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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Are Local Whistleblowers Less Inclined With The Gazette?

Monday's Janesville Gazette contained a couple of "thumbs down" editorials that were too good to pass up given the newspaper's history of hypocrisy and political bias. The first one I tackled a few days ago was about the Gazette's unsupported criticism of Sen. Russ Feingold's campaign ad about stimulus jobs.

The other negative editorial was about what they believe was poor treatment of a whistleblower in a recent controversy surrounding a state prison warden. Yep. This coming from a newspaper that completely mishandled the two most prominent whistleblowing cases in recent Janesville history. In the earlier case, the newspaper head-lined whistleblowing/informant employees of a local private club as squealers and published their real names despite being identified with code names by the local police department. That's sure to set a welcoming stage for future whistleblowers, heh?

In a public sector whistleblowing case, the Gazette introduced the story with an open record's request and allegations from a Janesville city employee who recorded conversations with her supervisors because she feared of losing her job without having evidence to support claims that she was being targeted and unfairly treated. But instead of the "watchdog" Gazette following through and hammering out an exclusive investigation, they relied mostly on results from an internal investigation carried out by a city-hired private attorney who attempted to paint the whistleblower as the primary wrongdoer. Much like the state prison case the Gazette now describes as "appalling." Although the Gazette offered some barely acceptable post-investigation analysis on the city employee's case, their publishing attitude during the city's investigation was totally amateurish and almost helped create a cover-up.

We can only hope the Gazette's indifferent attitude toward local whistleblowers during these two events are kept in short memory and will not cause employees to be less inclined to step forward and blow the whistle on wrongdoing in not only the public sector, but the private sector as well.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The extent of the Gazette's investigative journalism is a Freedom of Information Act request (if they are told the who what where's by "sources") and a couple of unanswered phone calls. They don't do any actual leg work or followup. One trick ponies with sensationlsim and sales in mind, nothing else. Watchdogs.....HAHAHAHA

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