Column: Whistleblowers-includes videos

A whistleblower is a person who exposes any kind of information or activity that is deemed illegal, unethical, or not correct within an organization that is either private or public.

There are good people in this county who do the right thing even when it might not be popular to do so. People make mistakes that may endanger lives. People do the wrong thing because no one is watching. Some people are just corrupt.

But we can’t fix something if we don’t know about it. Numerous people call in tips or leads on stories. It’s not easy to do. They risk friendships, jobs, families and more. Without them, we could not understand what is going on behind the scenes. Without them we are ignorant of corruption, manipulation, and wrongdoing within our community.

Unfortunately there are times we are unable to do anything about an issue. A woman called me about a child being neglected. A call to DSS had been made last Monday to report on the “endangerment to a child.” On Friday, the child was dead.

This week a video of an arrest in the Wal-Mart parking lot went viral locally. Forest City Police responding to the event showed a great amount of restraint and discernment. Yet many of us would not have known of this larceny incident without a person who shared their video. We would not know of the heroic moves of a man to keep a distraught woman from the scene.

A local non-profit breaks the law. No matter how much good an organization does, if it begins the cycle of deceit, larceny, and endangering children then it must be exposed.

If a corrupt elected official uses his position to satisfy his own greed we need to know that.

We cannot fix what we don’t acknowledge.

A woman’s house floods during the Rails to Trails construction, a sheriff’s car hits a woman’s home, DSS mishandles an abuse case – we must hear both sides and bring awareness to our problems.

The media is a check and balance for government, corruption, greed, and most of all public perception. Whistleblowers serve the public. The media should as well.

Exposing an issue is not enough. It will take everyone one of you to use your voice-your vote to change things in our home. Know the people you elect. Know what they stand for. Don’t let anyone tell you how to vote. Educate yourself on the issues. Vote.

There are always two sides to any story as any journalist knows. History is written by the winners. It takes a mature person to look behind the scenes and attempt to present both sides. The facts are given a verdict after the prosecution and defense have presented their respective sides in the courtroom.

Change will only happen when we the people, know the issues and demand accountability.