For Paterno it all started with the big lie.
The media repeated the lie over and over again and still are either knowing full well they didn't have any evidence to back it up but did it for their own self-serving reasons or are simply too stupid to know there is no evidence to back it up.
The lie, as everyone knows, is that Joe Paterno knew a 10 year old boy was raped by Jerry Sandsusky in the showers at Penn State and didn't report it to the proper authorities.
That lie was repeated over and over again by a torch carrying mob of ignorant journalists until the trustees finally fired Paterno under pressure by the mob in the press who continue to this day, to repeat the lie as if it were fact. And no doubt feel smug about it,
But the more information that comes out, the more we see just how ignorant and malicious the press was while at the same time, the press ignores the information that exposes them for what they have been.
No one in the news media knows exactly what Paterno was told and knew except that Paterno himself and McQueary both stated that Paterno was told a watered down sanitized non specific non detailed version of what happened in that shower. But everyone in the news media collectively ignored that since "not knowing" doesn't make a good story, and doesn't, as Karl Ravech at ESPN said, "advance the story". There was even something as preposterous as Jay Bilas, an ESPN basketball analyst saying, " a 60 year old man was in a shower with a ten year old boy. That's all you have to know". Really? Grandfathers and fathers who have had children late in life, beware if Jay Bilas comes to your town.
The witch hunting has gotten so out of control that Franco Harris, one of the few to stand up and defend Paterno was himself fired as a spokesman for the Meadows race track and casino, specifically because of his defense of Paterno. This what happens with fascists when someone dares to speak out about something in opposition to the party line.
But another fact has emerged which makes the journalistic mob look even worse than before, a fact that has been conveniently glossed over by the news media for the obvious self-serving reasons.
In response to news reports of McQueary's claim that he did go to the police, the local police chief pointed out that while they have no record of McQuery filing a report with them, McQueary wouldn't have gone to them in the first place for the simple reason that, as the police chief pointed out in his statement, the local police have no jurisdiction over a crime that occurs on the Penn State campus. That,as the police chief pointed out, is the sole jurisdiction of the Penn State Campus Police.
The significance of this is crucial because if the only police agency with jurisdiction over what McQueary witnessed was the Penn State Campus police then Paterno did in fact do everything the moralizers said he didn't do. Gary Shultz was one of the Penn State administrators Paterno went to with whatever McQueary told him. Gary Shultz was the supervisor and overseer of the Penn State Campus Police.When it comes to reporting anything to the Penn State Campus Police, you couldn't get any higher than Shultz.He was, in effect, the chief of Penn State campus police.
Based on this fact and this reality, Paterno did exactly what all the self serving moralizers said he should have done and in fact, there was NO police agency other than the Penn State campus police who had jurisdiction and no other police agency Paterno should have gone to.
This is what happens when ignorant people convinced of all their own self-righteous beliefs but ignorant of facts band together in a mindless mob and go on a rampage.This is what the news media were and continue to be regarding Joe Paterno.
Members of the media like Sean Gregory of Time Magazine and Andy Staples of Sports Illustrated and any number of commentators at ESPN, the Daily News, and other media outlets, all wrote or commented that Paterno knew a 10 year old boy was raped in the showers and only reported it to Curley and Shultz and so shirked his responsibilities when we now know that reporting it to the campus police was fulfilling ALL of Paterno's legal and moral responsibilities. Maybe these ignorant journalists don't think the Penn State campus police are real police. Maybe they'd like to say that to the faces of the Penn State campus police who were in full riot gear the night of the protests, and had tear gas and firearms at their disposal if needed. Penn State has 80,000 students stretched over campuses state wide with the biggest population at the Happy Valley campus. It is a small city. The Penn State campus police are as real and have as much authority as any police anywhere in any jurisdiction. So now the lie that Paterno didnt do enough by only going to the head of campus police can be put to rest.
But as everyone knows, the biggest lie that Sean Gregory and others tell is that Paterno knew a 10 year old boy was being raped in spite of the fact that Paterno himself said he was never told that by McQueary.
Based on all the known facts, Joe Paterno could sue for libel for that reporting. And he should. The case is so open and shut it would never get to court. The media outlets Paterno could sue wouldn't let it. Instead there would be out of court settlements for millions with the stipulation that Paterno never talk about it. Why? Because the news media wants to preserve their -uh - reputations.
Of course there are those in the media, and small minority outside the media that believe that Paterno just had to know the specifics of what on. They have no proof but they say it anyway. So what did McQueary actually tell Paterno? We don't know.And neither does one single journalist anywhere. But here is something we do know.
Just a few days ago, the Citadel, a military college in South Carolina revealed they had something of a child abuse scandal of their own. In reporting the story a CNN reporter wrote:
"In 2007, the college received an allegation that five years earlier, ReVille invited two campers at The Citadel Summer Camp into his room to watch pornography. They did not touch each other, but engaged in sexual activity."
Kind of missing in specifics isn't it. The reporter doesn't say what sexual activity or how they engaged in sexual activity without touching each other. Was it an out of body experience? Acrobatics? Mind over matter?
