, technological consumed, life and it terrified me. Apprehensiveness, also, played a significant part throughout this 48-hour news concealment since I was unequivocally thinking of what might be happening in the outside world and how I was going to catch up with all of the information as soon as the end of the 48thhour strikes the clock. I filled in the gaps by spending time with my family and going outside more. By being absorbed by technology for so long, I never really paid attention to how breathtaking nature can be and it broke my heart. 

To conclude, the 48-hours spent in the digital Twilight Zone were brutal but, it helped me realize how dependent I am on technology and news. Having said that, it is also important to understand that news is a necessary intrusion of our solitude. News not only forms a connection with those close to us, but, keeps us connected with others around the world. 


very well done analysis, organization of thoughts and writing and references to assignment questions and readings.

48-hour News Blackout


After reading Deresiewicz’s “The End of Solitude” article, I came to realize just how much I can relate to the majority of ideas that the author writes about in this post. very clunky language used here Deresiewicz goes into detail about the transition that we’ve made over the years: from not knowing what boredom itself was to being fully aware of it today and acting upon it when we experience the emotion. The author brings up multiple great points regarding Solitude today; one sentence that really caught my eye colloquial language was “Solitude becomes, more than ever, the arena of heroic self-discovery, a voyage through interior realms made vast and terrifying by Nietzschean and Freudian insights”. The reason this really appeals to me is that during my 48-hour news blackout, I found my self anxious for new content; constantly searching for things to do in order to not feel ‘bored’. In the first 8-10 hours, I found my self struggling as all my intentions were going towards opening the Twitter or Instagram app on my iPhone. However, once I applied a restriction (also known as Screen Time) on the operating system of my device, it was easy to not launch any news related application. Anytime I wanted to open an app that could feed me information, a pop-up screen would appear indicating “this content is blocked for the next xx hours”. This is where self-discovery comes in; I started to appreciate the smaller things surrounding me, whether it was finally practicing the guitar for more than ten minutes or just participating in social interactions with my family for longer than five minutes without looking at my phone. I also began to think about how our lives today compared to those who didn’t grow up with the Internet several decades back. Deresiewicz’s also brought up the point on how he was trained to be bored. To me, this translates over to growing up in a non-technological world where one is forced to interact with others at a personal level because there was nothing beyond that. In other words, when Deresiewicz’s states “I was trained to be bored”, it reflects on how solitude is different today than what it was far before. Boredom was the default as there was nothing more to look forward to because the human brain did not know anything greater than the concept of personally interacting with others.  Today, we have adapted our selves and minds to the presence of social media, phones, computers and more. It is why times are changing and why the emotion of “solitude” empowers and stimulates us to get up and seek new information rather than having no input at all. In my experience, we have accustomed and disciplined our minds to seek for relevant modern-day news in order to keep us up to date with recent and current events, so that we can later transmit or share with other acquaintances.  some good ideas and analysis here. the writing style is too colloquial and informal in some places. you also should have separated these ideas into paragraphs.

Nathaniel Cuevas Team 5 – 48 Hour News Blackout

Within the world and society, we live in today comma should be here technology has expanded so much. Creating this social world for us where we are able to stay connected, laugh, and share our lives with others. From the article titled “The End of Solitude” written by William Deresiewicz, to giving up my phone and social life 48 hours, subject needed here for sentence to work all ties into the lesson of how we try to stay connected with everyone and how we need to disconnect. Williams article pointed out very great points about our fear of living alone end sentence and start new one here and pushing myself to stay away from the social world for 48 hours was quiet challenging.

            William Deresiewicz article titled “The End of Solitude” was very intriguing and brought up a few points I did not think about. you don’t need to state the author and title. it is assumed. did not think about when and in what context? William began his article by discussing the connection between the camera and celebrities. In todays world we all want to be scene just like celebrities do themselves. We post to share our lives and to be scene by others creating this sense of connection. This type of “terror” William calls is anonymity. To avoid anonymity or in other words “anonymous” we share out lives to everyone through a camera and the social world provided by technology. I see myself in Williams argument as he mentions how at a very young age we grow very dependent on social patterns. I remember for myself at a young age when social media, tv, and texting began to become more popular. Ever since then I continue to rely using my phone to communicate with others on a daily basis. there is too much summary in this paragraph.

