Sunday, July 13, 2014

YOUR HELP PLEASE

I need your help.  Can anyone please identify a director of a school of journalism in the United States of America who is standing up for journalism.    Please send me the name and any supporting evidence.

To avoid confusion, let me emphasize, I'm not looking for a name of a university president.   As we all know, the world could be ending and a university president wouldn't stand up and say a word.   We don't expect university presidents to provide intellectual leadership on any issue facing the country be it needless wars, climate change, inequality, sexual assault or a sport that causes brain damage.  University presidents aren't essential for democracy; journalism is.  I'm looking for directors of schools of journalism, those who should be setting journalistic standards for the next generation of journalists and who should be outraged at the Obama Administration using the Espionage Act to prosecute whistleblowers wanting to tell the truth about what the secret government is doing.  

As John Kirakou points out in his Guardian article, "Obama's abuse of the Espionage Act is modern-day McCarthyism," the administration's actions are "meant to send a message to anybody else considering speaking truth to power:  challenge us and we will destroy you."

How does Obama compare to other presidents?   Kirakou summarizes it succinctly.

"Only ten people in American history have been charged with espionage for leaking classified information, seven of them under Barack Obama. The effect of the charge on a person's life – being viewed as a traitor, being shunned by family and friends, incurring massive legal bills – is all a part of the plan to force the whistleblower into personal ruin, to weaken him to the point where he will plead guilty to just about anything to make the case go away. I know. The three espionage charges against me made me one of 'The Obama Seven.'"

What was Kirakou's crime?   Why was he prosecuted?   The reason should outrage every citizen, every journalist and particularly every director of every journalism school.    He talked to reporters.  Here's Kirakou's description: 

"Two of my espionage charges were the result of a conversation I had with a New York Times reporter about torture. I gave him no classified information – only the business card of a former CIA colleague who had never been undercover. The other espionage charge was for giving the same unclassified business card to a reporter for ABC News. All three espionage charges were eventually dropped.
So, why charge me in the first place?
It was my punishment for blowing the whistle on the CIA's torture program and for confirming to the press, despite government protestations to the contrary, that the US government was, indeed, in the business of torture."
Torture used to be something other countries did; the USA would not tolerate such inhumane treatment.   That has changed.   Now the United States prosecutes someone like Karakou for talking about it and the message is loud and clear to anyone looking to tell the truth about the secret government. 

As ProPublica reports, "Despite promises to strengthen protections for whistleblowers, the Obama administration has launched an aggressive crackdown on government employees who have leaked national security information to the press."

Where are the directors of America's journalism schools?   Why aren't they objecting to a concentrated attack on free speech?

With the passing of one America's great journalists, John Seigenthaler - a journalist's journalist -  it made me realize it is time to ask a question as free speech has come under increasing attack by government and as the press has devolved into such incredible lapdogs:  where are the journalists?

Now, it's more important than ever for the directors of schools of journalism to stand up and fight for 1st Amendment rights because so many so-called news organizations have abdicated their responsibility.  In his article "How the 'War on Terror' Became a War on the Constitution," Peter Van Buren correctly notes far too many of America's professional journalists are failing at the basics:  holding government accountable.

"Sadly, as the Obama administration is moving ever more fiercely against those who might reveal its acts or documents, the bulk of the media have acquiesced. Glenn Greenwald said it plainly: too many journalists have gone into a self-censoring mode, practicing 'obsequious journalism.'"

Please, if you can identify a director of a school of journalism who is raising hell about the Obama Administration's attack on whistleblowers who are so essential in a democracy, please let me know.  Put their name and school and links to articles demonstrating their objections in the comments below.   

Thank you. 

P.S.   I wouldn't expect network news executives to object.   Lapdogs don't bark; they just wimper.   When journalism fails, bad things happen.   

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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Technology for Journalism that Works

(Full Disclosure:  I'm a MoJo Advisor for Michael.  This post talks about what a great job he's done developing cost effective equipment for journalists in challenging situations)

What do you do with no budget?   I'm not talking about American television news operations that got spoiled with 50% profit margins.   What about those who actually want to do journalism, who want to do reporting that matters instead of doing blather that doesn't. 

Michael Clarke of International Media Solutions, came up with a fix.

