Lessons From 2013
I have often written about how differently the rest of the world sees the Sandusky scandal than those of us who have actually closely followed it. For everyone else, almost nothing significant happened in 2013 (unless you count Bill O'Brien jumping ship at the very last moment), and yet we actually learned an awful lot in this past year. In fact, I will always remember the year 2013 as the one in which we probably figured out what really happened in the Sandusky scandal, and yet almost no one cared.
In the big picture, I learned for sure in 2013 that our instincts were correct and that Joe Paterno and Penn State were in no significant way to blame for what happened and that there was certainly no overt cover up. However, I also learned this year that, thanks mostly to massive media malpractice, there is almost no chance of this truth ever being widely publicly accepted. Similarly, I will also remember 2013 as the year in which I did some of the best and most important work of my career, but also as the year in which I learned for certain that these very same efforts have essentially ended my chances of earning any sort of livelihood, at least for the foreseeable future.
Here, in no particular order, are some of the other significant things which I believe we learned related to this case in 2013:
That the identity and real story of the “victim” in the McQueary episode is VERY different than we were told and that it is highly unlikely that he was assaulted that night, or any other time, by Jerry Sandusky.
That neither Jerry Sandusky nor the boy had any idea that Mike McQueary was the witness to that episode and that McQueary was either lying or creating a false memory when he testified that he made eye contact with both of them (unless it is part of an unfathomable hoax by Victim 2 and Sandusky, this is the most underrated fact in the case).
That the most likely scenario is that McQueary changed his mind about what he thought he heard/saw, on two different occasions. The second time coming, just as his own December 2011 testimony strongly suggested, after investigators came to him and essentially asked him to help revive their fading case against Sandusky.
That major news media figures who make millions of dollars a year are apparently incapable of understanding the difference between defending Joe Paterno and defending Jerry Sandusky.
That Piers Morgan is an even bigger ass/idiot off the air than he is on it.
That it is possible to wave the amazing, previously unseen, statement from the "victim" in the McQueary episode on to major national television shows and (thanks largely to the efforts of Scott Paterno) not have even ONE mainstream news reporter contact me to find out more about it.
That Sara Ganim is a fraud who ducked going on CNN with me, then lied to me on Twitter about “never having considered it,” and then suddenly showed up on the show after me so that I couldn’t effectively confront her.
That it is possible for me to individually email every single member of the Pulitzer Prize jury which gave Ganim her award and prove to them that it was stipulated in court by the prosecution that she had actively solicited the mom of Victim 6 to help the prosecution find more victims, and not have even one of them return the email.
That even though Victim 2 made his name publicly known with letters to the editor defending Sandusky, that NBC needed to pay at least five lawyers to come in early and watch me like a hawk to make sure I didn’t say anything which would even remotely identify him (even thought there would have been nothing even slightly illegal or unethical about doing so).
That sex crimes expert Jim Clemente, who supported me divulging Victim 2’s name until the very last minute, is a liar concerned primarily with only his own professional status and who falsely claimed he had heard from Victim 2 through an intermediary in an effort to fool me into not saying the name. Jim then let me get crucified by the media when I publicly offered to speak to Victim 2 as we had mutually agreed to try to make happen. Overall, I learned that Jim is a fraud and not an expert on this specific case.
That only in my life could I make an honest mistake while trying to be super nice (removing Victim 2's name from the story I had been carefully planning for a month), have a massive DOS (Disruption Of Service) attack hit our website at that moment so I couldn't correct it right away, and then get crushed in the media and by even our some of our own supporters for doing so.
That sneaking an audio recording pen into a Pennsylvania “SuperMax” prison is a lot easier than I thought, but that super-gluing the cap to make sure it didn’t get discovered is a REALLY bad idea which will cost you a LOT of time, money, and aggravation.
That I can be dead right about the Steubenville case from the start (which the media concocted as a Penn State sequel) and the media will STILL blow it and almost nobody will notice or care.
That I am capable of enduring FAR more frustration and disappointment than I ever thought was possible.
That, thanks to Ray Blehar, it seems as if the infamous "janitor" episode which as used by Louis Freeh to demonize Penn State's "football culture," didn't even happen.
That there is almost no chance that Jerry Sandusky is the master manipulator, puppeteer, and sociopath which he would have to be for him to be the “monster” that the prosecution and media have made him out to be.
That, as much as you can learn about someone in a three-hour prison visit and a half-hour phone interview, that it may be possible to discern even more about them based on their reaction to the dissemination of that interview.
That TMZ will pay money for a letter from Jerry Sandusky in prison which says absolutely nothing, but when I release (for free) letters from him with significant information about the case, no one in the media even cares.
That it is possible to get so many letters from Jerry Sandusky in prison that you don't even know where they all are and your are pretty sure that your baby daughter destroyed one of them.
That Sandusky’s palpable disdain towards Paterno is not only totally inconsistent with a cover-up, but is actually rather consistent with the concept that he believes that Joe’s testimony gave far too much credibility to McQueary and therefore played huge role in sending him to prison.
That there is no possible way that Dottie Sandusky thinks that Jerry is a pedophile (and, keep in mind, for two of the key victims to be telling the truth, she has to be blatantly lying).
That if people knew just how weak and suspect the vast majority of the actual “evidence” against Sandusky really is (and how desperate the prosecution really was because of this) they would be completely shocked.
