It goes without saying that YouTube is a mecca of entertaining video clips. Where else can you find classic TV sitcom intros, 80s videos, commercials… homemade spoofs of the aforementioned videos and sitcom themes… not to mention a video of “Sushi, the toilet trained cat.”
But can the site also serve as a platform for whistleblowers and their claims? Enter former Lockheed Martin worker Michael De Kort (read more here) and a 10-minute homemade video in which De Kort reads from notes about “critical security flaws in a fleet of refurbished Coast Guard patrol boats.” De Kort states that he has contacted various agencies and organizations about what he refers to as serious safety/security issues and calls upon YouTube viewers who may be in a position to help. Since the video has posted, De Kort’s claims and allegations have been covered by print and broadcast press. I wonder if this may be the start of whistleblowers opting to go straight to the public via webcam and notes – minus any filters -- rather than following the traditional route of filing a case. Of course, from a PR standpoint, if De Kort’s presentation on the site had been TOO slick (teleprompter, slides and graphics, etc), one wonders if that would take away from the “DIY/insider/immediacy” tone of his clip.
I’m sure this won’t be the last whistleblower to try to engage the public with serious claims. And, with mass access to publishing forums such as YouTube, it will be up to the discriminating viewer to discern which claims carry weight and which do not.