Insider Team Assignment

Exceptionally well done, Team 7. Comprehensive, in-

depth, persuasive.

 

No names, so I don’t know who did what.

No pictures, videos, websites.

The Insider Team Assignment

Team 7

10/10/18

 

  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.

Jeffrey Wigand faces an enormous amount of pressure from various different sources on his quest to expose the tobacco industry. The first point of pressure comes from his being fired and being forced to sign an NDA that prohibits him from ever sharing the information he learned at B&W, which is exactly where the second pressure point comes in. Jeffrey is contacted by Lowell Bergman, the 60 Minutes producer that offers him a platform to inform the world and tell his side of the story. This comes with complications, the first being the previously mentioned NDA, and the second being that he is being offered a sum of money for the information he can provide, which he needs to take care of his family now that he no longer has a job. In regards to the tobacco case it is easy to say that the weight of maintaining the principles and values of concealment fell on Wigand, after all he did have a (reluctantly) signed document with his former employer. However, here is where it becomes tricky, yes, he is compelled to keep these secrets by law, but isn’t he also compelled to tell the truth if it will hurt millions of people all over the world? If it already has? His case is black and white, unlike many, but to him revealing this information comes at a cost, his and his family’s safety, his liberty and his morality. By revealing this information Wigand very clearly breaks laws, including but not limited to the NDA, the Kentucky gag order and many more for which he was sued over and over. Does the good this information does by being out in the open outweigh the implications of him breaking the law and his word? I would argue it does, not only is it the common health of the people, but the intended malice by the “Seven Dwarfs” by putting money above the general well being. To what point is okay to put your interest above the interest of the people? Especially when you are driving a service for them, and not telling them all the facts? This is really where we dwell into what NDA’s imply, and what they have come to mean. NDA’s have become a way for big industries, and even individuals, to conceal their dubious activities; this way anyone they come in contact with can be silenced with the threat of legal pursuit. The idea of NDA’s work in matter of business, when trade secrets are at hand, but when they are being used to cover up criminal activity and conceal harmful information they simply cross a line. Wigand saw this line being crossed, and after having been repeatedly assaulted by B&W, he decided to share with the world what he knew was right. He became the most important whistle blower of his time, and change the world as we know it, forever.

 

  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.

The non-disclosure agreement is a contractual agreement that is meant to keep involved parties quiet about secrets and to prevent harmful information from spreading and reaching the public. Jeffrey Wigand signed an NDA as part of his severance negotiations following his departure from the Brown & Williamson tobacco company in 1993. The NDA was a serious obstacle that prevented Wigand from revealing to CBS’s 60 Minutes the very real dangers of the tobacco industry to public safety. Threatened by losing his severance package and facing an intimidating prosecution, Wigand was wary about speaking up. CBS did not want to publish his interview out of fear of legal action.

The NDA has become a crucial aspect of various industries due to how effective they are at concealing the truth. For many types of businesses, an NDA can be justified for the safety and success of the company. Trade secrets often must be protected from both the public and competitors. It could be argued that B&W were trying to protect the interests of employees and investors, within their legal rights, by trying to silence Wigand. The main issue with B&W’s justification is that they put their reputation over public safety.

The NDA at its core allows malicious secrecy to thrive which is problematic to a society that values transparency and truth. Corporations are not the only ones an NDA protects from consequences. Many of the sexual assault victims of Hollywood producer, Harvey Weinstein, were threatened by an NDA that prevented them to speak about his crimes.

NDAs have also appeared in the public sector to maintain the secrecy of government and intelligence agency operations. The government often uses national security as justification for secrecy. Before Edward Snowden spoke out, employees of the NSA were not even allowed to publicly acknowledge that they were conducting surveillance that some would consider to be unconstitutional.

  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. The attacks made on Wigand’s reputation were made in a time where TV and newspaper was the main source of media. Therefore, meaning that when they tried to smear his name, they didn’t have as much of a reach as they would’ve had today. When they aired the news about Wigand’s shoplifting history or failure to pay child support, it was aired at a specific time. If someone wasn’t near a TV or they were less fortunate and couldn’t afford one, they would’ve missed the segment completely and wouldn’t have been aware of any of the information that was being leaked out. The same thing occurred if someone happened to miss the newspaper that day, they also would’ve been out of the loop.

