Politics, current events and the failures of the mainstream news media.
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Dr. Jonathan Dranov puts final nail in media coffin regarding Joe Paterno.
No one knows if Joe Paterno will sue Sean Gregory, Time Magazine, Jason Whitlock at Foxsports.com, Jemele Hill, the Philadelphia Daily News and almost every commentator covering college football at ESPN for libel and defamation. Money wouldn't be the motive. All the money could be donated to children's causes and scholarships to the Penn State School of Journalism for any journalism student signing a pledge to not become an incompetent, mob-brained idiot when they go out into the real world. But if Joe Paterno had an open and shut case before against the news media (and he did), that case is now sealed shut completely against the media.
The last nail in the news media's coffin was hammered in a few days ago by Dr. Jonathan Dranov, a family friend of Mike McQueary who also testified in front of the grand jury.
Most people following the events at Penn State already know that Dr. Dranov stated publicly and in his grand jury testimony, that Mike McQueary gave him a totally different account of what he saw in the showers at Penn State than what he testified to in his grand jury testimony.
According to Dr. Dranov, McQueary told him that as he approached the showers, he "heard the shower running" and saw a young boy poke his head out around the corner of the stall, then saw a male adult arm pull the boy back. He then says he saw Sandusky wrapped in a towel leave the shower with the boy.
Dr. Dranov testified to the grand jury that he asked McQueary three times if he had seen any sexual activity between the boy and Sandusky and all three times McQueary answered "no".
Based on McQueary's answers Dr. Dranov advised him not to go to the police but to report what he saw to Joe Paterno. For the record the Philadelphia Daily News has not run a picture of Dr. Dranov on the front page with the word "Shame". And Jay Bilas at ESPN has not demanded that Dr. Dranov lose his license for "failing to do enough". And I have not heard Stuart Scott on ESPN say of Dr. Dranov, "doesn't he get it"?
While Joe Paterno said from the beginning that he was never told any of the things by McQueary that McQueary told the grand jury, Paterno was not given the opportunity to say exactly what he was told. Penn State canceled Paterno's press conference where he was going to tell what he knew.
Without knowing what McQueary told him but knowing that Paterno had said he wasn't told details or specifics of what McQueary saw, the press simply invented and fabricated what Paterno knew, or just as bad, assumed it, then accused Paterno of not "reporting it" or "doing enough" based on their fabrications, and demanded he be dismissed because of it.
Now with Dr. Dranov's statement, it is a certainty that McQueary never told Paterno anything more in substance than he told Dr. Dranov. If Dr. Dranov advised him to go to Paterno and not the police based on what McQueary told him, it is not possible that in going to Paterno he would have given him a different and more specific account of what he saw.
Dr. Dranov's statement and grand jury testimony makes a few more things clear as well for those too factually and logically challenged to have not seen this from the beginning: Mike McQueary, as Joe Paterno said in his first statement never told him anything about any sexual contact involving Sandusky and a young boy and it's clear from what McQueary told Dr. Dranov, that he was much too uncomfortable to give anyone, Dr. Dranov or Joe Paterno, the whole story about what he had seen. Until he testified to the grand jury.
McQueary's grand jury account is undoubtedly the correct account. It is highly unlikely McQueary would have fabricated what he saw to a grand jury. But now, for those who foolishly swallowed the initial press accounts and believed what they read and heard and not Joe Paterno, there is corroborating evidence that McQueary did not relay exactly what he saw, or thought he saw, whether to Dr. Dranov or Joe Paterno.
What impact it will have on the legal proceedings involving Curley and Schultz remain to be seen. If they were told the same thing by McQueary that he told Paterno and Dranov, it will be hard to prosecute someone for not reporting a crime they were never told about in the first place.
But as it relates to Joe Paterno, and those who unthinkly swallowed the nonsense the media was peddlng there is a lot of soul searching that needs to be done, though its always hard for people to admit they were made fools of. And among those that need to do the soul searching are the Penn State trustees and two U.S. senators from Pennsylvania.
