The Insider Analysis

Topics: Business ethics, Ethics, 60 Minutes Pages: 5 (1504 words) Published: September 27, 2005
The Insider Analysis

1.What response or reaction do you have to any aspect or part of this movie. ? (Give at least two reactions and clearly explain your reactions)

It was disappointing to see how much power corporations have over media outlets. The general public has a collective vested interest in the news media to provide trustworthy and free press. The key word is "free" meaning the absence of outside influence and manipulation by corporations, shareholders, and/or any other source of power. The media is obviously not free in this film. This frustration was driven home in the scene where the CBS network refuses to air the segment due to the financial risk of tortuous interference and the underlying financial interests of some key CBS executives. Bergman's verbal protest of this decision was one of the most intense and captivating moments I have seen in years. Bergman protests," You pay me to go get guys like Wigand, to draw him out. To get him to trust us, to get him to go television. I do. I deliver him. He sits. He talks. He violates his own F……..g confidentiality agreement. And he's the only key witness in the biggest public health reform issue, maybe the biggest, most expensive corporate malfeasance case in US history…. Are we gonna air it? Of course not. Why? Because he's not telling the truth. That's why we're not going to air it." The second scene that drew the biggest reaction was the wife's reaction to Wigand loss of job. She had no concern for his mental stability or personal struggle; instead her reaction was steered by her personal selfishness and inability to accept change. She didn't care that Wigand was acting in an ethical manner, it seems that she was only motivated by the affluent lifestyle. Her reaction led me to believe that she wanted to maintain this lifestyle by any means necessary, even if it involved unethical means.

2.In what ways did the legal systems help Jeffrey Wigand blow the whistle?

The legal system, specifically the courts, helped Wigand to disclose the information because he was subpeoned to disclose the information, which made the confidentiality agreement with Brow and Williamson null and void. If he weren't subpoenaed to give a deposition he would have been sued by Brow and Williamson and possibly imprisoned. If he had done the interview at CBS he would have breached the confidentiality agreement and suffered civil and criminal damages. The subpoena put Jeffrey in a position where he would have faced penalties for not exposing the truth, which in turn, made it possible for CBS to air the information without suffering penalties.

3.In what ways did the legal system hinder Jeffrey Wigand from blowing the whistle?

The mere fact that Wigand would suffer serious civil and criminal penalties as a result of exposing the truth to the general public was unfair. Exposing the truth about Brow & Williamson's fraudulent behavior on 60 minutes would have been tortuous interference. Tortuous interference with a contract occurs when one party interferes with another party and contract for personal gain. In this case, Wigand had a confidentiality agreement with Brow & Williamson to be quiet. Even though the information would have deservingly exposed the general public to the harmful cigarette production and business tactics of the tobacco industry, the revelation of the truth was actually blocked legally. It is appalling that the legal system would be diametrically opposed to ethical business practices.

4.What was the personal price paid by the two whistleblowers?

Jeffrey's lost the ability to provide a comparable lifestyle for his family. He suffered significant economic loss having decreased from a $400,000 annual salary to a $30,000 salary as a teacher. He had to make a sudden relocation to a house with fewer amenities, which caused marriage problems between Wigand and his wife. As a result, Wigand lost his wife due to the increasing stress of death threats and...
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