        With the social media presence today, any type of news spreads like a wildfire. McLuhan said it best when he called today’s age a global village. Any information is delivered immediately due to the internet and everyone being interconnected. Whether you’re casually on your computer scrolling through the internet or on your phone, you’re going to find out about the latest news somehow. Some people are avid news watchers and some rely solely on social media for all their news. Scanlon and Lenzner would’ve taken to social media all the “dirt” they had on Wigand and posted it. This would then be picked up my multiple news outlet and grow a lot more rapidly than it would on TV or the newspaper. As for Palladino and his team, using today’s outlets would’ve made it easier and faster for them to see the outbreak and responded to all the allegations the moment they got word of it, due to the fact that, a simple tweet or a blog entry can be done faster than producing an entire segment or waiting for the paper to print.

 

  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.

 

     In the meeting, Helen Caperelli is arguing from the standpoint of the legal aspect and the implications that can follow from “tortious interference” for CBS. She gave actual facts, which were also effectively persuasive because Wallace and Hewitt’s perspectives were influenced through the information she gave them. Meanwhile, Bergman’s view is that, interference happens all the time and as a news station they need to verify if it’s true and in the public interest, and if it is then they air it. Bergman is coming from the perspective that the truth should be aired to the public no matter what the implications are. Bergman’s argument is appealing to the public interest, and he was persuasive but not enough to change CBS’s stance about the segment. Wallace’s initial argument was that the truth should be aired as long as they corroborate it, but ask about the risks involved and seems hesitant. The argument Wallace makes is for the public but he has some reservations due to the implications of “tortious interference”. Hewitt was more silent during the meeting but he did jump in to ask “What’s the CBS News position?”, which like Wallace shows he’s more hesitant about the segment airing than Bergman. In this scene Wallace and Hewitt both want the segment to air but Bergman was the only person really pushing for it. Bergman is the most eager and determined to air the story. Even though at the end of the meeting Wallace sounds hopeful about the segment when he tells Bergman “Don’t worry, we call the shots around here.” Wallace’s statement gives Bergman sort of a false sense of hope. Soon after the meeting with Helen Caperelli, Wallace and Hewitt side with Kluster. Kluster’s opinion on the matter is he doesn’t want to air the segment.

 

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Thesis Stament

HI, I SENT YOU AN EDITED VERSION OF THIS BY EMAIL.

SK

5464421

SCOTT KASS

On July 2, 2018 Seattle becomes the first major city in the US to ban plastic utensils and straws in all bars and restaurants, the decision comes under a presidency that has made claims of “climate change not being real”  and brings on wave of other states that claim to want to make the same change. In a highly controversial time, where the world at large is instant in making decision that will decidedly change it for future generations, the most influential country on the planet seems to be taking a step in the right direction.

Thesis statement

GREAT THESIS. I APPROVE AND LOOK FORWARD TO YOUR ESSAY.

SCOTT KASS

 

 

The French government’s efforts to stop prostitution have worsened the conditions of prostitutes and endangered them. Additionally, the negative perception about prostitutes that still exists causes the government to disregard the seriousness of the criminal activity prostitutes must face to perform their job. Therefore, while protests for the abolition of this law create awareness of the issue, the French government is drawing attention away from it by claiming that the purpose of this law is to eliminate violence and protect its citizens. 

 

My world event is about the prostitute that was killed in France that has been causing debate on whether the new law against prostitution is to blame for her death or not.

48 Hours News Blackout

Mariana, you capture the uncertainty, ambivalence, and anxiety that we all feel in the new information environment. Good essay. I especially like the blue lines. Unique, arresting, and honest.

Watch out for run-together sentences. 

 

Mariana Gil

5464421

Immersing myself in this 48 hour news blackout was one of the most difficult things I have ever done. The most diffident difficult part of this endeavor was to actually manage a blackout. It is difficult when we live in a time of the 24-hour news cycle. It is not only is constant,  but it follows you around on  your phone, your radio, everywhere. Even though Our generation was either born into it so we are accustomed to it. We have brief moments in our childhood when we are free of electronic devices.or maybe the last to live out childhoods without the constant presence of a technological device, we have all become accustomed to it. The constant noise, the chattering, it can be pretty deafening once it is gone. [GREAT LINE]