Michael recognized that the journalists in countries suffering from civil strife already had iPhones, but they had little money.   I was amazed when I did a training project in Kenya and visited the slum outside Nairobi.   The slum had no sewer system, but those living there had smartphones.   No toilets, just technology.  With the journalists Michael was training he realized they couldn't go out and buy video cameras.    Plus,  iPhones don't shoot in broadcast format (16X9); they shoot a vertical format.  What's the solution?   Michael found it. 

He developed and patented an incredibly convenient mobile kit for any Apple device (and the Samsung Galaxy SIII and S4) that allows the video journalist to shoot broadcast quality video in 16X9.   What provided the impetus?  Iraq.

Says Michael, "The MoJo Kit was born out of the conflict in Iraq.  The Journalists I was working with did not have the resources to purchase expensive equipment and therefore were using cell phones as a news-gathering tool."

The MoJo kit may be the one possible positive result of the War in Iraq.

And he's helped journalists working in incredibly challenging environments utilize the power of video.

What a shame the American press never utilized the power of video on the war in Iraq.  With Vietnam, we saw what war did.   With Iraq, the American press sanitized the war, something no true journalist would ever do.  

Michael Clarke is helping journalists in other countries do what journalists in all countries should do -- report reality.   Michael understands that journalism is not government propaganda.  He understands journalists need the technical tools to report what's actually there, and he's developed a cost-effective tool to help them.   Check out the MoJo Kit.


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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

A Required Book for Every Newsroom

935 LiesYes, I know, you thought it was going to be 935 Lies by Chuck Lewis.   Well, of course, that's required reading.

Considering the current state of media, an old book that has timeless advice is also essential.   It's A Whack on the Side of the Head by Roger von Oech - a guide to creative thinking.  



It is truly amazing to see how little creativity media organizations have when it comes to developing more effective video possibilities for both their newsrooms and their sales force.
A newsroom that goes out of business informs nobody.

When creativity fails in the sales department, bad things happen to the news department.

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Sunday, July 6, 2014

How Newspapers Can Increase Digital Revenue

Newspapers want more revenue.   Here's an easy solution.   Newspapers should treat every print story like they treat their video.   Whenever a user clicks on the story, instead of getting the story, the user gets an ad.

That's what happens with video; why not do it to the text stories?

Ah, probably because that would infuriate users and makes absolutely no sense.   

Isn't it amazing with the incredible power and versatility of video how newspapers haven't invested in video sales development, to help advertisers come up with far more effective ways to use the power of video within the newspaper website?

Look at the most compelling advertising video above the fold on today's Washington Post and New York Times.   There isn't any.






A news organization that goes out of business informs nobody.   

Newspapers knew twenty years ago they had to develop more effective sales opportunities for website advertising.   Examine the size of the video creative team at any major market newspaper and you'll find a source of a newspaper's revenue problem.

Vice has built a highly effective and profitable website because it understands the web is not television.   A story, a program,  doesn't have to fit a prescribed time.  

Web video = storytelling freedom. 

Vice also understands users don't want to click on a video news story in order to watch a commercial produced for television.

Web video = advertising freedom.   

Unfortunately for their revenue, newspapers haven't figured that out.  

When creativity fails in the sales department, bad things happen to news operations. 

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Thursday, July 3, 2014

A Book To Celebrate the 4th of July

A book every thoughtful citizen should read is the latest book by one of the country's finest journalists, Chuck Lewis.   

The book is 935 Lies.

If we had more journalists, this book would not have been possible.



Chuck Lewis documents how the government has lied and how most of the press reported rather than questioned those lies.   Journalism is not stenography.   Journalism requires verification.  A journalist should not be a human microphone stand. 

The most unpatriotic act possible by a journalist is to be a pom pom waver for government.
Patriotic journalists question their government because they understand truth and transparency are essential for democracy.    

A democracy built on truth is vibrant; one built on lies is in danger of collapse.   

Check your local newspaper website.   Check your local TV website.   Check for accountability interviews, where the journalist is holding your members of Congress accountable.  And there's a current and obvious topic where you should be seeing just such an accountability interview.

 As reported in the National Journal, The House Ethics Committee voted to eliminate the requirement for members to disclose free trips paid for by outside groups.    Does your member of Congress approve?   Your local journalists should be asking.  And if they're not, write a letter to the newspaper's publisher and to the TV station's general manager and ask why the journalists aren't doing their jobs.     On this 4th of July, we don't want another 935 lies to lead us into more unnecessary deadly wars.   We need more patriotic journalists like Chuck Lewis. 

