Lowell Bergman
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Quotes for
Lowell Bergman (Character)
from The Insider (1999)

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The Insider (1999)
Lowell Bergman: You'd better take a *good* look, because I'm getting two things: pissed off and curious.

Mike Wallace: Who are these people?
Lowell Bergman: Ordinary people under extraordinary pressure, Mike. What the hell do you expect? Grace and consistency?

Jeffrey Wigand: I have to put my family's welfare on the line here, my friend! And what are you puttin' up? You're puttin' up words!
Lowell Bergman: Words? While you've been dickin' around at some fucking company golf tournaments, I been out in the world, giving my word and backing it up with action.

Jeffrey Wigand: I'm just a commodity to you, aren't I? I could be anything. Right? Anything worth putting on between commercials.
Lowell Bergman: To a network, probably, we're all commodities. To me? You are not a commodity. What you are is important.

Mike Wallace: In the real world, when you get to where I am, there are other considerations.
Lowell Bergman: Like what? Corporate responsibility? What, are we talking celebrity here?
Mike Wallace: I'm not talking celebrity, vanity, CBS. I'm talking about when you're nearer the end of your life than the beginning. Now, what do you think you think about then? The future? In the future I'm going to do this? Become that? What future? No. What you think is "How will I be regarded in the end?" After I'm gone. Now, along the way I suppose I made some minor impact. I did Iran-Gate and the Ayatollah, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Saddam, Sadat, etcetera, etcetera. I showed them thieves in suits. I've spent a lifetime building all that. But history only remembers most what you did last. And should that be fronting a segment that allowed a tobacco giant to crash this network? Does it give someone at my time of life pause? Yeah.

Lowell Bergman: Now are you going to go and do this thing or not?

Lowell Bergman: 'Tortious interference?' That sounds like a disease caught by a radio.

Sharon Tiller: You won.
Lowell Bergman: Yeah? What did I win?

Lowell Bergman: You pay me to go get guys like Wigand, to draw him out. To get him to trust us, to get him to go on television. I do. I deliver him. He sits. He talks. He violates his own fucking confidentiality agreement. And he's only the key witness in the biggest public health reform issue, maybe the biggest, most-expensive corporate-malfeasance case in U.S. history. And Jeffrey Wigand, who's out on a limb, does he go on television and tell the truth? Yes. Is it newsworthy? Yes. Are we gonna air it? Of course not. Why? Because he's not telling the truth? No. Because he is telling the truth. That's why we're not going to air it. And the more truth he tells, the worse it gets!

Lowell Bergman: This news division has been *villified* by the New York Times! In print, on television, for *caving* to corporate interests!
Don Hewitt: New York Times ran a blow by blow of what we talked about behind closed doors! You fucked us!
Lowell Bergman: No, you fucked you! Don't invert stuff! Big Tobacco tried to smear Wigand, you bought it. The Wall Street Journal, here: not exactly a bastion of anti-capitalist sentiment, refutes Big Tobacco's smear campaign as the lowest form of character assassination! And now, even now, when every word of what Wigand has said on our show is printed, the entire deposition of his testimony in a court of law in the State of Mississippi, the cat *totally* out of the bag, you're still standing here debating! Don, what the hell else do you need?
Don Hewitt: Mike, you tell him.
Mike Wallace: You fucked up, Don.

[last lines]
Lowell Bergman: What do I tell the my source for the next tough story, huh? 'Hang in with us, you'll be ok maybe'? No. What got broken here doesn't go back together.

Lowell Bergman: I fought for you and I still fight for you!
Jeffrey Wigand: You fought for me? You manipulated me! Into where I am now - staring at the Brown & Williamson building, it's all dark except for the tenth floor. That's the legal department, that's where they fuck with my life!
Lowell Bergman: Jeffrey, where are you going with this? Where are you going? (Pause) You are important to a lot of people, Jeffrey. You think about that, and you think about them. (Pause) I'm all out of heroes, man. Guys like you are in short supply.
Jeffrey Wigand: Yeah, guys like you, too.

Lowell Bergman: I am trying to protect you, man.
Jeffrey Wigand: Well I hope you improve your batting average.

Jeffrey Wigand: How did a radical journalist from Ramparts Magazine end up at CBS?
Lowell Bergman: I still do the tough stories. 60 Minutes reaches a lot of people.

Lowell Bergman: I'm Lowell Bergman, I'm from 60 Minutes. You know, you take the 60 Minutes out of that sentence, nobody returns your phone call.

Richard Scruggs: I'd be lying to you if I did not tell you how important it was in a court of public opinion.
Lowell Bergman: And I'd be lying if I did not tell, I'm about out of moves, Dick.

Jeffrey Wigand: I can't seem to find the criteria to decide. It's too big a decision to make without being resolved in my own mind.
Lowell Bergman: Maybe things have changed.
Jeffrey Wigand: What's changed?
Lowell Bergman: You mean since this morning?
Jeffrey Wigand: No, I mean since whenever.

Lowell Bergman: What does this guy have to say that threatens these people?
Mike Wallace: Well, it isn't that cigarrettes are bad for you.
Lowell Bergman: Hardly new news.
Mike Wallace: No shit.

Lowell Bergman: We've got a guy who wants to talk, but he's constrained. What if he were compelled?
Mike Wallace: Oh, torture. Great ratings.

[Jeffrey won't answer the phone, Lowell is on the phone to the manager of the hotel he is at]
Lowell Bergman: I want you to tell him, in this - in these words: "Get on the fucking phone!"
The Hotel Worker: I can't say that.
Lowell Bergman: No, you can. Tell him to get on the fucking phone!
The Hotel Worker: He told me to tell you to "Get on the... fucking phone!"

