Is Deadspin's Third Hit Piece on John Ziegler a Sign of Progress?

Yesterday, Deadspin, the website which played a very significant role in changing the focus of the Jerry Sandusky to Joe Paterno, did their third "hit piece" on me in the last four months. I wish to share a few thoughts about this development so as to give you some insight on what is really going on here.

The first attack piece came just after I went on the Today Show to discuss my interview with Sandusky. It was nothing short of a character assassination, one which I actually predicted several days before it happened and on the Today Show itself.

The second came a couple of days later after our website had been hit with a DOS attack which temporarially prevented us from fully scrubbing some minor, unintentional, revelations about Victim 2. That piece hilariously focused on how, in the middle of the chaos, and not knowing what was really going on, I tweeted that we had been "hacked," rather than hit with a DOS attack (which was something at the time that I had never even heard of before). Despite the fact that I have provided unimpeachable proof of the DOS attack, they still decided that this somehow meant that I was a liar (I took great pride in the fact that if that was the best they could come up with to claim that, then they must really be desperate).

The third hit piece was on my just released book, "The Betrayal of Joe Paterno." The story of course took many personal shots at me and purposely left out critical pieces of information. It also purposely distorted (as most of the media has done) the interview that I released from Joe Paterno with the attorney general's office just before the story broke. Instead of focusing on the obvious (to everyone not in the media) reality that the interview proves that Paterno was not in the loop on the final decision and that Louis Freeh purposely withheld this evidence from his report, they tried to blindly claim that Paterno's use of the word "sex" was all that mattered.

What is most interesting about these three hit pieces is that they are all from a writer, Dom Cosentino, with whom I have quite a history. I have easily exchanged well over 100 emails with him over the past year (many during my vacation in Yosemite last year) and spoken to him on the phone many times. And yet he did not contact me to ask me even ONE question before ANY of the three hatchet jobs he did on me (he did do an email interview with me many months before Sandusky which was not published because I realized what was happening and posted it myself).

Even more amazing/important than that is the fact that Dom called me one night a couple of days after a court filing by the attorneys for Tim Curley and Gary Schultz. He was breathlessly excited because he had convinced himself that the filling meant that Gary Schultz had finally "flipped" on Tim Curley and that the cover-up was going to be revealed. At the time I still thought that Dom was somewhat credible and I made the mistake of calling Scott Paterno to see what this was all about. Sure enough, Scott told me, in only the way that Scott can, that Dom's take was total BS and that I shouldn't worry about it.

Dom, of course, was so eager for a "flip" because he is smart enough to realize that, especially in these specific circumstances, there HAS to be one for the cover-up to be real. Tellingly, Dom has never written about the significance that there has been no "flip" (even when Graham Spanier was illogically added to the indictment mix). The reason for this is because he can't come up with a way to explain why this hasn't happened. Mostly because their simply isn't one. Importantly, despite what I am sure was his best efforts, he also couldn't find anything in my book which he could claim was untruthful.

The bottom line on this is that Deadspin is run by kids who have no interest at all in actual journalism or fairness. It is all about looking cool to their ignorant fan base and getting easy page views. Unfortunately, they are an even more flawed version of the mainstream media (on steroids) and it appears to me that they are pulling everyone else in the media in their direction. Not only are the journalistic rules no longer adhered to, there simply are no rules any more.

I also see all of this as an excellent sign that the other side is worried. For someone like Dom, who has been so delusionally confident in the guilt of Paterno/Penn State, to feel the need to do three baseless hit pieces on a non-celebrity like me, it may be the greatest indication of the progress that we have made and how likely our ultimate vindication really is.