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Whisteblower Attitudes

The three programs I engaged with this week were CBS’s Face the Nation from September 29th, the On the Media podcast from September 27th titled "Nice Democracy You’ve Got There…," and the second episode of the Most Perfect Album. I listened to Christopher Scott’s story of exoneration and Sarah Qari discuss the importance of the 4th through 8th Amendments on the second episode of the Most Perfect Album. What stood out to me this week was the main topic covered on Face the Nation and "Nice Democracy You’ve Got There…," which surrounded the whistleblower case and President Trump’s impeachment inquiry. From these two programs, I learned more about people’s attitudes toward a whistleblower.


Brooke Gladstone spoke with Tom Devine, the government accountability project’s legal director, about whistleblower protections. Devine explained how people try to divert their attention away from the issue at hand. These people do what it takes to discredit the whistleblower by investigating their “integrity, professional history, sexuality, motives bias, or anything that will smear a person” (“Nice Democracy”). During the Face the Nation episode, I saw an example of one addressing the messenger rather than the message. Senator Lindsey Graham raised questions about who told the whistleblower about the transcript or the phone call, why the hearsay rule changed shortly before the whistleblower filed the complaint, and who helped the person write the legal document regarding the transcript. By doing so, Graham shifted attention toward the reliability of the whistleblower, as well as the Joe and Hunter Biden corruption, and strayed away from the content in President Trump’s conversation with the Ukrainian President.


President Trump tried to convince the foreign leader to investigate a domestic political rival and interfere in the 2020 election while he withheld millions of dollars’ worth of foreign aid. The Ukrainian President may not understand the consequences of refusing to investigate. While some critics perceive this exchange as quid pro quo, it seems to me like an implicit threat. At the time, President Trump withheld U.S. military aid to Ukraine. Although the threat to Ukraine’s national security would not physically be caused by the United States, Ukraine lacking this money would leave the country less prepared to defend themselves against the Russian invasion. While some may have suspicions about the whistleblower complaint, upholding whistleblower protections allows people to feel comfortable enough to step forward and hold those in authority accountable for their unethical or illegal actions.

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