The Insider (1999)
Mike Wallace: Who are these people?
Lowell Bergman: Ordinary people under extraordinary pressure, Mike. What the hell do you expect? Grace and consistency?
Mike Wallace: No that's fame. Fame has a fifteen minute half-life, infamy lasts a little longer.
Tobacco Lawyer: Dr. Wigand, I am instructing you not to answer that question in accordance to the terms of the contractual obligations undertaken by you not to disclose any information about your work at the Brown and Williamson tobacco company, and in accordance with the force and effect of the temporary restraining order that has been entered against you by the court in the State of Kentucky. That means you don't talk! Mr. Motley, we have rights here.
Ron Motley: Boy, you got rights... and lefts. Ups and downs and middles. So what? You don't get to instruct anything around here! This is not North Carolina, not South Carolina, nor Kentucky! This is the sovereign State of Mississippi's proceeding. WIPE THAT SMIRK OFF YOUR FACE! Dr. Wigand's deposition will be part of this record! And I'm gonna take my witness' testimony whether the hell you like it or not!
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.
Mike Wallace: [after watching a preview of the "60 Minutes" Wigand interview that has been edited] Where's the rest? Where the hell's the rest?
[we see Don Hewitt and Helen Caperelli coming out of a room to see Mike shouting at Kluster in disbelief]
Mike Wallace: [to Eric Kluster] You cut it! You cut the guts out of what I said!
Eric Kluster: It was a time consideration, Mike.
Mike Wallace: Time? BULLSHIT! You corporate LACKEY! Who told you your incompetent little fingers had the requisite skills to edit me! I'm trying to band-aid a situation here, and you're too dim to...
[Mike is suddenly interrupted by Helen Caperelli, who walks up to him and Kluster]
Helen Caperelli: Mike... Mike... Mike...
Mike Wallace: [to Helen Caperelli] Mike? "Mike." Try "Mr. Wallace". We work in the same corporation doesn't mean we work in the same profession. What are you going to do now? You're gonna finesse me, lawyer me some more? I've been in this profession 50 FUCKING YEARS! You, and the people you work for, are destroying the most-respected, the highest-rated, the most-profitable show on this network!
Agent: Do you have a history of emotional problems, Mr. Wigand?
Jeffrey Wigand: Yes. Yes, I do. I get extremely emotional when assholes put bullets in my mailbox!
[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!"
Jeffrey Wigand: So, what you're saying is it wasn't enough to fire me for no good reason. Now you question my integrity? On top of the humiliation of being fired, you threaten me? You threaten my family? It never crossed my mind not to honor my agreement. And I will tell you, Mr. Sandefur... and Brown & Williamson too - fuck me? Well, fuck you!
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.
Mike Wallace: And do you wish you hadn't come forward? Do you wish you hadn't blown the whistle?
Jeffrey Wigand: There are times when I wish I hadn't done it. There are times when I feel com... compelled to do it. If you asked me, would I do it again, do I think it's worth it? Yeah I think its worth it.
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.
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.
Helen Caperelli: [Referring to CBS News] Our standards have to be higher than anyone else because we are the standard of everyone else.
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: 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: [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'd better take a *good* look, because I'm getting two things: pissed off and curious.
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.
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.
Mike Wallace: Am I missing something?
John Harris: What do you mean, Mike?
Mike Wallace: I mean, he's got a corporate secrecy agreement - give me a break! I mean, this is a public health issue! Like an unsafe airframe on a passenger jet or some company dumping cyanide into the East River, issues like that! He can talk, we can air it! They've got no right to hide behind a "corporate agreement"! Pass the milk.
Lawyer: The unlimited checkbook. That's how Big Tobacco wins every time on everything, they spend you to death. Six hundred million a year in outside legal - Chadbourne-Park, uh, Ken Starr's firm, Kirkland & Ellis? Listen: GM and Ford, they get nailed after eleven or twelve pickups blow up, right? These clowns have never, I mean EVER...
John Harris: Not even once.
- not even with hundreds of thousands dying each year from an illness related to their product, have EVER lost a personal injury lawsuit! On this case, they'll issue gag orders, sue for breach, anticipatory breach, enjoin him, you, us, his pet dog, the dog's veterinarian, tie 'em up in litigation for 10 or 15 years, I'm telling you, they bat a thousand every time! He knows that, that's why he's not gonna talk to you.
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: You heard Mr. Sandefur say before Congress that he believed nicotine was not addictive.
Jeffrey Wigand: I believe Mr. Sandefur perjured himself because I watched those testimonies very carefully.
Mike Wallace: All of us did, and it was this whole line of people, whole line of CEOs up there, all swearing.
Jeffrey Wigand: Part of the reason I'm here is that I felt that their representations clearly misstated - at least within Brown and Williamson's representation - clearly misstated what is common language within the company: "We are in the nicotine delivery business."
Mike Wallace: And that's what cigarettes are for.
Jeffrey Wigand: A delivery device for nicotine.
Mike Wallace: A delivery device for nicotine. Put it in your mouth, light it up, and you're gonna get your fix.
Jeffrey Wigand: You're gonna get your fix.
Mike Wallace: You're saying that Brown and Williamson manipulates and adjusts the nicotine fix not by artificially adding nicotine but by enhancing the effect of nicotine through the use of elements such as ammonia?
