The tale of whistleblower Karen Silkwood is very similar to that of The Insider's Jeffrey Wigand. In the 1970s Silkwood worked for a plutonium plant that handled dangerous materials on a daily basis. Just how dangerous these materials were was not yet known. When Silkwood uncovered secret information about the potential harms facing the plant workers, she faced a problem similar to Wigand's. If she came forward with her insider information, her job (and possibly her life) would be at risk. But how could she keep information that could save the lives of her fellow employees a secret? Ultimately, like Wigand, Silkwood opts to take the risks that come with being a whistleblower. For her, though, the costs are far more deadly than anything suffered by Wigand.
All the President's Men (1976)
The comparisons between The Insider and All the President's Men are inevitable. Both tell the story of journalists who risk everything in order to bring crucial information to the public. All the President's Men details reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein breaking the story of the 1972 Watergate scandal that eventually ousted President Nixon from office. An important difference between these two films is how the journalistic medium is portrayed. In The Insider there is a crucial divide between the journalists and the corporate management of CBS -- the two divisions are entirely distinct and often at odds with each other. All the President's Men portrays a much better relationship between the journalists and their bosses. These two films show just how much has changed since the 1970s, as journalism has become much more about making money than making headlines.
Network is yet another tale of the news division taking a backseat to the profit-making interests of a corporation. Longtime UBS anchor Howard Beale has been fired due to low ratings for his show. Unwilling to accept the network's decision to do away with the news division in favor of a more exciting entertainment division, Beale concocts a stunt guaranteed to both keep him on the air and score hefty ratings. Network takes a satricial look at all the different interests at work in a television news station, as well as just how far a television show can go before the viewers will stop watching.
Heat (1995), The Parallax View (1974), Erin Brockovich (2000)
Copyright (c) 2003 Lindsay Elizabeth Totams, Undergraduate Student at Lehigh University.
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