48-hour media blackout – Gaby Gabino – Group 22

Hi Gaby,

Excellent points made throughout your post. Good connections to Deresiewicz as well. Your writing style is very good, good word choice, good sentence structure and good organization. Well-done!

To be completely honest, this assignment was extremely challenging. For the forty-eight-hour blackout I deleted all social media and news apps from my phone simply to make it harder to give in. I knew that I relied on my phone and social media for many things, mainly to entertain myself, but I was unaware of just how reliant I was. Throughout this blackout I mostly felt bored, and when I was not bored, I felt anxious. I found myself wanting to re-install them multiple times a day simply because I felt out of the loop with what was going on in the world. I quickly realized that my instant reaction to not having media was to keep myself busy. I could not just sit and do nothing without feeling anxious.   

When it comes to Deresiewicz argument about our culture of celebrity and connectivity, I do see myself in this argument because I often felt the need to be visible and recognized throughout these 48 hours. I felt as though I had fallen of the face of the earth when I disconnected from all media, and I know that sounds dramatic, but I felt as though I didn’t exist. I see myself in this argument because I feel that I live only in relation to others, as Deresiewicz explains in the article. If I cannot see what my friends are doing or what is going on in the world around me, I feel almost as if I didn’t exist. (sad, but understandably true at times)

After doing this forty-eight-hour media blackout I realized that I definitely want to take a step back from media because I want to be able to truly enjoy solitude. Even then, I do not want to be uninformed and I do feel that media is a necessary intrusion of solitude. After completing this assignment, I can also say that solitude is equally as important as news and media. (how true!)

When it comes to solitude and media, moderation is very important. I agree with Deresiewicz statements about media taking away our ability to be alone, but the reason that is happening is because we are constantly receiving so much media, both social and news. This becomes an issue because it leads to Deresiewicz’s argument about our culture of celebrity and connectivity. We feel that there is always something new to find out. In the same way, being too disconnected can also lead to issues. The events that happen in this world, whether it be locally or on the other side of the planet, affect us. In order to make change and form opinions we need to be informed on what is going on in our world. If we are uninformed and unaware of current events, we cannot defend our rights and the rights of others as citizens and human beings. (nice conclusion!) 


Annotated Bibliography-Andrea Vacca

Well-done Andrea. Nicely organized and clear presentation.  Good sources and good annotation. I look forward to your essay.


Thesis Statement: For the last decades the country of Venezuela has faced political, social, and economical issues. More than ever before in history, Venezuela’s political crisis appears to be reaching its boiling point as the efforts of the opposition continue to rise in order to remove socialist president, Nicolas Maduro. Through the use of social media portraying events, an increase of Venezuelans migrating, and interactions of government officials worldwide, people are able to see how the humanitarian and political crisis of the country have endured and that intervention is needed.   

Source 1: Book found in the FIU Library Catalog

United States Congress House Committee on Foreign Affairs. Expressing Profound Concern about the Ongoing Political, Economic, Social and Humanitarian Crisis in Venezuela, Urging the Release of Political Prisoners, and Calling for Respect of Constitutional and Democratic Processes.Government Publishing Office, 2016, FIU Website Catalog.

The U.S Government Congress session book provides a thorough examination of the deterioration of basic governance and economic crisis in Venezuelan and how it has led to an unprecedented humanitarian situation in Venezuela. It also describes how millions of Venezuelans are suffering from severe shortages of essential medicines and basic food products. The authors discuss evidence from the International Monetary Fund about Venezuela’s inflation and how the government of Nicolas Maduro has failed in accepting repeated requests from the majority of the National assembly and civil society organizations to bring humanitarian aid into the country. The book includes relevant information about Venezuela’s political, economic, and humanitarian crisis along with social tensions that have been formed. 

Source 2: Scholarly Journal found in Communications & Mass Media Complete

Echarte Fernandez, Miguel Angel, et al. “Un Análisis De La Crisis Económica De Venezuela Desde Los Postulados De La Escuela Austríaca De Economía.” An Analysis of the Economic Crisis in Venezuela from the Postulates of the Austrian School of Economics., vol. 15, no. 2, ser. 2018. 2018, eds.a.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.fiu.edu/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=8&sid=b7e27289-759a-4232-bbee-2d22184f7c59@sdc-v-sessmgr03.

