Monday, December 15, 2014

Atlantic Monthly: Why most financial whistle blowers go unheard

It's not much of an exaggeration to say that while other blogs known as watchblogs focused a lot on Mark Driscoll's stage antics and statements about gender and sex and sexuality, Wenatchee The Hatchet has spent a few years detailing the history of Mars Hill real estate acquisitions and expressing some doubts about the soundness of their fiscal policies.  Although some private attempts at contact got made by some in leadership at Mars Hill when the blog turned to these things other blogs and bloggers who opted to write about Mars Hill in general and Mark Driscoll in particular didn't seem to have much interest in the finances and real estate for a long, long time.

Why?  Who knows?  Wenatchee The Hatchet just kept at documenting things and exploring the history and asking some questions just in case anyone in the press, mainstream or otherwise, ever got the idea that there might actually be a story.  Call it compensating for the lack of activity in formal journalism, if you like.  The success, if any, of a whistle-blower's activities depends a great deal on luck rather than the size of the shock that goes with whatever may be revealed.

So what’s luck got to do with it? Well, if Fleischmann had read the research on whistle-blowing she would know that most whistle-blowers’ stories are simply not heard. In the vast majority of cases, people who speak out suffer in silence, alone and unheard. There is a way of drawing the attention of the public and the media. But it is an elusive one.

Successful whistle-blowers are not those with the most shocking truths, but rather they are the ones who happen to tap into a current trend. Their stories match up with what the media are excited about, what the public are angry about, or what the politicians can use for political capital at that particular time. Rather depressingly, therefore, the truth is a matter of trends.

While the Atlantic article discusses banks and finance, it may be applicable to coverage of religion.
There will never be an end to controversies and scandals and the ones that get some traction when whistle-blowers attempt to speak up may reaffirm what the author of Ecclesiastes gloomily reported, that the race is not to the swift, nor victory to the strong, nor riches to the wise but time and chance happen to them all.

No comments: