Americans don’t much like whistle-blowers. We suspect their motives. We believe they do it for money or spite. We think “whistle-blower” is a just a fancy word for a snitch or turncoat. This attitude is not hard to fathom. By definition, every whistle-blower engages in an act of betrayal.

True, once in a while, a whistle-blower will reveal misconduct of such enormity, or which so threatens the lives or livelihoods of others, that we must admit to admiration, especially if the whistle-blower had nothing to gain and everything to lose. But admiration is about as much as the whistle-blower is likely to get. How many of us would hire a whistle-blower, even a certified hero, for a sensitive job, or trust one with our deepest secrets?

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