In the article, Miguel Angel Fernandez analyzes the economic crisis of Venezuela from the perspective of the Austrian School of Economics. This article serves as an analytical tool to better understand the consequences of fiscal and monetary interventionism which has made it impossible for the Venezuelan government to centralize the economy. Fernandez also summarizes and analyzes the current situation in Venezuela which has reflected the causes that have generated the political, economic, and social crisis. The productive structure, monetary policy, and the setting of maximum prices and exchange control are also analyzed throughout the article. 

Source 3: Article in a popular Magazine found in Academic Onefile

“One republic, two presidents; Venezuela’s crisis.” The Economist, 26 Jan. 2019, p. 29(US). Academic OneFile, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A570872192/AONE?u=miam11506&sid=AONE&xid=fd991413. Accessed 9 Mar. 2019.

In this article, the turmoil of the political crisis of Venezuela is summarized by the events that have led the majority of support to the opposition leader Juan Guaido against former president Nicolas Maduro. The article mentions Guadio’s rise in becoming Venezuela’s interim president by the national assembly and his hope to end the regime of Maduro. Growing protests and minor military revolts show the immediate call of support that interim president Guaido needs for the country. The article also describes the corruption of government and military leaders who form part of controlling key areas of the economy such as oil, mining, and food distribution. 

Source 4: Newspaper in Venezuela found through a website

Cedrom. “Juan Guaido Pide Union: Articulo 187 Se Activara ‘Cuando Llegue El Momento.’” Venezuela Al Dia , 9 Mar. 2019.

The news article summarizes the events occurring right after the massive power outage Venezuela had to endure. The outage paralyzed Venezuela for more than 24 hours but according to Cedrom, the country activated themselves through a political protest held by interim president Juan Guiado and other opposition leaders. The article also mentions that the socialist party of Nicolas Maduro did not stay behind in holding a protest. With the power outage and overall crisis occurring in the country, opposition leader Guaido, called hundreds of people to manifest peacefully. Through the protests being held, Guaido announced that his major goals are to evoke constitutional articles 233, 333, and 187 when the right time appears. Tweets, photographs, and live videos about the manifestation were also included in the newspaper article. 

Source 5: Good Website Report found through a website

Casey, Nicholas, and Anatoly Kurmanaev. “Humanitarian Aid Stalls, Testing Venezuela’s Opposition.” The New York Times , 13 Feb. 2019, http://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/13/world/americas/aid-to-venezuela.html.

The news article by Nicholas Casey and Anatoly Kurmaney describe the incident that occurred in Cucuta, Colombia with guarded shipments of humanitarian aid trying to cross to the country of Venezuela. Casey and Kurmaney describe in detail how Venezuela’s opposition has brought donated supplies of food and medical kits to the country’s border with Colombia. The authors discuss how Maduro’s administration erected a crude blockade across the border bridge with Colombia and added relevant information of international relations dealing with the aid. The article also contains photographs of Venezuelans protesting for the humanitarian aid to cross over to their country and interim president Juan Guaido reuniting with the president of Colombia. 

Source 6: News Article found in Academic Onefile

“Venezuela’s crisis deepens.” Washington Post, 9 Jan. 2019. Academic OneFile, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A568935694/AONE?u=miam11506&sid=AONE&xid=af796a81. Accessed 9 Mar. 2019.

In this news article, the humanitarian crisis of Venezuela is summarized by the poor governing actions of President Nicolas Maduro who is responsible for the crisis. Venezuela was one of the region’s richest countries which is now suffering some epidemics of malnutrition, preventable diseases and violent crimes. The article summarizes the mass street protests, critical shortages of food, water, medicine, and power that are currently occurring in Venezuela. It also mentions the actions of international governments declaring Maduro’s presidency illegitimate and threatening sanctions. 

Gaby Gabino – Group 22 – annotated bibliography

Nicely done!  Nicely organized and clearly presented. I look forward to your essay. Good annotations too, good sources.

Over the past couple of months, discussions about sexual assault allegations made against the R&B artist, R. Kelly, and talk of the new docu-series “Surviving R. Kelly” have flooded both social and news media, changing the lives of many and ultimately leading to the arrest and indictment of the singer.


