Topics: Whistleblower, Daniel Ellsberg, Pentagon Papers Pages: 3 (863 words) Published: October 30, 2006
The origin of the term whistle blowing is uncertain. It may refer to English policemen blowing whistles to alert others to an illegal act or to sports referees stopping a game due to a rule infraction. The term began to be used in a way relevant to science, technology, and ethics in the 1960s and became part of the common vocabulary as a result of Ralph Nader's investigative activities during the 1970s. The American Heritage Dictionary defines a whistleblower as "one who reveals wrongdoing within an organization to the public or to those in positions of authority," but a more detailed analysis of the term is appropriate. Based on the above definition, it is possible to distinguish between internal and external whistle blowing. Internal whistle blowing occurs when the hierarchical chain of command within an organization is violated, so that one's immediate superiors are bypassed, perhaps because they have refused to act or are themselves involved in the wrongdoing. The whistle blowing is internal, however, because it stays within the organization. External whistle blowing refers to going outside the organization, possibly to a regulatory agency, the press, or directly to the public For example, Daniel Ellsberg is the most famous whistle blower in United States history because he was the one who leaked the Pentagon Papers setting in motion actions that would eventually topple the Nixon presidency and end the Vietnam War. These papers basically showed the American people had been deceived about Vietnam and that there was corruption in the government which shortened the Nixon presidency and help end the Vietnam War. If it hadn't done that the war would have probably gone on a lot longer and would have caused the loss of many more lives for pointless reasons. This is a good example of why it is important to whistle blow because after Daniel Ellsberg whistle blew the public support of the war eroded causing the...
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