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Friday, June 27, 2014

Sunday Shows = Accountability Lost

If you're not doing accountability journalism, it's NOT journalism.   When it comes to Iraq, you don't see much journalism, just lots of yacking skulls and nodding heads.  

There's one short article, and one video every thoughtful citizen should check.   The article is in today's Huffington Post; the video is from years ago.  Both focus on the same problem, the failure of journalists to do their job. 

The headline on Michael Calderon's piece says it all:  

If You Were An Iraq War Critic, You're Probably Not Being Asked To Go On TV


As the cheerleaders waved their pom poms for war years ago, one reporter who was going after facts and attempting to get at the truth instead of the spin was McClatchy's Jonathan Landay. He hasn't been on a single Sunday pom pom waving head up the government's butt program. 
  When journalism fails, bad things happen.
 This report from years ago from Bill Moyers demonstrates that.  Every citizen should watch Buying the War.   Every journalism professor should watch it.   Every member of the Washington Press Corps should watch it and then go out and buy a pair of steel toed boots to kick themselves in the ass. 

We had a war in Iraq for one primary reason.  Thousands of American soldiers died for one primary reason.  Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi's died for one primary reason.   We have an unbelievable mess in Iraq for one primary reason:  American journalism failed.   Had journalists done their jobs, the American public would have known that Saddam's WMD capability was zero.  The weapons inspectors had determined that.  And as inspector Scott Ritter points out, the intelligence services in this country and the UK and Germany all knew that.  Had journalists done their jobs there would not have been a war in Iraq.   There was no threat of WMD, and there were sources available to provide that information.   And there were others doing some worthwhile reporting.   But when Walter Pincus did a great piece, the Post put it on page 18.   When the administration put out its spin, it was on page 1.    Think about that:  page 1 = spin, page 18 = some actual reporting. 

Unfortunately, most of the Washington Press Corps in the build up to the war had forgotten journalism 101.   They forgot journalism requires verification.   They forgot journalists demand proof. They forgot journalists require FACTS.    They forgot journalists are to be highly skeptical.   They played human microphone stand.   And on Memorial Day, they owe the country an apology.  

The current crop of Sunday Shows and Nightly Newscasts don't have to wait for Memorial Day; they should apologize now for not doing their jobs. 

When journalism fails, bad things happen.                                                                                 ###

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Does the NCAA Believe in Title IX??

Take a look at the most recent (2012) IRS 990 filed by the NCAA and it makes one wonder if the NCAA believes in Title IX.    Lots of highly paid executives, mostly men.


Name Base Compensation
Keith Martin 240,350
Mark Emmert 1,201,159
KATHLEEN MCNEELY 219,150
SCOTT  BEARBY 215,226
JAMES ISCH 697,697
BERNARD FRANKLIN 437,789
GREGORY SHAHEEN 462,051
DONALD  REMY 401,829
DAVID  BERST 291,607
KEVIN LENNON 270,298
JULIE ROE  LACH 250,427
ROBERT FIALA 176,947
JONI COMSTOCK 306,854
ROBERT WILLIAMS 274,173
WALLACE  RENFRO 254,078
TODD LEYDEN 198,177
ROBERT VOWELS 247,180
Total: 6,144,992

Why do you suppose a nonprofit that makes its money from the talent of college athletes has so many highly paid executives?  Why does it seem to be so male dominated?  Those would be worthwhile questions for a sports reporter to ask.   They're not questions a sports cheerleader will ever ask.

When it comes to college athletes, we need far more sports reporters, far fewer sports cheerleaders.   Is it really wise public policy for the highest paid public employee in state after state to be either a football coach or a basketball coach?   Is the primary purpose of a Division I University to be a cost-free training ground for the NFL and the NBA and a revenue generator for NCAA executives?    Isn't it time for newsrooms in market after market to put down the pom poms and pick up the pens and do some reporting?

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Sunday, June 8, 2014

Bergdahl and the Threat of the Taliban

What an embarrassing week for American journalism or lack thereof.

Just listen to the speculation about Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.  Fox News really needs to change its slogan from "Fair & Balanced" to  "Make It Up."   Why don't they believe in fact checking? Perhaps they went to the Lara Logan school of journalism.   

Here's a piece for anyone who is actually interested in Bergdahl to review from a few years ago by Rolling Stone written by an actual journalist, Michael Hastings.  