Paterno was the media cash cow in all this. His name and picture were seen more than twice as much as Jerry Sandusky's. He became the story and all as a result of of incompetence, dishonesty and greed and of course the phony facade of protecting children if you dont think it was phony try finding a media outlet demanding the resignation of the Pope over the institutional child abuse committed by priests with the knowledge of the Pope and other higher ups in the church heirarchy.)
As has been said here before, this is bigger than Joe Paterno. The country is poorer because of a news media with no journalistic standards, populated by incompetents on every level and motivated by nothing except profits and self interest. Which makes these journalists, the way they practice journalism, and those who believe what they sell a real threat to democracy and American values. In other countries in other times it was called propaganda. And it was very effective.
In Joe Paterno's case we saw journalists like Sean Gregory at Time magazine, Jason Whitlock, Jemele Hill and others report as fact things they knew for a fact they didn't know, and then pontificate about these things, for the sake of a big story as if they inhabited some delusional moral high ground. This time it was Joe Paterno who suffered the temporary consequences. But unless something is done about the media we will all suffer greater consequences. In fact a case can be made that just about all the problems the country has now and has had for the last 15 years can be traced to a news media too incompetent and too cowardly to do the job the Founders envisioned for the news media when they wrote the first amendment. Because the media will not hold politicans accountable for anything if they think it's not in their self interest.and when it comes to government accountablity, self interest for the media is money and access. And they wont endanger either one. For anything.
Committing immoral acts in the name of morality is nothing new. It's what mobs do whether its the Salem Witch Trials or the modern day news media. The media do it all the time. They did it to Richard Jewel in 1996 when without a shred of evidence, labeled him the Olympic Bomber and made his life hell for three months. Jewel ended up suing and settled out of court for tens of millions from NBC, Tom Brokaw, CNN, the Atlanta Constitution and others. But it didnt solve the bigger problem.
The bigger problem is the media's lack of standards which is on display every day whether its politics or policy or "scandals" that arent really scandals. They will inflate anything they think will bring in a bigger audience and generate more revenue even if they have to diminsh and set aside the things that really matter. They are afraid to report the truth about anything if they think it will cause a backlash that will hurt their bottom line. But they will lie and distort if they think it will make money and they can get away with it. And with the lies they told about Joe Paterno, they believed, in their uniquely sanctimonious way, they could get away with it
The out of control, dishonest media frenzy involving Joe Paterno was as much an abuse of the first amendment as Sandusky's alleged abuse of children. And just as vile. And unfortunately for the country a lot more frequent. But maybe this time, if enough people get angry, it will be time for some real accountablity for the news media and there will be demands that wrongs and injustices be made right.
A libel and defamation suit by Joe Paterno against certain news outlets would be absolutely patriotic. But that is solely for Joe Paterno and his family and his lawyers to decide. But there are other things people can do if they are outraged enough to demand accountability. And there will be more to say about what those things might be, in the future.
UPDATE 11:32 p.m. 12/15/2011. Finally there is some specificity to what Joe Paterno was told by Mike McQueary and what Paterno's reaction was and what he did. Paterno's previously sealed grand jury testimony was read along with testimony from the stand by Mike McQueary about what he had told Paterno. And in all cases it convicts the mainstream news media of the gross abuse, lying, incompetence, dishonesty and distortion they displayed from the beginning when they not only didnt know the facts of what Paterno knew and what he did, they knew they didnt know the facts and fabricated lies anyway.
According to the Sporting News account of what happened in the hearing for Curley and Schultz, "McQueary testified on Friday that he did not go into graphic detail with Paterno about what he had witnessed out of respect for Paterno". This jibes with Paterno's first and only public statement that he was never told any of the things McQueary told the grand jury about what he saw.
According to Paterno's grand jury testimony Paterno took what he thought was the appropriate action when he told Curley.