Most people are smart enough to figure out for themselves that what this journalist so awkwardly and cryptically is trying to say is, in all probability they engaged in some kind of group masturbation. The reporter could have said so in so many words. He could have been specific. They didn't.
So an experienced reporter writing for CNN could not make a simple declarative statement about the specifics of a sexual event that took place, even with time to reflect and to get the words right and even with the help from an alleged editor,and over an event with which they had no personal involvement. Yet we are supposed to believe McQuery gave 84 year old football coach Joe Paterno specifics when an experienced reporter with all the time in the world to reflect, couldn't.The irony is, that even if McQueary did tell Paterno all the specifics ( something Paterno and McQueary deny) Paterno did everything he could have and should have done in reporting it. There is no other police agency Paterno could have or should have gone other than the head of Penn State campus police, Gary Shultz. And he and McQueary did. What Shultz did or did not do at that point is none of Paterno's responsibility. Period.
It is not in Joe Paterno's DNA to sue. He has always avoided the limelight and personal publicity and he doesn't need the money. But there are many reasons of principle Paterno should sue certain journalists and media outlets for libel and defamation, not the least of which is that its a law suit Paterno could not lose and would mete out well deserved justice to the news media. After all isn't justice what the news media has been clamoring about?
The legal definition of libel, which in many cases is hard to prove especially in cases involving celebrities or public figures, fits what happened to Paterno like a glove.
Two important elements must be proved. One, that the person making the libelous statements knew the statements were not true ,and two, that the person making the libelous statements knew they would injure and harm the person they were making the statements about. Two elements that in Paterno's case could be proved so easily the media outlets being sued would settle almost immediately. And as part of the settlement Paterno could demand a public apology.
One target would be Sean Gregory and Time Magazine. Gregory in print and in so many words stated that "Paterno knew a 10 year old boy was raped in the showers at Penn State and didn't report it to the authorities". No number of lawyers at Time could defend the double fabrication by Sean Gregory.
Similar statements about Paterno knowing about a boy being sexually molested were made by Andy Staples at Sports Illustrated, numerous commentators at ESPN including Stuart Scott, Jay Bilas, and others. All statements made at a time when they nor anyone else had one shred of proof that Paterno knew what they say he knew. And if true justice were to prevail, Gregory,his editor and many other so called journalists would lose their jobs for their fabricated, dishonest, and factually challenged reporting.
It is a virtual certainty media outlets like ESPN, Time Magazine and others whose journalists who defamed and libeled Paterno would settle out of court rather than risk having a jury speak and probably award many millions more than what they could settle for. And Paterno, once they agreed to settle, could donate all the money to worthy children's charities. The purpose of the libel suits would be principle and a principle worth suing over, but the money Paterno would get would also do a lot of good for a lot of charities and help a lot of children and in the end that would be justice too since it was in defense of children that the media justified its smearing and libeling of Joe Paterno.
In all probability Paterno wont sue. Certainly if Paterno was actually guilty of what those in the mob said he was guilty of, Paterno's firing and everything that happened subsequently would be appropriate. But Paterno from the first day said otherwise, said he didn't know the details or ANY, specifics of what McQuery saw and reported what McQueary told him, as he was supposed to, legally and morally to his superior, the AD and in effect, the chief of Penn State campus police, the police agency with sole jurisdiction.
Paterno should sue for libel. Not only to defend his name but to mete out justice and punishment to those who trample the civil rights of others so effortlessly for their own self aggrandizement because they think they can and get away with it and in the process do tremendous damage, as all mobs do, solely because of their stupidity and ignorance.
Paterno won't sue. But he should.
UPDATE: We can now add a writer named Jemele Hill to the list of the sanctimonious and factually challenged and dishonest sportswriters, who, if standards of fact meant anything in journalism would lose her job as well. Writing for ESPN on Nov. 22, Hill wrote a peice about all the negative email she has received because of the story she wrote attacking Paterno. Hill wrote in her Nov 22 peice, " I anticipated that since the story is centered on his (Paterno's) knowledge of and reaction to the alleged sexual abuse of children".
Notice how she treats Paterno's "knowledge of sexual abuse of children" as fact when we know that Hill hasnt got a shred of evidence to back that up. But even more bizarre is that Hill calls the actual sexual abuse "alleged". In her mind Paterno's knowledge of the abuse is fact but the abuse itself is only "alleged". This is either ESPN's legal guidelines telling her to use the word "alleged" to protect them from being sued by Sandusky if he ever got an acquital, or Hill's own twisted point of view. But in attacking Paterno the sexual abuse is "alleged" but Paterno's knowledge of the abuse is fact.
Also somehow in Hill's journalistic fantasy world. the boy that McQueary witnessed with Sandusky in the shower has now become many and many instances.. In Jemele Hill's world Paterno not only knew of child sexual abuse with Sandusky at Penn State( that maybe didnt really happen) and did nothing about it, but Paterno's known about other cases of sexual abuse with other children and did nothing about that either.
Without a single fact or a shred of evidence to back it up. Or even the suggestion of any evidence.