America's Last Prisoner of War


A highly worthwhile paragraph from the article to note:  In what appears to be an unprecedented move, the Pentagon also scrambled to shut down any public discussion of Bowe. Members of Bowe's brigade were required to sign nondisclosure agreements as part of their paperwork to leave Afghanistan. The agreement, according to Capt. Fancey, forbids them to discuss any "personnel recovery" efforts – an obvious reference to Bowe. According to administration sources, both the Pentagon and the White House also pressured major news outlets like The New York Times and the AP to steer clear of mentioning Bowe's name to avoid putting him at further risk. (The White House was afraid hard-line elements could execute him to scuttle peace talks, officials involved in the press negotiations say.) Faced with the wall of official silence, Bob and Jani began to worry that the Pentagon wasn't doing all that it could to get their son back. As Bowe's sister, Sky, wrote in a private e-mail: "I am afraid our government here in D.C. would like nothing better but to sweep PFC Bergdahl under the rug and wash their hands of him."

Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/americas-last-prisoner-of-war-20120607page=6#ixzz344F5CMXz 
Follow us: @rollingstone on Twitter | RollingStone on Facebook

As America's networks and newspapers discuss the swap, there's one topic that should be examined:  the Taliban.

Why aren't America's reporters asking their members of Congress basic questions about the threat posed by the Taliban?

How many are there?

What's their budget?  

How many weapons do they have?

What kinds of weapons do they have? 

What's the actual threat posed to the United States?    

Keep in mind, the United States spends more on military than the next ten countries combined.   And keep in mind, the attack that brought down the World Trade Towers didn't come from anyone in Iraq or Afghanistan but from a bunch of guys from Saudi Arabia.    No, we didn't attack Saudi Arabia.   It's a  U.S. ally.  

As the Rolling Stone article reports, Sgt. Bergdahl had lots of complaints about his unit and the U.S. military.  How are those complaints being examined by the U.S. media?   How many of his complaints are legitimate?  Journalists should report on the reality of war, not play cheerleader for government. 

Soldiers in Bergdahl's unit were forced to sign a gag order that prohibited from talking.   How are U.S. journalists questioning gag orders required by the U.S. military?   Journalists should be concerned at getting at the truth, not at the spin or in the case of Fox News, not at the "made up oh my God President Obama is the devil" version of the news. 

Wouldn't it be great to have more journalists and fewer yellers and screamers?

When journalism fails, bad things happen.  So far, most of journalism has been failing Sgt. Bergdahl, his family and the American public. 

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Monday, April 21, 2014

We're Embarrassed.

We're embarrassed by a university that favors secrecy over transparency.    I'm also proud of the best editorial I've ever seen in Kent State University's student paper, starting with the headline:   

"The worst public transparency crisis since the last time around"

Student journalist Daniel Moore writes with force and precision.   Let me retype here the first four graphs of a powerful editorial.

From the DKS Editorial:  

University officials have declared they're done talking about the presidential search that found President-Elect Beverly Warren.  We wish we could be done too.

We wish we didn't have to remind the top lawyer at a state-funded institution of public records law.   But when General Counsel Vice President Willis Walker referred questions of public record to a private firm earlier this month, we feel something has gone horribly awry.

It's the latest in a series of progressively more-head-scratching offenses that won't go away until the school proves that a quarter-million dollars of public money was spent correctly.  By refusing to release any receipts or copies of any invoices that indicate finalists' names or identifying information, Walker is failing to provide proof that those funds were properly spent.  

Walker said Storbeck/Pimental & Associates, the university's private contractor who assisted the school in finding Warren, has been given all the records and the authority to release them if it wants.   He even suggested the firm could have already destroyed some of the records.

You read that right, Kent State University signed a contract that lets a search firm in Pennsylvania determine what is a public record in Ohio.  Akron Beacon Journal reporter Carol Biliczky reported that fact more than a week ago along with details on how Kent State officials had shredded documents.   How did Governor John Kasich react to a public institution shredding public records documenting the search for the top position at a state university, an action approved by the governor-appointed Board of Trustees?   He didn't.  

What does Governor John Kasich plan to do about a public institution signing a contract that allows a firm in Pennsylvania to determine what is public record in Ohio?    

Although I'm embarrassed by and ashamed of my employer, a university that thumbs its nose at Ohio's public records law, I'm proud of Kent State student journalists pushing for transparency and for holding university officials accountable.  I trust both student journalists and the Akron Beacon Journal will be asking for an interview with the Governor. 


