SUBJECTS — U.S./1991 to Present, the Law and the Press;
SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL LEARNING — Alcohol and Drug Abuse; Families in Crisis; Marriage; Crime; Courage;
MORAL-ETHICAL EMPHASIS — Trustworthiness; Responsibility; Citizenship.
AGE: 13+; MPAA Rating — R for language;
Drama; 1999; 157 minutes; Color. Available from Amazon.com.
MOVIE WORKSHEETS & STUDENT HANDOUTS
TWM offers the following worksheets to keep students’ minds on the movie and direct them to the lessons that can be learned from the film.
Teachers can modify the worksheets to fit the needs of each class. See also TWM’s Historical Fiction in Film Cross-Curricular Homework Project.
For many years, the big tobacco companies did not tell the truth about the harmful effects of smoking. In addition, some tobacco companies intentionally increased nicotine levels or added chemicals to cigarettes to enhance their addictive power. The tobacco companies didn’t disclose these activities to their customers or to the government. This film describes the efforts of a disgruntled tobacco company executive and of a producer at CBS news to bring these activities to the attention of the public. The movie also describes the interference with the exposé by CBS management and how the producer had to go around management to break the story.
The time line has been telescoped and certain fictional scenes have been inserted to represent actual events that didn’t lend themselves to portrayal in a movie. However, all in all, the film paints a true picture of what has probably been the worst business and public health scandal in American history.
SELECTED AWARDS & CAST
Selected Awards: National Board of Review: Freedom of Expression Award and Best Actor (Crowe); 2000 Academy Awards Nominations: Best Picture; Best Actor (Crowe); Best Director, Best Cinematography; Best Editing, Best Sound Best Writing; Golden Globe Awards Nominations: Best Picture; Best Director, Best Original Score; Best Actor (Crowe), Best Screenplay.
Featured Actors: Al Pacino, Russell Crowe, Christopher Plummer, Diane Venora, Philip Baker Hall, Lindsay Crouse, Debi Mazar.
Director: Michael Mann.
BENEFITS OF THE MOVIE
“The Insider” will introduce the lethal duplicity of the tobacco companies and the heroic efforts required to expose their misconduct. It also explores how business interests influence what we see and don’t see on television news.
MODERATE. This film has a substantial amount of profanity used in tense and extreme situations.
The fact that tobacco company executives were never punished for lying and contributing to the deaths of millions of Americans shows an important flaw in our society. The lawsuit against the tobacco companies in which they agreed to pay about two hundred billion dollars for their deception was only partial compensation but it was a triumph of the American legal system. Explain this to your child. See the Helpful Background section for more details. Ask and help your child to answer the Quick Discussion Question.
The Centers for Disease Control reports that “An estimated 46.5 million adults in the United States smoke cigarettes even though this single behavior will result in death or disability for half of all regular users. Cigarette smoking is responsible for more than 440,000 deaths each year, or one in every five deaths. Additionally, if current patterns of smoking persist, 6.4 million people currently younger than 18 will die prematurely from a tobacco-related disease. Paralleling this enormous health toll is the economic burden of tobacco use: more than $75 billion in medical expenditures and another $80 billion in indirect costs resulting from lost productivity.” Report of the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.
“The Insider” is the story of two whistleblowers. The first, Dr. Jeffrey Wigand, was a highly placed tobacco industry executive. (Dr. Wigand has a Ph.D. in biochemistry and is not a medical doctor.) The tobacco industry at that time denied that nicotine was addictive and claimed that the evidence that tobacco use impaired health was inconclusive. In 1995, Dr. Wigand was the first tobacco company executive to come forward with information that, for decades, the tobacco companies had known that smoking caused cancer and that cigarettes were a delivery device for an addictive drug (nicotine). “The Insider” tells of the interview that Dr. Wigand granted to “60 Minutes” exposing the lies of the tobacco companies, the testimony that he provided for the lawsuit brought by the attorney general of Mississippi against the tobacco companies, and the price that Dr. Wigand and his family paid. Dr. Wigand’s actions were a primary factor in the exposure of the tobacco companies.
Ultimately, the tobacco companies agreed to pay $246 billion to settle law suits brought against them by the attorneys general of 49 states. These lawsuits and the settlement rank as a great triumph for the U.S. system of justice as it relates to civil disputes. However, in what can only be considered a gross failure of the criminal justice system, the tobacco company executives and the companies themselves have avoided criminal liability for actions which were a major contributing factor in the deaths of tens of millions of people in the U.S.