  1. Grant, Patricia H., and Paula I. Otto. Mass Media and Victims of Rape (from Controversies in Victimology, Second Edition, P 49-71, 2008, Laura J. Moriarty, Ed. — See NCJ-225281)., 2008. ProQuest. Web. 9 Mar. 2019.
    • This book speaks about protecting rape victims and how far media can go when reporting rapes and naming victims. It also talks about the likeliness or unlikeliness of victims reporting a rape depending on how public it is. This is perfect for my paper because it shows a different side of how media affects sexual assault victims.
    • found in ProQuest
  2. Kahlor, LeeAnn, and Matthew S. Eastin. “Television’s Role in the Culture of Violence Toward Women: A Study of Television Viewing and the Cultivation of Rape Myth Acceptance in the United States.” Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media55.2 (2011): 215-31. ProQuest. Web. 9 Mar. 2019.
    • In this article, the correlation between television and rape myth acceptance is analyzed. The research they found shows that it is more likely for a woman to believe a rape accusation and also that it is more likely for people who watch soap operas to believe a rape accusation. This works for my paper because I am discussing the connection between mass media and rape allegations.   
    • found in ProQuest
  3. Slaughter, Anne-Marie. “Social Media can Help Fight Corruption One ‘like’ at a Time.” FT.com (2018)ProQuest. Web. 9 Mar. 2019.
    • This article talks about how social media can be used as an anecdote. It discusses the effect of media and how it is basically “strength in numbers”. This works well with my topic because it fits with the topic of social media being a support system and making a difference, making people comfortable enough to call out their accusers.  
    • found in ProQuest
  4. Reuters. “R. Kelly Indictment Is Latest Case Fueled by TV Documentaries.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 25 Feb. 2019. Web. 10 Mar. 2019.
    • This newspaper article explains the details of the R.Kelly case and how media was a part of getting him indicted. This goes perfectly with the topic of this paper because it is about the R Kelly incident.
    • this article is from the newspaper The New York Times
  5. “Me Too. Movement.” You Are Not Alone. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Mar. 2019.
    • This website is perfect for my topic because it directly touches upon the way social media and mass media is used to spread awareness and share stories about sexual assault and harassment. The me too movement blew up on social media as a hashtag where women shared their traumas and experiences with sexual assault and harassment. This relates to my topic because it shows how social media specifically is used as a tool to bring awareness and make changes just like R.Kelly was ultimately indicted.   
    • This website is metoomovement.org
  6. Brin, Dinah. “Social Media Is a Major Consideration in Wave of Sexual Harassment Allegations.” SHRM. SHRM, 11 Apr. 2018. Web. 10 Mar. 2019.
    • This article talks about the use of social media to combat and stop sexual assault at the workplace. This is a big issue that is now being brought to people’s attention as it should be. This supports my topic perfectly because it touches the topic of social media and how it is being used.
    • This article is from the Society of Human Resource Management


Final Essay Thesis by Chabelis Leal-Team 22

On January 2019 a rare and deadly tornado ravaged through the streets of Havana Cuba, killing 6 people and leaving hundreds injured. Although the tornado made world headlines the actions of the communist regime in the aftermath of the natural disaster has managed to stay locked away in the island. Due to the lack of internet access and freedom of speech the inhuman acts of the Cuban government continue to go unnoticed as the 60-year anniversary of the Cuban revolution approaches.

Hi Chabelis,

Good work! Approved. Maybe ‘inhumane’ rather than ‘inhuman’


How to form a thesis statement for an informative essay?

  1. A strong thesis statement takes some sort of stand. Remember that your thesis needs to show your conclusions about a subject. …
  2. A strong thesis statement justifies discussion. Your thesis should indicate the point of the discussion. …
  3. A strong thesis statement expresses one main idea. …
  4. A strong thesis statement is specific.

Ursula Muñoz – Team 22 – Final Essay Thesis

Through the increasing polarization between the left and right, the Democratic party has been split between moderates and radical leftists quarreling over the correct way to combat Trump’s far right wave. The differences in the quality and amount of news coverage received by the various Democrats who have announced their candidacy for 2020 demonstrates this better than anything else.

The polarization of the Democratic party between moderates and radical leftists quarreling over the best way to combat Trump’s far right wave can be seen in the differences in the quality and quantity of news coverage the Democrats, who have announced their candidacy for the 2020 presidential election, have received.

Hi Ursula,

Pay attention to concise sentence structure.  Remember to incorporate class objectives into your essay. 

Andrea Vacca-Draft of Thesis Statement Final Essay

Good Andrea, approved!

For the last decades the country of Venezuela has faced political, social, and economical issues. More than ever before in history, Venezuela’s political crisis appears to be reaching its boiling point as the efforts of the opposition continue to rise in order to remove socialist president, Nicolas Maduro. Through the use of social media portraying events, an increase of Venezuelans migrating, and interactions of government officials worldwide, people are able to see the humanitarian and political crisis the country is enduring and how immediate intervention is needed.