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Monday, April 14, 2014

Come to Ohio and Cheat

In her story on Kent State University shredding documents to prevent the public from seeing how the Presidential Search Committee selected its new president, Akron Beacon Journal reporter Carol Biliczky may have come up with the ideal way for students to improve their GPA.

Thankfully, Ohio has a fairly strong public records law.   Every public agency must have a records retention schedule that indicates what documents must be kept and for how long.
When it comes to hiring, the law requires transparency in the public sector.   Material received from job applicants, like those applying to be president of a state university, are public records, and hiring an outside firm to do the search doesn't change that.   The Supreme Court of Ohio settled that in Plain Dealer Publishing Co, v. City of Cleveland and ordered the city to release the records on all applicants because the private firm conducting the search "acted for a public purpose."

As the headline of Carol Beliczky's report states:  "Kent State Shredded Documents to Hide Information About Presidential Search."  But for the Kent State Presidential Search Committee that wasn't sufficient.   It decided to write its own contract to specifically ignore Ohio's Public Records Law.   As Carol reports, "...the university signed a contract addendum giving its private search firm, Storbeck Pementel and Associates of Media, Pa, the power to decide what records are released to the public."

Any first-year law student would be able to explain to members of the Presidential Search Committee that laws are passed by the legislature and become law after being signed by the governor or upon the legislature overriding a gubernatorial veto.   Private parties can't simply write a contract to decide to change the law.   Neither the Kent State Presidential Search Committee nor its hired contractor can decide what is a public record.   The law does that. 

But given the Presidential Search Committee's actions, its behavior provides a fabulous template for students so they can all graduate with honors.   Kent State students should just follow the example set by the Presidential Search Committee.  They can ignore whatever is in a course syllabus.   They can just write their own agreement on what is necessary to get an A.   If they want, they could be like athletes at North Carolina and get an A for a class they don't even have to attend.    

A cautionary note here:  if students acted like the Presidential Search Committee, they'd probably get into trouble.

Since it's the law that dictates what public records are and the records retention schedule dictates what records must be kept and for how long, do you think the actions of the Kent State University  Presidential Search Committee may generate an investigation from the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation?  Will the State of Ohio simply do nothing about a state agency that has decided a firm in Pennsylvania can determine what records are public in Ohio?

Keep reading the Akron Beacon Journal, the only news organization that is continuing to push on an important story.

The threat to democracy is NOT terrorism.   The threat to democracy is government secrecy at whatever level it exists.

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Sunday, April 6, 2014

Another Coach Hired, Another Missed Story

Ohio University has hired a new basketball coach for only $550 thousand a year, a sum that would allow a university to hire half a dozen or more tenure track professors.   One question you won't hear the sports reporters ask is who pays for that?   It's a story the sports reporters will ignore again.  It's the academic students who pay.  The highest student fee charged to students at OU goes to fund athletics.    And college athletic budget crisis time is coming to our universities.    Sports reporters may ignore the stories; university presidents may ignore the problem.   But what can't be ignored too much longer is economic reality.  

With Monday's night Final Four championship game, it's a good time to remind university presidents, teachers, and taxpayers of the economic reality of college sports, a topic Dr. Andrew Zimbalist has been studying and analyzing for years.   


As he points out, most programs lose millions of dollars a year now.     Click and listen to what he predicts is coming.  

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Is March Madness Academic Madness?

One story you probably won't find in the local sports section or on local TV as everyone cheers on the team, is how many classes athletes miss.

The NCAA says academics is a “core priority” for it and its member institutions.  Is March Madness actually academic madness?   

How many classes do student athletes miss due to game schedules and injuries?   How many classes and study days do athletes suffering from concussions miss?   With a concussion, medical experts say a student should refrain from studying because the brain needs rest.  What are the numbers like for the Mid American Conference?   Click and watch this report from Kent State University student journalist Jason Kostura.    For you reporters, go ask your university's athletic director to do an interview about how the department analyzes class absence and the impact missing class has on academic performance.   Unfortunately, not a single athletic director in the Mid American Conference would agree to an interview on the topic.   






Monday, March 24, 2014

A Journalist Stands Up for Journalism

Ben Richardson resigns from Bloomberg News for all the right reasons.   Every student journalist, every journalism professor, every j-school director, every working professional journalist should read this post on Romenesko.

