Monday, December 30, 2002
Time magazine's big mistake: Time's whistleblower trio contains an odd duck. It's the old "Mini Page" puzzle -- one of these things is not like the other.
The odd woman out is Enron's Sherron Watkins.
Well, OpinionJournal.com's Dan Ackman lays out the reason why, with an apt analogy.
A whistleblower is someone who spots a criminal inside a bank and alerts the police. That's not Sherron Watkins. What she did was write a memo to the bank robber (Mr. Lay) suggesting he was about to be caught and warning him to watch out. In response, he met with her, told her he didn't think he was robbing the bank, but assuring her he'd launch an investigation. Mr. Lay put his law firm, Vinson & Elkins, on the case. The lawyers didn't talk to Mr. Lay or to Jeffrey Skilling, the departed CEO. On Oct. 15, 2001, Vinson & Elkins issued a report concluding that the facts didn't warrant an investigation. A day later, Enron restated its financials, the first step in the chain of events that led to bankruptcy. Through it all, Ms. Watkins said zip. Many others did nothing as well, but none of them are "Person of the Year."
Bad call Time.