The second whistleblower, although at much less risk than Dr. Wigand, was Lowell Bergman, a producer for the CBS news program “60 Minutes.” Bergman had promised Dr. Wigand that if he came forward, “60 Minutes” would run the interview. When CBS management killed the story, fearful that a lawsuit by big tobacco would put at risk its proposed merger with Westinghouse and the multimillion-dollar bonuses that were to be paid to CBS executives, Bergman went to the newspapers to expose the suppression of the story.
Jeffrey Wigand went on to become an award-winning chemistry teacher and now lives and works in Charleston, South Carolina. Dr. Wigand now lectures (see JeffreyWigand.com) and operates a foundation called Smoke Free Kids. Dr. Wigand was sued by Brown & Williamson, his former employer. The lawsuit was dismissed in 1997 as a condition of the settlement between the states and the tobacco industry.
Last we heard, Lowell Bergman was a Visiting Professor at Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism, a special correspondent for the PBS documentary series Frontline, and an investigative reporter for the New York Times. For an interview with Bergman, in which he explains what happened from his standpoint, see A Talk with Lowell Bergman.
Some interesting quotes from the press about this film:
Lowell Bergman: “It’s ironic that it took Hollywood to do the story about censorship and self-censorship in network news. And, they didn’t fold their cards.” “Disney Hopes ‘Insider’ Can Cut Through Pop-Movie Haze (Hollywood)” By Claudia Eller, Los Angeles Times, 1999.
“The movie takes a lot and compresses it,” says Wigand, whose jumpy, intense personality bears some witness to his ordeal. “The fidelity of it is pretty accurate, but some of its details are creative. For instance, the scene at the driving range (in which Wigand is shadowed at night by a lone fellow golfer) never happened. However, was I followed? Oh yes, most certainly. Was it somebody employed by Brown & Williamson who was an ex-FBI agent? Yes. Was my matrimonial attorney’s office tossed? Yes. Was my attorney in Washington, D.C.’s car broken into and her records on me taken out? Yes. Was my briefcase taken by a Brown & Williamson lawyer while I was giving depositions in Louisville? Yes. Does that moment in the movie at the driving range capture all that? Yes, it does.” “Everybody gets burned in ‘The Insider'” By Bob Strauss, 1999, Los Angeles Daily News.
Actually, “tortious interference” was the basis for the specious legal argument made by CBS lawyers who warned against airing the piece. Dr. Wigand had signed an agreement with Brown & Williamson not to discuss company business if he left the firm. But a state attorney general in the South found ways around that gag order by getting some of Dr. Wigand’s testimony into court records. In dredging up ammunition to use against the film, it was inevitable that someone at CBS point out that “Insider” is being released by Disney, which in turn owns ABC, home of ABC News and “20/20,” a respected show but hardly in a league with “60 Minutes.” [Don Hewitt, creator and executive producer of “60 Minutes] is not too proud to seize on this line of attack. “ABC News is in a life-and-death struggle with ’60 Minutes,'” Hewitt says. “Who owns ABC News? Disney. Who made the movie? Disney. Who keeps ABC News from doing a story about pedophilia at Disney theme parks? Disney.” Asked whether Disney would ever release a movie as critical of “20/20” as “Insider” is of “60 Minutes,” Hewitt says, “There is no movie about ’20/20.’ But if there were, it certainly wouldn’t be made by Disney.” Apprised of Hewitt’s tirade, ABC corporate vice president Patricia J. Matson said, “This is such a ridiculous notion that I don’t think even Don Hewitt believes it.” “The Explosive Film That Ticked Off ’60 Minutes'” By Tom Shales (October 15, 1999) 1999 The Washington Post Co.
USING THE MOVIE IN THE CLASSROOM
A good way to introduce the movie is by playing for the class the fabulous TED Talk by Margaret Heffernan: The dangers of “willful blindness”. This is 14:39 minutes.
2. There are three people portrayed in this film who could be thought of as “The Insider.” Who are they and why could the film have been named after them?
The possibilities are: Dr. Wigand, because he was inside the tobacco companies but then went public; Lowell Bergman, because he was inside “60 Minutes,” but then went public when CBS management tried to kill the story; and Mike Wallace, because he was an insider at CBS who, according to the story told in the film, allowed CBS business executives to influence the story for their own financial benefit.
3. In the film, as Dr. Wigand is on his way to a deposition taken by the Mississippi Attorney General, the camera shows him driving by what appears to be a military cemetery. What was the director of the film trying to tell us by this shot?