To be able to comply with the rules of this blackout I had to grow pretty deep into all my social media, unfollowing people of twitter and instagram. I deleted facebook overall from my phone because that one is impossible to purge, and then I also had to delete all the new apps. Television wasn’t a problem for me, except for public places since I mostly just watch streaming services. I must say that this experiment was very strange, and I did feel a little disconnected at times. Especially because this week was very important in, I must say the history of America, with Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing. It was difficult for me to stay away from the news media. I felt tempted at times and even more tempted to ask about it because, well, we live in the age of information and I must keep informed and form my own opinions. In regards to solitude, I didn’t really experience much of it. In this day and age it is pretty easy to change the conversation on to another topic, and sincerely most people only dwell on the news for a second or two before getting distracted by some other thing. Since I am not nog on sports nor are any of my friends, the only thing that affected me was political news and world news. If you are not being tormented by them 24/7, it is pretty easy to feel even lighter and even kind of forget about the rest of the world. Society today likes to claim that it is worldly and global, and that we care for the rest of the world as much as we care bout our everyday lives, but after this 48 hours, the truth is that I have noticed that we are more selfish than we like to admit. It was the absence of the news cycle in my personal life, that made me notice the seemingly minute effect it seems to have within my personal life. [GOOD] If we are not being directly affected by the news that is being reported at every second, and if our personal lives and bubbles of society will continue to be unaffected in the near future, it is easy to forget about our impending doom, and that is what the cycle feeds off of. Overall this assignment was a learning opportunity, and very eye opening. I have found that ignorance makes for a quieter much calmer existence.

Individual Assignment 3: 48-hour news blackout

Shantel, you capture the uncertainty, ambivalence, and anxiety that we all feel in the new information environment. I love the blue line. Good work.

Watch out for run-on sentences. Ouch!

Shantel Sanchez

Team 7

The shift in society that has taken place has greatly affected the perception that people have on life by changing our priorities, we once strongly believed in the idea of solitude. In fact, solitude was even viewed as a necessity, whereas present-day people are rarely able to experience being alone or disconnected from the rest of society for more than a few hours; now it is even believed that there is a need for companionship and connection.[Well, there has always been a need for companionship and connection, all the way back to the caveman. But what I think you mean here is that there is a new, frantic, anxious need to be electronically hooked up to everybody else–that kind of connection, right?] As a person from this modern era, it was extremely difficult to fight the temptation to use news outlets to connect to the world around me for 48 hours because just like the rest of the contemporary people, celebrity and connectivity is what I hope to achieve by staying connected. Deresiewicz (2009) states “in modernism it was authenticity, then in postmodernism it is visibility” to better explain how drastic this change is. The thought of being disconnected and clueless of my surroundings created anxiety because I had to feel like I was part of society. A desire to belong took over me. Throughout the 48 hours while spending my time away from the news , there was never a single thought about focusing on myself. The first and only thought in my mind was centered around my image to others and how I fit into society with them; my mind was filled with anxiety, which was caused by the worries about the repercussions that the loss of connectivity could bring. INTERESTING, GOOD.

Immediately, I reached out to friends to keep me company because I couldn’t stand the thought of being disconnected.  Therefore, I sought human interaction to avoid feeling alone. When the most common form of connection to society and our surroundings, which is the news, is not available, the human mind will seek for every possible alternative to stay connected, due to its dependency on the communal. As explained by Deresiewicz (2009), solitude has always been a “societal value” or a part of everyday life followed religiously, but that has been lost due to social norms that have replaced that essential human Value.

While the news does keep us informed and connected to the world, it also affects our solitude, which is very important because we all need to experience being without others for a while. News is a necessary intrusion into our solitude because it no longer keeps us apart from rest the world. News combats solitude. Human beings crave being informed because it gives us a feeling of involvement which often stops us from feeling alone. This is clearly shown in this example from Deresiewicz (2009), by a present-day person when asked about what place solitude has in their lives, her life, she replied, “why would anyone want to be alone?”  In other eras anyone would answer in an opposite way, such as, “Why would anyone not want their alone time?”. Technology has taken away that experience of autonomy that we all still need once in a while because recent technology has not only modernized the way we do things. It has also modernized the way we think.

