Shakespeare tells us, "The truth will out." But, what do we do about this truth, and with those who tell it?
If you think the legendary "thin blue line" is stressful, you should try walking the "thin gray line" of the Whistleblower. The "blue line" of cops are there to protect us from dangerous street criminals, but their civilian counterpart has an even more impossible (even dangerous) task -- to protect us from the insidious and frightening dangers of corporate and government miscreants.
This topic came to mind when I was directed to read an article that appeared in Forbes Magazine earlier this month titled: "A Barrage of Legal Threats Shuts Down Whistleblower Site, 'Science Fraud.'" (Repercussions since.)
The Forbes author is rightfully horrified that Science Fraud, which in just six months of existence had caused suspect work in 300 peer review publications to be held up to the light of truth and found (seriously, in some cases) wanting. Our own "scientists" twisting truth for personal benefit and millions of dollars in government support. Whoda Thunk?
Continuing that line of curiosity, what does an "outed" prevaricator do when sunshine floods the dark corners of their world? Why, sue, of course. That they did, and we can now say "goodbye" to a website that had only two purposes -- to inform and to protect.
Similar handles are pulled in the corporate and government world when some form of wrongdoing is exposed. Although filing suit is a popular attack, their immediate weapon of choice is much more intimate; they fire or harass the troublemaker. The latter, for years...
That's how it is, and why should you and I care? Why shouldn't an employer or a government be allowed to fire someone who has revealed that-which-must-be-concealed? Looking at it through their eyes, there are reputations to be protected, grand missions to continue. And, yes, the bottom line to be protected.
But, their eyes are self-serving eyes, and benefit us not
I posed these questions to Evelynn Brown, a woman who has been a whistleblower herself, who then went on to found the Whistleblower Advocacy Group, Whistlewatch.org and the Brown Center for Public Policy. This is where she and her team provide services to whistleblowers, as well as work to educate the public on the importance of disclosures of violations of law or ethics.
She is not pleased.
"There is too much being covered up, too much silencing of people, and not enough encouragement," she says, and emphasizes the necessary role of government and the Office of Special Counsel in protecting workers -- especially whistleblowers. (Interview here.)
Have you hugged your whistleblower today? They could use it.