“I figured Tim would handle it appropriately,” Paterno told the grand jury. He added: “I didn’t push Mike…because he was very upset. I knew Mike was upset, and I knew some kind of inappropriate action was being taken by Jerry Sandusky with a youngster. Monday, I talked to my boss, Tim Curley, by phone, saying, 'Hey we got a problem' and I explained the problem to him,"
Eventually Paterno did meet with Schultz the overseer of the Penn State police with McQueary present.
So now we can substantiate the only facts that had been out there from the beginning, facts which the mass media ignored. McQueary made it clear that he did not go into graphic detail about what he had seen in the shower. Paterno made clear that he knew that McQueary felt "some kind of inappropriate action" had taken place with Sandusky and a boy.
Paterno called his boss, Tim Curley to tell him what he knew on Monday after he met with McQueary. In one of the most spectacular displays of hypocrisy ever seen, ESPN, one of the loudest voices in criticizing Paterno for "not doing enough", had an audiotape containing admisssions of child sexual abuse related to Bernie Fine and did nothing, called no one, reported it to no one, alerted no one, and never even revealed the existance of the tape for ten years.
Sean Gregory's lie in Time magazine in early November that "Joe Paterno knew a ten year old boy was anally raped in a shower and didnt report it" when he had not a shred of evidence or testimony to support it, speaks for itself.
McQueary's statements on the witness stand involving his own activity, badly damage his credibility as I point out in a response in the comments section since he contradicts himself repeatedly.
What the testimony of Paterno and McQueary will mean to Curley and Schultz at trial remains to be seen. But it convicts the mainstream media on all counts of lying, distorting, and sanctimonious self-serving incompetence What remains to be seen is exactly what the sentence against the media will be. For those who still want to swallow whole the nonsense they push, it will probably be intellectual diabetes.
UPDATED: 12/21/2011: WHAT BOBBY BOWDEN SAYS HE WOULD HAVE DONE
Former Florida State head coach Bobby Bowden decided, for reasons known only to him, to once again weigh in on Joe Paterno and the results are both headshakingly funny and mind numblingly dumb by both Bowden and the media. Both Bowden and the media characterized Bowden's remarks as "how Bowden would have handled the Sandusky matter differently".
Here is what Bowden said:
“I’ve tried to think what I would do,” Bowden said, “if one of my coaches had come to me and told me what happened. I would have gone to that guy (Sandusky), asked him if it was true and I would have told him to get away from here and don’t EVER come back. And then I would have gone to the police. I think that’s what I would have done.”
Wait a second. Aside from the utter waste of time of going to Sandusky "to ask if it were true" isnt this exactly what Joe Paterno did? How is this Bowden "handling it differently"? Instead of wasting his time going to Sandusky Paterno went to Tim Curley the Penn State AD and the upshot was Curley made sure Sandusky was no longer allowed on Penn State grounds. And then Paterno went to Gary Schultz administrative head of Penn State campus police, the law enforcement agency with jurisdication.
Aside from Bowden's useless histronicis of telling Sandusky to never darken his door again, Paterno did pretty much what Bowden said he'd do only, just like on the football field, Paterno did it a little better.
Unfortunately the radio hosts were too busy fawning over Bowden to pretend they were actual journalists so they never asked Bowden what he would have done in his fantasy if , when he asked Sandusky if it were true, Sandusky had denied it. Which is why its always a good idea for people to keep their noses out of other people's business and not pass judgement when they arent standing in the same shoes. Bowden calling what he would do "handling it differently" is not just laughable but embarrassing epecially since his fantasy is predicated on Sandusky doubling over in contrition and confessing all so that Bowden can deliver his exit line. Bowden sounded like he was having the kind of fantasy people have of telling off their bosses.
Only a news media both morally and journalistically bankrupt, and so dumb its painful, could have characterized what Bowden said as "doing it differently". And given Bowden's statement of what he would have done compared to what Paterno actually did, and the media's subsequent treatment of Paterno, one can only wait and see if the Philadephia Daily News will put Bowden's picture on the front page with the word "Shame". Not likely but the list of people who deserve it is growing.