Friday, July 12, 2013

Lack of media coverage of archdiocese documents confirms news media deceit in attacks on Joe Paterno.


 On July 1, pursuant to a judge's court order as part of a bankruptcy settlement over law suits against the Milwaukee archdiocese by victims of church child sexual abuse,the archdiocese released a trove of previously secret documents that chronicled in great detail and specificity the wide spread, persistent and rampant child sexual abuse committed priest by  priest with the full knowledge of church hierarchy that according to the documents, span more than 80 years.

This comes on the heels of over 30,000 pages of church documents from the Los Angeles archdiocese also  released by court order, describing sexual abuse of children covered up and allowed to continue according the documents, since 1940.

The Milwaukee documents, like those in Los Angeles chronicle horrific and sordid detailed descriptions of child abuse including sodomy and rape that the church hierarchy  knew about and did nothing to stop, or to remove or punish the priests involved.

But there is one thing we haven't heard regarding these documents and the disclosures they contain and that is, there has not been so much as a word from the major news media outlets about these documents, their horrific contents or the gross and even criminal negligence of those who failed to  report or stop the abuse.  No headlines. No major news stories leading TV broadcasts on cable or network TV news. No outrage. No details. No pontificating. No fist banging. None of the usual suspects who show up on cable news shows to display their confusion over controversial issues. And no full page front page pictures in the Philadelphia Daily News with the word "Shame" across the top. As far as the news coverage was concerned, it's as if it didn't happen.

Compare that to the wall to wall 24 hour a day  national media coverage that went on day after day for more than a month  (which according to Pew Research made it the biggest news story in the country for three straight weeks)  attacking  Penn State football coach  Joe Paterno who "only" reported something he was told second hand about a vague and unsubstantiated report of something that went on in a Penn State shower that made Mike McQueary uncomfortable, to Paterno's superior, Penn State Athletic director Tim Curley as per Penn State protocols, and head of Penn State campus police, Gary Schultz. And Paterno did it within 24 hours.

As the facts show, Joe Paterno did more within 24 hours to report suspected claims of potential abuse than every member of the church  who knew about actual abuse in Milwaukee,(and elsewhere) over a span of at least 80 years. Because for 80 years or more,  they did nothing.  But  it was Paterno who recieved all the coverage, who was  the focus of the news media, supposedly for, in the media's headline grabbing justification, "not doing enough" .

 Which simply confirms again what  should have been obvious at the time and what is obvious now about almost everyone in what has become a virtually worthless domestic news media -- that the journalists and their editors who attacked Joe Paterno didnt care a whit about child abuse or protecting children and were simply a self serving mindless media mob, more interested in self promotion, self aggrandizement and even more than that,  generating the kind of revenue brought in by the Paterno  name in the form of ratings, newsstand sales and web hits which increase ad revenue.  That's what really mattered then, and all that matters and governs what they report now. All they're really interested in, no matter what the story  is what's in it for them. 

The documented instances of child sexual abuse by priests that were allowed to continue in the  Milwaukee archdiocese shows a degree of negligence and callousness that is breathtaking in its scope. Just as breathtaking is how completely the news media has ignored it.

The reasons are many. What drives journalists today for the most part is  fear and cowardice when it comes to dealing with power and/or subjects that carry with it the possibility of reprisals or consequences.  The first thing they want to know in reporting on anything is what's the safest way for them to do it. Then you have the combination of  their own mediocrity coupled with ambition and a desire to make themselves look good, as if they were champions of something, in this case child abuse, when the only thing they really champion are themselves.  Last but not least there is greed.

There's not  been a word from the most outspoken of those who attacked Paterno for "not doing enough", people like Stuart Scott, Jay Bilas, Jonette Howard, Jemele Hill, Gene Wojciechowski  all at ESPN, or Sean Gregory at Time magazine and Roland Martin of CNN, who called Paterno a coward after pretending to read the Freeh Report but who never had a thing to say about child abuse in his life along with most other journalists who, especially Wojciechowski, disparaged not only Paterno but Penn State campus police as not being "real"police which in turn led to their attacks on Paterno which they justified  for "only" reporting it to the head of campus police which in their eyes, wasn't really reporting it at all. All of them were factually challenged, misrepresented facts and evidence, behaved like a collection of trained seals and rolled over and played dead for authority figures, yet said nothing about the Milwaukee documents or the conduct of those in the church who knew and did nothing.

Because Paterno is who he is, and because his name and likeness sold newspapers, jacked up ratings and created web hits all of which meant increased ad revenue for a news media dying on the vine in terms of ratings, credibility and revenue, Paterno became a cash cow for a news media badly in need of  the spike in revenue and who also saw this as a chance to make themselves look like moral crusaders despite years, even decades of professional cowardice in almost all areas of journalism except for foreign correspondents.

How much was this really only about money? According to media statistics, Paterno's name and likeness were displayed at a ratio of 20-1 over that of Sandusky, the man actually accused and eventually convicted of abuse. The Philadelphia Daily News,before they even had any facts,  ran a full page picture of Paterno with the word "Shame". There was no "shame" treatment for William Lynn, the Philadelphia monsignor now doing 6 years in prison for burning a list of 34 pedophile priests on orders from Philadelphia cardinal Bevilaqua and never going to the police. And no "shame" treatment  for any of the priests, bishops and cardinals at the Milwaukee archdiocese for  committing and covering up 80 years of child sex abuse.

That Paterno did more in 24 hours to report even an unsubstantiated possibility of abuse of which there was no proof (and in the end, ironically  evidence showed did not occur, -- a jury acquitted Sandusky of the charge of sexual abuse in the Penn State shower while convicting him of 45 other counts)  than a succession of church officials did with thousands of cases of actual abuse,without a word from the news media about these documents and what they contained,  ( the number of allegations against the Milwaukee archdiocese alone is a staggering 8,000)  shows that the real shame, as usual, belongs to journalists and editors who used the horrors of child abuse and Joe Paterno's name, accomplishments, stature and reputation to further their own careers, to elevate themselves from their own mediocrity, to excuse all their past failures and cowardice for all the times they were and still are, too afraid to stand up for what was right if it carried any risk, and last, but for their editors and accountants certainly not least -- revenue.

For those who want to see what the news media has chosen to ignore  here is a link to the documents ordered released by the court on July1. 

NOTE: With the Paterno family announcing they are joining Penn State alumni, former players and others in a law suit against the NCAA for basing their sanctions on the Freeh Report, assuming the suit goes forward ( and there is no reason why it won't) it should be, given the facts, a virtual certainty that the plantiffs will win and the sanctions as they relate to the plantiffs will be vacated. If Vegas or sports books gives a price on it, I'd take it.

In addition Graham Spanier has filed a multi-million dollar defamation suit against Louis Freeh. If I were advising the Paterno family I'd advise they file their own defamation suit  against Freeh with the money going to charity since it's a suit they'd win easily.  And Freeh would have no choice but to go to court since an attempt to settle would be an admission that much of the report was a fabrication (as pointed out by former Attorney General Dick Thornburgh)  and it also wouldnt serve the purpose of getting the Freeh Report into a court of law where  it can  be destroyed along with the reputations of the journalists who believed it given there was not  a single factual basis or shred of proof to substantiate any of the accusations and conclusions in the Freeh Report against Paterno. 




rdk said...

And what a link it is! Thank you for providing this info.

Bob Campbell said...

If only the right people would read and understand what you have so well explained if would put an end to the the unsubstantiated garbage written about JoePa everyday.

HMCIV said...

I gasped when I saw the documents

Anonymous said...

"a jury acquitted Sandusky of the charge of sexual abuse in the Penn State shower while convicting him of 45 other counts"

The jury found Sandusky guilty of indecent assault, unlawful contact with minor, corruption of minors, and endangering a child's welfare in connection with the shower incident. The jury acquitted him of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse because McQueary never testified that he saw actual penetration. Is that your standard for "sexual abuse", i.e., actual penetration?


Anonymous said...

To blame the media and exonerate Joe Pa is just an excuse for poor behavior and decision making. If Joe Pa was a standup guy he would agree. His family needs to let it go too. You can not tell people how or what to think. Is some media driven, sure but it is what it is.