            As of February 15th I began my 48 hour process of disconnecting from the world. Shutting my phone off, no news outlets, social media, and or TV. I knew before beginning the process, it was going to be difficult for me. My phone, which allows me to stay connected with others, is part of my life on the daily. William through his article mentioned feeling solitude and the point of disconnecting was to feel solitude for 48 hours. From the beginning of the process, I did not feel any solitude. I had moments where I did not want to feel alone. I wanted to stay connected through texting my friends and family. Not being able to roam through social media bothered me. Although there were a few moments I did feel solitude, such as taking a moment to go outside for a walk or at the gym. Things such as the weather or other new sources is stuff we take for granted. Many other countries sadly don’t have access to weather reports to the cant prepare for natural disasters, or the media and news sources are not being controlled. which countries are these? For our solitude it is necessary for news to intrude because even though, why is there a comma here? we are alone its still important to know what’s going on in the world to survive such as the weather. “to survive such as” does not make sense as a sentence. it is important to know what is going on in the world to survive. for instance, the weather forecast alerts us to impending catastrophic conditions, such as severe thunderstorms and hurricanes.

            The experience trying to survive with no form of communicating was the most challenging. I realize how I’m so dependent to feeling connected. Williams article brought up great points and we should take time to disconnect and feel solitude for once.

Hi Nathaniel, I hope you do not take my corrections personally. You need to make sure your sentences and grammar are correct. There was also a lot of summary and you used very informal tone. please see the writing center or make an effort to do the assignment ahead of time next time.

Assignment 3 -48 hour news blackout :Dane W. -team 05

In my 48 hours of news disconnect, it became a struggle to avoid news from both my personal devices and others unaware of my challenge without headphones for most of the day. Sometimes, I found myself anxious to be informed about other people’s lives but relieved myself by playing more basketball and reading edifying material. I found that since I was not paying attention to the idling of others that I needed to reflect on myself and took the time to write down why and how should take the steps to improve my physical, mental, and spiritual health.
Deresiewicz noted, “ The last thing to say about solitude is that it isn’t very polite.” I indeed found this to be true because even though they were forewarned, a few of my family and friends still were upset that they could not contact me as my phone was either turned off, on Do Not Disturb, or logged out of all social media. My attempt to achieve temporary solitude was seen as inconsiderate by others requiring my attention, but being alone allowed me to evaluate myself, focusing on personal aspects which I can improve on to better daily interactions and interpersonal relationships .
I did experience instances where I became anxious to partake in news media before going to sleep, as I laid (past tense is lay) in bed desiring to receive the rap, sports, and fashion culture related news I usually receive from Instagram. I also encountered the obstacle of obtaining assignment related notifications because I needed to log out of my email accounts to prevent various news sources from informing me.
Missing out on actionable information, such as weather, caused me to be annoyed and upset because I had to endure wearing shorts in approximately 60 degree weather. In another instance, I lost out on a few business opportunities to resell sneakers because I was unaware of their predictions which I would get from Instagram.
Deresiewicz asserts, “Not long ago, it was easy to feel lonely. Now, it is impossible to be alone.” The widespread impact of news and the media has made Americans relatively unappreciative of access to differential news perspectives and relevant information that would never be dispersed in other areas of the world.News dispersement has so much importance because it provides us with the information necessary to preserve ,inspire , and diminish the motives of both current and future movements that will ultimately benefit our society.
News can create more solitude by granting individuals opportunities to internally focus on how given information impacts us and how we can use the information we are given to aid or suppress others and internalize behaviors and actions we should or should not repeat as a person, institution, or entity.
News can also intrude our solitude because it is being constantly presented to us even when we do not solicit. It is because of constant news dispersement that new opinions are formed and presented when we can be self reflecting or focusing on other tasks.

great writing, and I am glad you took such a rigorous approach to the assignment although it seemed to have a somewhat negative impact on your life temporarily. Your analysis of your experience with the reading and your conclusions about news media were very well done.