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The Story Behind The Movie Quiz Show

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The Story Behind The Movie Quiz Show

In the movie "Quiz Show" The television game show "Twenty-one" was rigged to keep ratings up at NBC. At the beginning of the movie question for the show were seen taken from a bank volt. This gave the viewer the impression that no one saw the question before Jack (the host) received them from the guards weekly. Herbert Stempel, a Jewish contestant, he won for eight weeks on the show had become a national celebrity, to the audience he seemed unstoppable. When the rating fell the producers of the game show decided to get a more attractive contestant. So, they set out to find a new contestant. Charles Van Doreen became their man to beat Herbert. Van Doreen was a handsome college instructor from a prominent family of Nobel Prize winners. Since Charles was a better match for the show Herbert was told he had to lose the next show and the question had to be simple. Although Herbert did not want to he did. He then became outraged because Charles had became the "Gentile" the beat the "Jew". Charles was well liked and won much more money. To get revenge Herb spoke with a District attorney office labeling the show a fraud.
This prompted an investigation. When Richard Goodwin, a Washington lawyer and congressional investigator read about
the grand jury statements being sealed in the New York Times he decided to investigate it. He know something was wrong when it should have been a public trial. Goodwin was determined to find out what the secret was.
The problem was the contestants were all given the answers to the questions before the show. There were several psychological theories shown in this movie I will focus on, group think, cognitive dissonance and conformity...


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...ve Charles the
opportunity to deny the accusation and was stunned when he did the right thing and confessed.
The movie reminded me of the Asch's Studies of Group Pressure. Although the characters knew what they were doing was wrong they continued to do what was asked of them to cheat. Herbert and Charles relied on groupthink to
influence them on what was the acceptable thing to do at that time. I find it hard to believe that most of use would not do the same in if we though there were no chance of getting caught. Deindividuation also led these men to do what is considered morally wrong. During the testimony of Albert Freedmon he stated, It's not like we're hardened criminals here. We're in show business. Which is to say what we do is give people what they want entertainment.
It does not mean we have to do the moral thing to get our point across.


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