The director was reminding us of the importance of Dr. Wigand’s mission. The director could have been likening Dr. Wigand to a soldier going to his death for a good cause or he could have been referring to the fact that every year tobacco consumption kills more than 400,000 people in the United States and countless more worldwide.
The Tobacco Industry
4. Do you agree to that smoking is responsible for the deaths of millions of people?
Yes. The Centers for Disease Control says that tobacco consumption has killed millions of people. It appears from the historical record that the tobacco companies knew that smoking tobacco was harmful to health but didn’t tell the truth. Their goal appears to have been to keep people smoking and sell more cigarettes.
5. What is a drug delivery device? Give two examples of drug delivery devices for nicotine.
A drug delivery device is something that is used to introduce drugs into the human body, such as a hypodermic needle or a pill. Drug delivery devices for nicotine include: cigarettes, cigars, pipes, chewing tobacco and snuff.
6. Should the government simply prohibit the production and sale of tobacco products?
Probably not. Prohibition of alcohol in the early 20th century was a failure. People refused to stop drinking and organized crime quickly moved to provide alcohol to the public, becoming very powerful and corrupting many public officials. Prohibition of tobacco would suffer the same fate. The current policy pursued in the U.S. is for states to heavily tax tobacco consumption, reducing consumption by making tobacco very expensive. This also provides revenue to the state governments.
7. Should we permit the tobacco companies to sell their products in other countries or is this just exporting sickness and death?
As a matter of personal morality, many people would not participate in the production and sale of tobacco or any other addicting drug. However, because they are locked in economically or for other reasons, tobacco companies and many people are going to want to conduct this business. One side will say that it is a simple moral choice. You don’t participate in a business that can only harm people. Others will contend that it’s a legal business and if we don’t sell tobacco overseas, others will do so. They may promise that they will: (i) not manipulate nicotine content to encourage addiction, (ii) not make false claims about the harm from smoking, (iii) place warnings on their products, and (iv) avoid sales pitches that appeal to minors. Their contention is that these will ameliorate the injuries caused by smoking. There is no one answer to this question that will be accepted by everyone. We favor banning the export of tobacco because it only contributes to the addiction and sickness of others. But we don’t depend on the tobacco business to feed our families.
(Other questions dealing with the Tobacco Industry are found below in the sections labeled “Crime,” “Alcohol and Drug Abuse”)
8. There were two whistleblowers in this film. Dr. Wigand was one of them. Who was the other?
Lowell Bergman, the “60 Minutes” producer.
9. Has this film shaken your trust in “60 Minutes?” How has it affected your view of the news media in the United States?
There is no one correct response.
10. Does getting information to the “court of public opinion” work as a means of causing change? Compare the situation with the use of tobacco to the situations described in the following films: Learning Guide to “Gandhi“, Learning Guide to “Inherit the Wind“, and Learning Guide to “Beyond Rangoon“.
Most often it does. A good response should include the following concepts: Gandhi used the force of British public opinion, marshaled through civil disobedience and his own saintly behavior, to help secure independence for India. Clarence Darrow used the Scopes Monkey Trial to mobilize public opinion against creationism. Nobel Peace Prize Winner Aung San Suu Kyi is still trying to use peaceful means and public opinion to force the military dictatorship in Myanmar (formerly Burma) to hold elections.
11. Did Lowell Bergman do the right thing when he left “60 Minutes” or should he have stayed and tried to make sure the organization acts better in the future?
This is very hard to say and is a perennial question in a society in which large organizations, whose integrity has been compromised, control important parts of society. Whether Bergman could work more effectively for journalistic integrity inside or outside the CBS organization, is a judgment call. Mike Wallace made this judgment call and decided to that he could do more by staying on at “60 Minutes.” Bergman decided to leave.
12. Evaluate the role of Mike Wallace in this incident. Did he conduct himself well?
There is no one right answer to the question. A good response will consider the following issues. The criticism of Wallace is that he didn’t resign in protest when he couldn’t force CBS executives to keep their hands off the story. Wallace’s defense was that he could have a better and broader impact by staying at CBS news.
13. At one point in “The Insider,” a CBS lawyer tells the news people that if Dr. Wigand’s charges against Brown & Williamson were untrue, the network would have less of a problem than if the information were true. At which point, Bergman asks, “Is this ‘Alice in Wonderland’?!” What did the lawyer mean and what did Bergman mean?