Lowell Bergman: Are you a businessman? Or are you a newsman?

Don Hewitt: Are you suggesting that she and Eric are influenced by money?
Lowell Bergman: No, no, of course they're not influenced by money. They work for free. And you are a volunteer executive producer.

Sharon Tiller: Get some perspective, Lowell.
Lowell Bergman: I got perspective.
Sharon Tiller: No, you do not.
Lowell Bergman: From my perspective, what's been going on and what I've been doing is ridiculous. It's half-measures.
Sharon Tiller: You're not listening. Really know what you're gonna do before you do it.

Mike Wallace: Did I get you up?
Lowell Bergman: No, I usually sit around my hotel room dressed like this at 5:30 in the morning, sleepy look on my face.

Lowell Bergman: In all that time, Mike, did you ever get out a plane, walk into a room and find that a source for a story changed his mind? Lost his heart? Walked out on us? Not one fucking time. You want to know why?
Mike Wallace: I see a rhetorical question on the horizon.
Lowell Bergman: I'm gonna tell you why: because when I tell someone I'm gonna do something, I deliver.

Lowell Bergman: I never left a source hang out to dry, ever! Abandoned! Not 'til right fucking now. When I came on this job, I came with my word intact. I'm gonna leave with my word intact. Fuck the rules of the game!

Lowell Bergman: I did not burn you. I did not give you up to anyone!
Jeffrey Wigand: This is my house... In front of my wife, my kids? What business do we have?
Lowell Bergman: To straighten something out with you. Right here. Right now.
Jeffrey Wigand: So, you didn't mention my name? You haven't talked to anybody about me?
Lowell Bergman: Why am I gonna mention your name?
Jeffrey Wigand: How did Brown & Williamson know I spoke to you...?
Lowell Bergman: How the hell do I know about Brown & Williamson?
Jeffrey Wigand: It happened after I talked to you. I do not like coincidences!
Lowell Bergman: And I don't like paranoid accusations! I'm a journalist. Think. Use your head. How do I operate as a journalist by screwing the people who could provide me with information before they provided me with it?
Jeffrey Wigand: [pauses] ... You came all the way down here to tell me that?

Don Hewitt: I heard Wigand's deposition got sealed.
Lowell Bergman: Yeah, they argued he was gonna reveal the secret formula of Kools to the world.

Lowell Bergman: [Kluster demands that Wigand's interview be censored into an alternate version] I'm not touching my film.
Eric Kluster: I'm afraid you are.
Lowell Bergman: No, I'm not.
Eric Kluster: We're doing this with or without you, Lowell. If you like, I can sign another producer to edit your show.
Lowell Bergman: Uh, since when has the paragon of investigative journalism allowed LAWYERS to determine the news content on 60 Minutes?

Lowell Bergman: Alright... ABC Telemarketing Company?
Jeffrey Wigand: ABC...?
Lowell Bergman: ABC Telemarketing Company.
Jeffrey Wigand: A can opener! A $39.95 can opener. I cancelled payment... it was junk. You ever bounce a check, Lowell? You ever look at another woman's tits? You ever cheat a little on your taxes? Whose life, if you look at it under a microscope, doesn't have any flaws...?
Lowell Bergman: Well that's the whole point, Jeffrey. That's the whole point. Anyone's. Everyone's. They are gonna look under every rock, dig up every flaw, every mistake you've ever made. They are going to distort and exaggerate everything you've ever done, man. Don't you understand?
Jeffrey Wigand: What does this have to do with my testimony?
Lowell Bergman: That's not the point.
Jeffrey Wigand: What does this have to do with my testimony? I told the truth! It's valid and true and provable...!
Lowell Bergman: That's not the fucking point, whether you told the truth or not!... Hello?
Jeffrey Wigand: I told the truth... I told the truth... I've got to teach class. I've got to go. I've got to teach class.
Lowell Bergman: And I've got to refute every fucking accusation made in this report before The Wall Street Journal runs... I am trying to protect you, man.
Jeffrey Wigand: Well, I hope you improve your batting average.

Lowell Bergman: You go public, and 30 million people hear what you gotta say, nothing - I mean nothing - will ever be the same again. You believe that?
Jeffrey Wigand: No.
Lowell Bergman: You should. Because when you're done, the judgement is gonna go down in the court of public opinion, my friend. And that's... the power you have.
Jeffrey Wigand: You believe that?
Lowell Bergman: I believe that? Yes, I believe that.
Jeffrey Wigand: You believe that because you get information out to people, something happens?
Lowell Bergman: Yes.
Jeffrey Wigand: Maybe that's what you've been telling yourself all these years to justify having a good job. Having status. Maybe for the audience, its just voyeurism, something to do on a Sunday night. And maybe it won't change a fucking thing. And people like myself, and my family are left hung out to dry, used up, broke, alone.
Lowell Bergman: Are you talking to me, or did somebody else just walk in here? I never forced any of that...
Jeffrey Wigand: I don't really understand, exactly...
Lowell Bergman: Don't evade a choice you gotta make by questioning my reputation or 60 Minutes with this cheap skepticism.
Jeffrey Wigand: I have to put my family's welfare on the line here, my friend, and what are you putting up? You're putting up words.
Lowell Bergman: "Words." While you've been dicking around some fucking company golf tournaments, I've been out in the world, giving my word... and backing it up with action. Now, are you gonna go and do this thing, or not?
Jeffrey Wigand: I said I'd call the kids before they went to bed.