Bloomberg owes the country an apology.     We all owe Ben a salute.  

We live in challenging times when there's never been greater need for thoughtful, in depth reporting.   When Bloomberg had a chance to deliver, it did what General Motors and Toyota have done, decided profit was far more important than doing what was right. From government to universities to car companies to media companies we've witnessed ethics being flushed down the toilet.  As a society, we're paying an incredibly high price. 

Thank goodness for people like Ben Richardson, people who are willing to stand up for what is right and what is ethical.    

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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

CNN vs The News

When Ted Turner started CNN he had a simple, basic and crucially important philosophy: news is the star.

Want the news?   You won't find out what's going on in the world with CNN.

I need to clarify.  CNN International always has and still does cover the news.  But CNN domestic, the CNN we watch in the United States has for the most part stopped reporting the news, it just reports the story of the day. 

For the past week and who knows for how many more, CNN covers one story, a missing airplane. A few weeks ago it was Chris Christie.

On Fox,  one might expect a group of semi hysterical commentators suggesting that Obama was responsible for the plane's disappearance, that it was actually heading to Benghazi for a meeting with Hillary at directions of the President who had gotten secret orders from Muslims in Kenya. But what's happened to CNN, the network where fact-based news from around the country and around the world used to be the star?  From a news organization, one expects an examination of facts and of evidence being verified.    

Now, instead of doing news, CNN has decided to join the breathless hysteria seekers. Chris Goodfellow, a pilot with 20 years experience, makes some thoughtful observations based on his 20 years of flying.    His thoughtful, rational and reasonable analysis hasn't gotten much play on the Oh My God network.    Perhaps if he had suggested a UFO had snatched the plane, he'd be featured.  

When journalism fails, wild speculation ensues.

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Friday, February 28, 2014

Whistleblower = Truth Teller (Reporters Need Them)

What a shame there wasn't a whistleblower at the Chevy Cobalt plant back in 2004.   As USAToday.com reports, General Motors knew before the first Cobalt was sold that there was a problem with the ignition.   

"GM concedes it knew in 2004, before launching the 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt, that the ignition switch might inadvertently move from "run" to "accessory," stalling the engine and cutting power to safety systems."

It wasn't the fault of the engineers.   They suggested solutions.   None was adopted.  What else could they have done?   They could have been a truth teller, a whistleblower, and it would have been a whistle that would have saved lives.   This country, any democracy, needs whistleblowers.   But it's getting harder for those who want to tell the truth.

We have an administration attacking and doing everything it can to silence whistleblowers.   From Der Spiegel to Salon from blogs to the Washington Post, you can read the disappointing news of an administration dedicated to punishing those so appalled by what they've seen they are compelled to tell the truth.   What the administration should be doing is saying it's time to get tough on crime.    The corporate executive who makes the decision to sell a product with a known safety defect, particularly one that can kill people, shouldn't be getting a bonus.   The executive should be getting prosecuted.

For reporters, the GM recall gives them an easy question for their members of Congress.   Should corporate executives be punished, should they be prosecuted, for knowingly selling a product with a known safety defect?   In most cases since we have the best Congress money can buy, the answer will be no.   But ask the simple follow-up question:  why?  

Read the articles on the North Carolina coal ash spill.   Three paragraphs from the New York Times article demonstrate again why public safety so requires whistleblowers.

     From the NYT:   Last year, the environment agency's budget for water pollution programs
                               was cut by 10.2 percent, a bipartisan commission that approves regulations
                               was reorganized to include only Republican appointees, and the governor
                               vastly expanded the number of agency exempt from civil service protections
                               to 179 from 24. 

                               The effect, said midlevel supervisors who now serve at the pleasure of
                               the governor, is that they are hesitant to crack down on polluters who 
                               might complaint to Mr. Skvarla or a lawmaker, at the risk of their jobs.
                               Several spoke anonymously out of fear of being fired.

                               "They want to have a hammer to come down on anybody who hinders
                               developers by enforcing regulations," said a supervisor whose department
                               is supposed to regulate businesses under laws devised to protect water
                               quality.  "We're scared to death to say no to anyone anymore."

Think of that.  Employees are afraid to do what's right to protect public safety out of fear of losing their jobs.   A whistleblower may have prevented the North Carolina disaster.   We'll have a safer and more honest world if we encourage and reward whistleblowers and enact mandatory prison time for corporate executives who make decisions that intentionally put public safety at risk.


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