Bergman meant that it violated common sense that CBS would face a larger damages award for disseminating accurate information than it would if the information was false. The lawyer meant this: All injured parties (such as Brown & Williamson claimed to be) must take steps to reduce their damages. Dr. Wigand had agreed in a contract to keep information about Brown & Williamson confidential. The company claimed that Dr. Wigand was breaking that contract. If the information disclosed by Dr. Wigand was false, the tobacco company could limit its damages by demonstrating the falsity of the information. If the information was true, then the company would have a harder time limiting the damages caused by the disclosure. The lawyer’s arguments were not valid because CBS had a complete defense to the threatened lawsuit based on: 1) The public’s right to know and the First Amendment gave it a privilege to publish the information; 2) a conspiracy to keep health information from the public and to suppress the truth about a product is illegal and a contract which supports an illegal conspiracy cannot be enforced; and 3) the information had already been disclosed in court proceedings; since court records are public documents, there would be no injury to the tobacco company resulting from Dr. Wigand’s disclosure on “60 Minutes.”
14. Did journalistic integrity require CBS news to proceed with the story despite the threat of a lawsuit, even if such a lawsuit would have imperiled CBS’ planned merger with Westinghouse?
Yes. The self-interest of a news organization and its executives should not be a reason to suppress information.
15. When a professor at the University of California at Berkeley was sent thousands of pages of incriminating tobacco company documents, he gave them to the University library for the purpose of publishing them on the Internet. The tobacco companies sued the university, seeking the return of their “stolen” property. The university attorneys and executives called in the professor and told him that the university was established for the purpose of finding and disseminating the truth and that the university would back the professor all the way, including providing him with a legal defense if the tobacco companies sued him. The tobacco companies sued, but the university and the professor won in court. Compare this to the way in which CBS News dealt with Wigand interview.
CBS did not act ethically. The only possible reason for CBS to have pulled the story was that it was worried about being sued. However, when people’s lives are at stake, the threat of a lawsuit and a large money judgment against a company which has made money for years by broadcasting the news is not an excuse to refrain from acting.
16. Describe some other situations in which the FBI was used improperly as a political weapon.
FBI surveillance of Dr. Martin Luther King and its actions during Watergate, including burgling the office of Daniel Ellsberg’s psychiatrist.
17. Do you think that business interests influence what we see reported as news in the media?
Obviously. This incident is a case in point. It’s a constant struggle for journalists to keep this effect to a minimum. The fact that in the modern economy media companies are part of large conglomerates with interests in many businesses makes this problem much worse.
(Other questions dealing with the press are found below in the section labeled “Trustworthiness”)
ALCOHOL AND DRUG ABUSE
1. What is the difference between the legal drugs such as alcohol, nicotine and caffeine, and some of the illegal drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, heroin, opium, angel dust, ecstasy, speed, and LSD?
The answer to this question is the subject of intense disagreement and much debate. One wants to think that legal drugs have less of an effect on behavior, fewer harmful effects, and are less addicting than the illegal drugs. However, 440,000 deaths a year is a substantial effect, and it is hard to believe that some of the illegal drugs would have this heavy an impact if they were legalized. There are many people who believe that marijuana should be legalized, that it is less harmful than alcohol physiologically, and that it addicts a much smaller percentage of users. Others maintain that marijuana is a “gateway” to harder drugs.
2. The tobacco companies claimed, as a defense to the charge that they misled the public about the dangers of smoking, that people smoked tobacco willingly and that they should have known smoking was dangerous because many other people were telling them that. What do you think of this defense?
There is some facial appeal to this argument, but ultimately it fails. The tobacco companies repeatedly and forcefully claimed that smoking was not dangerous. They spent many millions of dollars to get this message out. Obviously, they did this because they wanted the public to hear their message and act accordingly. They continued to offer cigarettes for sale and, because of their disinformation, they made substantial profits. Therefore, there is a strong preference that they intended that people would be misled. The fact that the tobacco companies, in addition to misleading the public, secretly manipulated nicotine levels to make cigarettes more addictive and aimed their advertising at children also impeaches this defense.
STANDING UP – COURAGE – TAKING RESPONSIBILITY
3. Jeffrey Wigand put his economic future at risk to expose the tobacco companies. Would you have done the same thing?
There is no one correct response to this question. The way we see it now, exposure of the tobacco companies was the only moral thing to do, but Dr. Wigand was the only person to come forward of all of the people who knew what the tobacco companies were doing.
4. If you had a job in which you earned excellent money with excellent benefits, but you realized that your employer was injuring people and wouldn’t stop after you brought the matter to your employer’s attention, what would you do?