The Insider Analysis – Team 22

Hi Team #22,  Good organization of post. Excellent writing style, very good images, clear analysis and structure of answers, excellent points throughout the essay. Clear, persuasive arguments. All in all very well-done! I don’t know exactly who is responsible for which portions of this assignment so I am giving all the same grade. I hope you worked well together and found this experience a positive one.


How We Know What We Know

Spring 2019


Group 22

Writer, Editor: Ursula Muñoz

Writer: Andrea Vacca

Writer: Chabelis Leal

Writer: Paula Rivera

Writer: Gabriella Gabino

Writer: Emily Bustamante

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. Your essay should focus on how the principles and values of concealment and revelation apply to the tobacco case or the case at CBS News. 500 words.

The principles and values of concealment and revelation apply heavily to the tobacco case. Brown and Williamson (B&W) had a non-disclosure agreement with Jeffrey Wigand which impeded him from providing information that was confidential to them. Unfortunately, there is a hidden story to be told here, as Dr. Wigand experienced personal and institutional pressures. Under such circumstances, what we hide and what is hidden from us is concealed, kept as a secret so that the public never finds out. This is exactly what B&W did to Wigand’s  story, and it violated the ethics of concealment. The revelation of this information was to bring to light the tobacco tampering that B&W committed, but the company disguised the facts and decided to keep them from seeing the light of day, leading them to commit deceit among their many wrongful actions. As CBS general counsel Helen Caperelli says in the film, “The bigger the truth, the bigger the damage”. B&W’s motive and their reason to conceal the information Dr. Wigand had to tell the world didn’t justify their actions in stifling this information. It was highly unethical and unprofessional on their behalf.

Another important principle that is shown throughout the movie is revelation. This took a major role in the tobacco cover up and the journalistic ethics seen towards the end of the movie. An act of revelation represents honesty in one’s character as the divine truth is being communicated. In The Insider, we see how Wigand is conflicted by the principles and values of revelation as he acknowledges his possession of important information dealing with the tobacco industry that may lead the company to a possible lawsuit. By exposing the long-tissue of lies from B&W laboratories to a mass audience, Wigand was afraid of the actions the company may have against him. However, upon the company threatening him to lose his job and take all benefits away from his family, he felt that he had nothing more to lose. It was then known that the presidents of seven cigarette companies had denied under oath before congress that the nicotine in the tobacco was addictive and that other additives were used to make it even more addictive. Although Wigand did sign a confidentiality agreement with B&W, he felt that he was not being disloyal to the company,but rather to  but people as since they were the ones who were dying because of the consumption of tobacco. By exposing the misleading information the company was giving and how they ignored the health concerns caused by tobacco, Wigand felt a sense of loyalty in taking ethical responsibility in protecting those that would consume these products. Despite knowing that the more truthful his statements were, the more damaging they would be in a lawsuit, Wigman chose to be sincere. Therefore, through Wigand’s acts of integrity and courage in revealing these truths we can see how highly he values the principles of revelation in his character. (good!)


(start at 1:48:00, end at 1:51:00)

2. How does Jeffrey Wigand’s non-disclosure agreement (NDA) affect the flow of information in The Insider? What legitimate argument, if any, could Brown and Williamson (B&W) make in support of the agreement? What NDAs have recently been used in the public sector? Using the critical perspective, what are the implications of NDAs for government employees? 300 words.

Jeffrey Wigand’s non-disclosure agreement affected the flow of information throughout the entire film. At the beginning of The Insider Dr. Wigand is troubled between doing what he believes is ethical versus doing what the law requires him to. The non-disclosure agreement Jeffrey Wigand signed with B&W prohibits him from disclosing information he acquired while working for the company. Ultimately, Jeffrey decides to give Mike Wallace the interview. By doing the interview he would be informing millions of people that executives at B&W knowingly approved the addition of chemicals to their cigarettes that were known to be addictive and could cause cancer.

Although Jeffrey sat down with Wallace and gave 60 Minutes the exclusive, CBS corporation decided not to air the complete interview. CBS was afraid of a possible multibillion-dollar lawsuit from B&W for interviewing a source with a non-disclosure agreement. Wigand was the vice president of research and development at Brown & Williamson which most likely meant he knew how their cigarettes were manufactured. B&W could argue that Jeffrey knew how their cigarettes were produced which is why they required him to sign a non-disclosure agreement.