Bibliography
The End of Solitude by William Deresiewicz – Articles – House of Solitude – Hermitary. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.hermitary.com/solitude/deresiewicz.html

48-Hour News Blackout

Amanda, you capture the uncertainty, ambivalence, and anxiety that we all feel in the new information environment. Your writing has a nice personal touch. More description than analysis, but good.

 

 

Amanda Batista 

Team 7

Deresiewicz article “The End of Solitude” is about how in today’s society we seek validation through connectivity and celebrity. I personally do see myself as part of this argument unfortunately, especially with the use of social media. Sometimes I will post a picture on Instagram and sit there for a little refreshing my feed to see how many likes or who likes the picture. As bad as it sounds, I noticed I’m not the only one who does this. A lot of my friends do it as well, mostly girls. We want to be “known”. As stated in the article, we want to feel important or validated. Another example I can think of would be on Snapchat. A lot of people have this need to go through everyone’s story, and I believe it coincides with this fear of missing out. Everyone wants to feel connected and up to date with what people are doing because they don’t want to miss out on something. 

     Deresiewicz also states that in our society we are losing solitude because we are always connected to the phone. The article says how one student said the thought of being alone is unsettling, and I feel like a vast majority feel the same way too. We now have technology at our fingertips constantly that we are never truly alone. During the 48-hour news blackout I realized how incredibly hard it is to avoid listening to the news, especially when there’s something really significant going on. I couldn’t even do the full 48 hours because I take uber everyday, and one of them kept asking me if I was following the most recent updates on the Kavanaugh-Ford case. The driver really wanted to talk about it, so to be polite I listened, but I couldn’t really add to the conversation because I hardly knew anything recent about the case. I also went to workout at the gym, and when I was running on the treadmill, there was a T.V. in front of me showing the news. Even when I was on Twitter or Snapchat there were news stories that showed up on my feed, even if you don’t though I don’t follow any news channels or outlets. I realized how hard it is to be completely in the dark and oblivious to what is happening in the world if you are connected to any sort of electronic device.

     I feel like we do take having the news so accessible to us for granted because people and don’t understand the power of it. The news can influence your point of view or connect people from around the world. I do think that the news is a necessary intrusion of our solitude, but not necessarily in a bad way. I feel that there needs to be a healthy balance where you’re connected yet you also take time to spend alone to reflect. 

48 Hour News Blackout

 

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

The pink part is best. Could have expanded this self-analysis and cut some of the other generalization and summary, but what you do say is very good.

Alberto Lionarons

Team 7

When initially challenged to do a 48-hour media blackout. I was intrigued. In fact, I almost believed that it would be easy. 2 days, when you think about it, isn’t really all that long a period of time. I would eventually come to learn that it wouldn’t be as easy as I thought it would be.

My blackout began on Wednesday and the first couple of hours were easy enough. There have been days before where I wouldn’t touch my cell phone for hours; of course, those were days before the large-scale social media impact of the 2010s. It’s easy enough to avoid news-centered websites. The real challenge was avoiding social media. So much of our social life is entrenched in social media. All kinds of news get spread on social media. It’s not just about politics. With social media, I expose myself to news about my favorite entertainment, sports, and even about events that are going on at my college campus. I couldn’t even look at some of the memes that my friends sent me since they were political and contained news.

I slowly realized how much I relied on technology to feel connected with the rest of the world. I also realized how much news was forced into my life. It became especially hard the second day, which was the day of the Brett Kavanaugh Hearing. It was a big political event that a lot of people were talking about on places like Facebook. It was on the televisions in the library. I couldn’t even go to the gym without CNN on the big screen. I had to exercise outside that day.

The longer the blackout went on, the more I anxious I became. I had felt a need to know what was going on in my world. In those hours I became aware of how quiet my apartment really is. The solitude did give me some space to be alone with my thoughts, which often led to boredom. It wouldn’t be so bad if I had company to embrace solitude with me. Everywhere I looked people were on phones and computers receiving and distributing information. The Internet community has become louder than the physical community we inhabit. This paired with the urbanization of society has made it very difficult to communicate effectively without modern technology. If you’re not on any form of social media, you are out of the loop. Deresiewicz was correct in his statement that this type of solitude is socially undesirable in contemporary times.

This whole experience truly made me realize how prominent and important news and media is to our daily societal participation. Technology is heavily entrenched in how we communicate, and I feel uneasy thinking about how we’ll eventually become even more reliant on technology.