The only moral course of action is to expose the wrongdoing, no matter how much it costs you.
5. Jeffrey Wigand came forward only after he had been fired. Should he be considered a hero? Defend your answer.
There is no one right answer but a good answer should include the following concepts. Dr. Wigand, like all the other tobacco executives, should have come forward earlier. However, Dr. Wigand did come forward when it meant that he would lose his benefits and be sued by the tobacco companies. That took real courage.
(Additional questions are set out in the “Trustworthiness” section below.)
FAMILIES IN CRISIS – MARRIAGE
6. What was the major weakness of Dr. Wigand’s marriage as it was portrayed in the film?
Obviously, we cannot comment upon the real marriage because we only have access to information about the marriage as it was portrayed in the film. However, the weakness of the marriage portrayed in the film was profound. There was a lack of trust, lack of communication, and lack of commitment to a common goal. Compare this to the marriage of Oscar Schindler and his wife Emilie. Despite the strains on the marriage because of Schindler’s womanizing, she fully supported his effort to save Jews from death in the concentration camps. She was his partner in a much more dangerous enterprise than that undertaken by Dr. Wigand. See Learning Guide to Schindler’s List.
7. If Dr. Wigand was thinking of putting his family through a very trying time, what should he have done to try to keep his family together?
The first step would have been to talk to his wife and tell her what he planned to do, describe the potential consequences, and secure her agreement, if possible. If she did not agree, he needed to explain himself to her so that they could work together to mitigate the harm to their family. If he had been able to do all of these things there would have been a better chance of the family coming through the experience intact.
8. Why hasn’t any tobacco company executive been jailed for contributing to the death of millions of Americans?
The lack of response by governments in the U.S. to the actions of the tobacco companies is one of the greatest failings of our state and federal governments. This can only be the result of their great economic strength and the fact that politicians need votes from states dependent upon the tobacco industry. The fact that civil attorneys have been able to force the tobacco companies to pay hundreds of billions of dollars to the states in recompense for additional medical expenses incurred by the states due to illnesses caused by tobacco shows the strength and vitality of the civil legal system in the U.S.
9. Who acted more wrongfully, the tobacco executives who made money for their stockholders or the executives of some other companies who fleeced the pension funds of their employees, leaving them with only social security for their old age?
There is no one right answer. The issue is between money for retirement and the health of persons. Our thought is that the tobacco company executives who misled people about the effects of smoking on their health were guilty of more wrongdoing than an executive who took money from the pension funds of employees or caused those funds to evaporate. The tobacco company executives helped cause people to lose their health and to die. They did this by addicting people to a drug, nicotine. However, if you focus on the victims, many smokers played some role in causing their injury by deciding to smoke knowing that there was some question about the health effects of smoking. The people who lost their retirement had no role in causing their loss.
10. Describe the differences between the morality of the pushers of illegal drugs and the following people:
- tobacco company executives;
- the owner of a convenience store which sells cigarettes;
- an executive in a company that makes alcoholic beverages, such as wine, beer and/or whiskey, and
- a person who operates a store, bar or restaurant that sells alcohol.
There is no one correct response to this question but a good answer should deal with the following concepts: The real difference is that tobacco and alcohol are legal. The tobacco companies ran into moral trouble when they did not tell the truth about their knowledge of the ill effects of tobacco and they aimed their advertising toward minors. It was these activities which took a questionable business (selling an addictive and harmful substance) and turned it into a morally reprehensible activity and, in some instances, a criminal enterprise. The analysis also applies to the owner of a convenience store if it sells tobacco to minors. Generally, as to the difference between alcohol and tobacco, most people who drink alcohol consume only moderate amounts and suffer no ill effects. There are some people, a minority of the population, who are alcoholics and need treatment for their addiction. However, nicotine is addictive to almost everyone and use of a substantial amount of tobacco is harmful to a vast majority of the population. In addition, persons who promote smoking (and smokers themselves) also contribute to poor health and early deaths of people affected by second-hand smoke. Alcohol and tobacco companies which direct their advertising toward children are targeting a vulnerable population and are committing an unethical, if not illegal, act. To the extent that a company selling alcoholic beverages aims its advertising at minors, those companies conduct their business immorally and perhaps illegally for that reason. The same is true of a business that sells alcohol to minors. Moreover, a store, restaurant or bar that sells alcohol to a person who is inebriated bears substantial legal and moral responsibility for an injury that person sustains or causes while drunk.