In October of 2017 The New York Times reported that dozens of women accused film producer Harvey Weinstein of rape, sexual assault, and sexual abuse over the period of 30 years. Many other women who were also abused by Weinstein were afraid to come forward because of the legal repercussions they might face since many of them had signed NDAs. In March of 2018 The Weinstein Co. canceled all NDAs that Harvey Weinstein had with the women who have accused him of sexual misconduct allowing them to speak freely and share their stories.

A non-disclosure agreement signed by a government employee will most likely not hold up in court as most things the government does is public information. Moreover, federal employees have free speech and whistleblower rights. Critical perspective as described by the Frankfurt school “seeks human emancipation from slavery, acts as a liberating influence, and works to create a world which satisfies the needs and powers of human beings”. Using the critical perspective government employees have a moral responsibility to let the public know if there is illegal or unethical coercion within the government, despite having signed a non disclosure agreement. As seen in The Insider, whistleblowers often face retaliation from the organization they are exposing yet they feel as if they have a moral responsibility to inform the public of illegal or unethical actions.


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 2019, would today’s media have made things different? If so, how? 300 words.

“They are gonna look under every rock, dig up every flaw, every mistake you’ve ever made,” Lowell tells Wigand in The Insider. “They are going to distort and exaggerate everything you’ve ever done.” Using media theorist Marshall McLuhan’s “medium is the message” theory, we can assert that B&W benefitted from cable news’ exploited coverage of Wigand’s personal life, as television and its news channels’ extensive reach and credibility provided ethos to Scanlon and Lenzner’s smear campaign. What goes around comes back around however, as Palladino’s cooperation with 60 Minutes’ Lowell Bergman led to the famous Wall Street Journal news story that eventually gave Jeffrey Wigand credibility over B&W. In similar fashion, the Wall Street Journal’s reputation as one of the most credible newspapers made the message stronger and added ethos to Palladino’s argument.

Funnily enough, the way that social media being such a predominant part of our lives today, tells us that a smear campaign like this would probably wind up being a whole lot more successful in 2019. The flow of information caused by the stream of social media and news sites would be at B&W’s disposal to further get the word out about Wigand’s wrongdoings.

A couple of years ago, Facebook videos surfaced of United Airlines passenger Dr. David Dao being violently dragged off an overbooked flight. Everyone seemed to be on the doctor’s side until deeply personal details of his private life—from felony charges to engagement in prostitution—were uncovered. Through Reddit forums and Twitter debates, people went from defending him to arguing whether or not he had it coming, all because he was now less sympathetic.

Though not a whistleblower, the case of Dr. Dao shows how quickly an online smear campaign will damage the victim’s credibility and distract the public from the issues at hand—in this case, American Airlines abusing its passengers. Scanlon’s findings of “shoplifting” and spousal “abuse” would have fared the same way in an online trial of public opinion, making it more difficult for Palladino to combat the dossier in court even though it was reportedly exaggerated and misleading.


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.

In this particular scene of the film CBS general counsel, Helen Caperelli, has a different perspective than that of Bergman, Wallace, and Hewitt. Her intended audience is the three gentlemen and anyone who is a part of their 60 Minutes team, and she uses logos to support her argument on why they have to be cautious with airing this segment. Her argument is very logical from the start and she gives a through explanation of the legality of it all. Her character uses exposition by explaining in detail what tortious interference means and by analyzing what could potentially happen to CBS if they do get sued.  

The character of Bergman uses argumentation towards his intended audience, Caperelli and anyone involved at CBS, by justifying why they can air the segment. He says, “It happens all the time. People are always telling us things they shouldn’t.” Although it is a weak argument, it’s still worthy of analysis because of how he is trying to get his point across to CBS corporate and prove that the segment should be aired. He supports his argument with pathos, as he is very emotional and passionate about this segment. There is anger and frustration in his tone when talking back to Caperelli, such as when he sarcastically quips “Is this Alice in Wonderland?” upon her descriptions of the hypothetical growth and reduction of damage depending on how true Wigand’s statements are

Wallace is very sure that they will get their way and that their segment will be allowed to be aired, so his character also argues against Caperelli. He has the same perspective as Bergman and argues the same point—as long as the information is true there should be no legal issues airing the episode, segment included. Wallace supports his argument with logos, explaining that at 60 Minutes they always corroborate their information and run a “classy show.” This can be seen as logos because logically if the story is corroborated then the information being said is true, therefore there should be no issue airing the segment, as well as ethos because it speaks to the credibility of 60 Minutes.