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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Plight of the Whistleblower

This is an excellent piece on the plight of whistleblowers and what they often go through.

A new study of insiders who blow the whistle on drug company fraud has found that all of the whistleblowers were primarily motivated by ethics rather than possible financial rewards.

However, the study also found many of the whistleblowers paid a tremendous personal cost for their disclosures and a vast majority experienced retaliation from employers, including being harassed, blackballed, and fired. Many were unable to secure other jobs during and after the investigations and some experienced personal health problems including panic attacks.

What's really disappointing is that articles like this wind up in websites of watchdog groups and not on the front page of the New York Times. Whistleblowers are the first line of defense against corruption. They are almost always mistreated. They are retaliated against, lied about, and often lose their jobs.

In so doing, not only does the initial corruption go on but new whistle blowers are discouraged from coming forward. As a result, it's impossible to quantify just how much corruption goes on. The plight of the whistleblower is rarely documented. There is little motivation for any individual to then become a whistleblower. Media could care less if you take on an entire corrupt entity. Often times, the media sides against you. Meanwhile, you take on an entire corrupt structure on your own. The chances of success are small. The chances of pain are enormous. In two stories I've covered, spouses of whistle blowers have committed suicide. These are the kinds of results that occur.

Yet, the media doesn't take much care in these stories. It's truly unbelievable. The stories are compelling, important, and all sorts of powerful people are involved. Yet, Lindsey Lohan gets front page coverage. Meanwhile, if you uncover medical corruption, you'll likely find that no one cares about your story.

3 comments:

AG said...

You seem to discuss whistleblowing at length, have you ever taken any heat over it?

mike volpe said...

That's a good question. I have not but I know a lot of whistle blowers that have had all sorts of heart ache for their whistle blowing.

Anonymous said...

You are welcome to my work place anytime and speak to certain
c(r)ooks to find ways to cook, blackmail, intimidate and harass. They can teach you how to fabricate a complaint, how to lie, how to blow your (govt) money and come out clean. It is free for anyone willing to work at this institution. All you have to do is do what they say without ever questioning them. I will be happy to give you a recommendation for the job. Welcome to our Shangri La--xanadu