MORAL-ETHICAL EMPHASIS (CHARACTER COUNTS)
Discussion Questions Relating to Ethical Issues will facilitate the use of this film to teach ethical principles and critical viewing. Additional questions are set out below.
(Be honest; Don’t deceive, cheat or steal; Be reliable — do what you say you’ll do; Have the courage to do the right thing; Build a good reputation; Be loyal — stand by your family, friends, and country)
(Do what you are supposed to do; Persevere: keep on trying!; Always do your best; Use self-control; Be self-disciplined; Think before you act — consider the consequences; Be accountable for your choices)
See questions in the “Crime” and “Standing Up-Courage-Taking Responsibility” sections above.
1. Every action which involves an ethical decision has stakeholders, i.e., the people who are affected by the decision. Who were the stakeholders in decisions by tobacco company executives to withhold information about the effects of smoking?
Stakeholders in this decision included: smokers who relied on the false information; people who were around those smokers and who inhaled their secondary smoke, including the relatives and children of the smokers; the relatives of the people whose illness or death was caused by second-hand smoke; the health insurance companies and the federal and state governments who paid for the increased medical expenses of the smokers and the persons who inhaled secondary smoke; the life insurance companies who insured people who died of smoking; the children, grandchildren, spouses and employees of the tobacco company executives who were taught immorality by example. On the other hand, there were farmers who grew tobacco; employees of the tobacco companies who had good paying jobs, people in the communities of the employees who sold products to the employees (the grocery store, the clothing store etc.) This latter group profited from the tobacco company lies. This list is not exhaustive.
2. Describe how tobacco company executives violated the Pillar of Trustworthiness and how the stakeholders were affected.
There is no one correct answer to this question. A good answer should include the following concepts: In a civil society people must be able to rely on the truthfulness of what people say, otherwise, the social order would break down. See response to the preceding question concerning stakeholders.
3. Why was it wrong for tobacco companies to slant their advertising to appeal to children?
Children, as a general rule, have less judgment than adults and are less able than adults to evaluate messages in advertisements. Members of a civilized society have an obligation to refrain from taking advantage of those who are vulnerable because they are young, old or ill (addicted). To the extent that the tobacco companies tried to market to children, they violated that responsibility.
4. According to the story told in this movie, there were violations of ethical obligations by CBS executives. Describe for us how they violated the Pillar of Responsibility and how the stakeholders were affected.
There is no one correct answer to this question. A good answer should include that in a civil society people must be able to rely on news organizations to report important stories objectively.
(Do your share to make your school and community better; Cooperate; Stay informed; vote; Be a good neighbor; Obey laws and rules; Respect authority; Protect the environment)
5. Evaluate the actions shown in the film of the three major characters (Wigand, Bergman, and Wallace), the tobacco companies, and CBS from the standpoint of this Pillar of Character.
There is no one correct response to this question. Any good answer should deal with the following concepts: Dr. Wigand: Like every other tobacco executive who knew or should have known the truth about the dangers of tobacco use, he should have come forward immediately. However, Dr. Wigand did come forward at tremendous personal penalty and risk, even if belatedly. He was the first tobacco executive to do this. It took tremendous moral courage. Bergman: Bergman’s actions were moral and appropriate but they went along established journalistic principles, even to the extent of his leak to the New York Times. Bergman risked little. Wallace: Unlike Bergman, Wallace caved to the CBS management. However, he did resist to some extent and eventually he disclosed the problem to national television. Wallace felt that he could do more while still working for “60 Minutes” than if he resigned. It is often hard to tell when it is best to work within an imperfect system and when it is better to resign in protest. CBS Management: They put their own financial interest above the lives and health of people.
ASSIGNMENTS, PROJECTS & ACTIVITIES
CCSS ANCHOR STANDARDS
CCSS Anchors Here.
BRIDGES TO READING
May 1996, Marie Brenner wrote an article about the Wigand affair in Vanity Fair entitled The Man Who Knew Too Much on which the movie was ultimately based.
LINKS TO THE INTERNET
- A Talk with Lowell Bergman
- Transcript of PBS’ Frontline segment on the story
- Whistleblower Lowell Bergman: an insider’s view of ’60 Minutes’ For the testimony of the CEOs of the seven big tobacco companies that they “believed” nicotine is not addictive.
In addition to websites which may be linked in the Guide and selected film reviews listed on the Movie Review Query Engine, the following resources were consulted in the preparation of this Learning Guide:
- The Insider in Print, Articles, Page 1; The quotes from the newspaper articles contained in this Guide are from this web site.