A former Kentuckian died recently, Merrell Williams, Jr.,(who ought to be in the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame) but probably is someone you have never heard of.
From an Associated Press article, Williams was a paralegal at a law firm then representing the old Brown and Williamson Tobacco Corp. when he realized the sleaziness of his firm’s work, and began leaking many documents to Big Tobacco opponents.
His information made world headlines, because it proved that the firm..and Big Tobacco had known this for years that (1) nicotine was addictive, (2) cigarettes do cause cancer, and (3) we are marketing to kids..and had not only lied about it, but had sent studies proving all 3 to law firms in order to try to get them protected by legal restrictions.
Williams' leaks were later used by a B&W executive, Jeffrey Wigand, to stiffen his resolve to go public, and his report on “60 Minutes” and a late film made about him spelled the end of Big Tobacco’s denials. But it was Williams’ whistle blowing that first got the truth to the public.
There’s a huge scandal brewing about fraud in Navy contracts...several women in Frankfort charge officials with sexual misbehavior, a number of federal government whistle blowers are claiming violations of our laws, and we will have to wait and see if their charges are correct, but the importance of whistle blowers in our lives can not be overstated.
Pres. Obama campaigned on more “transparency” in government; he has produced less..with more civil servants and especially reporters charged with violating secrecy laws than ever before—probably because most whistle blowers have more than just a grain of truth in their claims..as we eventually find out.
Thank you Merrell Williams, Jr.
I'm just sayin'...