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Ethical Decision Making in The Insider

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1250 Jeffrey Wigand made a calculated ethical decision in approaching 60 minutes and airing out his story about tobacco and the addictive effects of its primary component nicotine. He made this decision after hearing the heads of tobacco corporations perjure themselves before the Congress, declaring that nicotine is not addictive. As a scientist, he knew better and even if he knew that he would be fired and that he was bound by a confidentiality agreement, he still blew the whistle on the tobacco companies. Secondly, the character of Al Pacino, Lowell Bergman also made an ethical decision. His company CBS and the management of the program ’60 Minutes’ did not want him to air Jeffrey Wigand’s interview where Wigand told the truth about tobacco and cigarette smoking. He felt that the company was being manipulated by the possible lawsuit of Brown &amp. Williamson in the event that CBS would air the Wigand interview. under this threat, Bergman protested against the actions of his management and his program. He believed that they were allowing the integrity of the program to be compromised by the rich and powerful companies. Bergman was also forced to compromise his agreement with Wigand to air the interview, and this violated the trust which Wigand placed on Bergman. In order to finally air the interview, Bergman applied some unethical practices by going to other media personalities and to have them write a story about CBS being controlled by a tobacco-company. This did not bode well for his smooth relations with his colleagues in 60 Minutes and in CBS. This eventually led to his resignation from CBS citing the fact that he could not any more have the same integrity among his sources because he could not promise that they would not be left in the lurch after providing him with crucial information. Lastly, the acts of the heads of the tobacco company in giving false testimony to the Congress on the effects of tobacco, the intimidation tactics they applied on Wigand and his family, and the strong-arm techniques they applied to CBS and 60 Minutes are just some of the many unethical decisions and practices applied by Brown and Williamson. All in all, under these considerations, the movie illustrates clear incidents of ethical (and unethical) decision-making practices.