Jeffrey Wigand: The process is known as "impact boosting". While not spiking nicotine, they clearly manipulate it. There was extensive use of this technology known as "ammonia chemistry". It allows for the nicotine to be more rapidly absorbed in the lung and therefore affect the brain and central nervous system. The straw that broke the camel's back for me, and really put me in trouble with Sandefur, was a compound called coumarin. When I came on board at B. and W., they had tried the transition from coumarin to a similar flavor that would give the same taste, and had been unsuccessful. I wanted out immediately. I was told that it could affect sales, so I should mind my own business. I constructed a memo to Mr. Sandefur indicating I could not in conscience continue with coumarin, a product we now know and we had documentation was similar to coumadin, a lung-specific carcinogen.
Mike Wallace: And you sent the documents to Sandefur?
Jeffrey Wigand: I sent the documents forward to Sandefur. I was told that we would continue to work on a substitute but we weren't going to remove it as it would impact sales, and that was his decision.
Mike Wallace: In other words, you were charging Sandefur and Brown and Williamson with ignoring health considerations consciously?
Jeffrey Wigand: Most certainly.
Mike Wallace: And on March 24th, Thomas Sandefur, CEO of Brown and Williamson, had you fired. And the reason he gave you?
Jeffrey Wigand: "Poor communication skills."
Mike Wallace: And you wish you hadn't come forward? You wish you hadn't blown the whistle?
Jeffrey Wigand: Yeah, at times I wish I hadn't done it. There were times I felt compelled to do it. If you ask me would I do it again, do I think it's worth it? Yeah, I think it's worth it.
Mike Wallace: Will you tell him that when I conduct an interview, I sit anywhere I damn please!
Mike Wallace: Do me a favor, will you - spare me, for God's sake, get in the real world, what do you think? I'm going to resign in protest? To force it on the air? The answer's "no". I don't plan to spend the end of my days wandering in the wilderness of National Public Radio. That decision I've already made.
Mike Wallace: You cut it! You cut the guts out of what I said!
Eric Kluster: It was a time consideration, Mike...
Mike Wallace: Time? Bullshit! You corporate lackey! Who told you your incompetent little fingers had the requisite skills to edit me?
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.
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.
Jeffrey Wigand: You manipulated me into where I am now - staring at the Brown and Williamson Building. It's all dark except the tenth floor. That's the legal department, where they fuck with my life!
Richard Scruggs: I know what you're facing, Jeff. And, I think I know how you're feeling. In the Navy I flew A-6's off carriers. In combat, events have a duration of seconds, sometimes minutes. But what you're going through goes on day in and day out. Whether you're ready for it or not, week in, week out. Month after month after month. Whether you're up or whether you're down. You're assaulted psychologically. You're assaulted financially, which is its own special kind of violence because it's directed at your kids. What school can you afford? How will that affect their lives? You're asking yourself, "Will that limit what they may become?" You feel your whole family's future's compromised, held hostage. I do know how it is.
Tobacco Lawyer: Object!
Ron Motley: Is there an echo in here? Your objection's been recorded. She typed it into her little machine over there. It's on the record. So now I'll proceed with my deposition of my witness. Does it act as a drug?
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.
Tobacco Lawyer: Mr Motley, we have rights here.
Ron Motley: Oh you have rights, and lefts, ups, downs and middles. So what?
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.
Debbie: The subheading reads, 'Brown and Williamson has a 500 page dossier attacking chief critic.' It quotes Richard Scruggs calling it, 'the worse kind of an organized smear campaign against a Whistleblower'. 'A closer look at the file and independent research by this newspaper into its key claims indicate that many of the serious accusations against Mr Wigand are backed by scant or contradictory evidence'.
Mike Wallace: And that's what cigarettes are for?
Jeffrey Wigand: A delivery device for nicotine.
Mike Wallace: A delivery device for nicotine. Put it in your mouth, lit it up and you're gonna get your fix?
Jeffrey Wigand: You're gonna get your fix.
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.
Thomas Sandefur: I joined Brown & Williamson, came up through sales. I was the best salesman they ever had, and do you know why? I never made a promise I couldn't keep.
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.
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: 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?
Jeffrey Wigand: What's this have to do with the price of tea in China?
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.
Jeffrey Wigand: [to a suspicious-looking fellow golfer] Stay away from me. Stay *away* from me!
Jeffrey Wigand: I find chemistry to be magical. I find it an adventure, an exploration into the physical building blocks of our universe.
Mike Wallace: Sheikh Fadlallah. Thank you so much for seeing us. Are you a terrorist?
Sheikh Fadlallah: Mr. Wallace, I am a servant of God.
Mike Wallace: A servant of God? Really? Americans believe that you, as an Islamic fundamentalist, that you are a leader who contributed to the bombing of the US Embassy...
Mike Wallace: [to Hezbollah Head Gunman] What the hell do you think I am? A 78 year-old assassin? You think I'm gonna karate him to death with this notepad?
Jeffrey Wigand: Up to you, Jeffrey! That's the power you have, Jeffrey! Vital inside information the American public need to know! Lowell Bergman, the hotshot who never met a source he couldn't turn around!
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.