That a whole heck of a lot more people (especially close to the case) think that Sandusky might be some level of “innocent” than the public and the media would ever possibly believe.
That, thanks to his bizarre, profanity-laced, completely over-the-top reaction on the phone to me when he learned about my Sandusky interview, it is very clear to me that Scott Paterno’s concerns were far more focused on himself than on any political problems for his cause it may have theoretically caused. It is now very obvious to me that Scott views this cause as a political battle and he has no interest in the actual truth (based on how many grossly inaccurate things he has said about and to me personally, I am also very confident that it is exceedingly easy for Scott to get a story exceedingly wrong).
That it is quite possible and would explain an awful lot (including an apparent alliance between Scott and McQueary), if it was Scott Paterno who, in a fit of over-lawyering, “mis-refereshed” Joe Paterno’s recollection of his conversation with Mike McQueary to make sure his “client’s” testimony didn’t conflict with McQueary’s.
That the full interview Graham Spanier gave to ABC last year (which was recently released in its entirety) may be the worst example of media malpractice in the entire case and the best proof that Spanier is totally innocent.
That the Nittany Lion mascot can dress up like "suspected" pedophile Michael Jackson during a football game and no one even bothers to mention it, even though if they had worn a Joe Paterno costume there would have been firings and riots.
That, unless they are named Franco Harris (who may be the most loyal famous person in modern American history), the richer or more famous a Paterno supporter is, the more likely they are to be a complete coward on this story.
That gutlessness from among many of the “elite” Paterno supporters is probably the number one reason why this cause has not yet succeeded and likely never will.
That even Todd Blackledge, a good/smart/religious man who spoke at Paterno's memorial service, can know that the story was badly blown by the media and yet not even mention one word about it while broadcasting a Penn State blowout on national television.
That it is possible for Bob Costas to make a dramatic statement about Joe Paterno’s innocence on “The Tonight Show” (and even have Jay Leno agree) and have it be totally ignored by the rest of the media.
That it is possible for Frank Fina, the prosecutor in the Sandusky case, to shockingly say that Joe Paterno was not involved in a cover up and for the media outlet he told (CBS News/60 Minutes) to proactively spike their own news scoop.
That I could release an entire book for free, with the exclusive release of an interview Joe Paterno gave to the Attorney General’s office just before Sandusky’s arrest and the entire transcript of the most extensive interview ever done with Sandusky (not to mention likely cracking the case itself), and the media will mostly ignore it.
That dozens of articles can be written about a person (me), including one which actually claims to "get to know" me in the headline, and have almost none of the writers even bother to contact me for comment before they were published.
That every single one of our critics it too afraid to debate the facts even when I offer thousands of dollars to charity for them to do so and not one of them is remotely fluent in the facts of the case.
That, other than Bob Costas, there is not one mainstream news personality who has both a remotely open/active mind and even half a testicle.
That the media can be totally exposed as having bought into two huge and obviously false narratives (Manti Te’o and Lance Armstrong) and it will never even occur to them that the same thing might have happened in the Penn State case.
That even the Aaron Hernandez, Jameis Winston, Cleveland House of Horrors, and Boston Marathon Bombing cases can’t make any of the morons in the media see that it is possible for horrible things to go honestly undetected.
That the more “pro Paterno” a media member is behind the scenes, the bigger the coward they are about this story in public (I have had two significant media members admit to me, point blank, that they are afraid to express their true opinions about the case, or even give any credibility to mine, because of fear of harming their careers).
That Christine Brennan from USA Today actually thinks that because she has gotten a lot of praise for her Penn State work (from people without a clue) that this means that her opinions must therefore be correct or true.
That it is possible for the mother of Victim 6 (the originally "unfounded" 1998 episode), who was used by Sara Ganim in November of 2011 to illegitimately tie the case to Penn State and Joe Paterno, to attend the Penn State graduation of her daughter (the second child she sent to Penn State well after she claims Penn State let her son be molested) while her son is suing Penn State, have her post this photo on Facebook, and have no one notice.
That Victim 9 and Victim 5 can blatantly lie and dramatically change their stories for money (by more directly implicating Penn State and Joe Paterno) and no one in the media will care.
That, even if Sandusky is everything that is feared, there are many victims who are clearly lying (or at least greatly exaggerating) for money, and that the Penn State settlement system is a total sham and a disgrace.
That the “Pro-Paterno” Board of Trustees members who voted unanimously, and without any sort of objection, for the settlements were dead wrong and are seemingly gutless/useless.
That a student Board of Trustees member could be intimidated off of the Paterno lawsuit, and then basically brag about it publicly (who goes public with the fact that they are so gutless that they decided to give in to intimidation?!).
Franco Harris is a much better “blocker” in retirement than he ever was as a Hall of Fame player.
That PS4RS, which censored posts critical of those same board members, is also a fraud which has taken on many of the very same qualities which it was designed to combat.
That even if people you have worked closely with agree, in writing, to boycott the censorship of the PS4RS Facebook page, that they will cave within a couple of days without even bothering to tell you.
That Rodney Erickson is not an avid reader of FramingPaterno.com. He is remarkably naïve and rather cowardly. I also believe that he somehow thinks he had literally no other choice but to sign the NCAA consent decree.
That Penn State is willing to pay to have Buzz Bissinger tell lies about the scandal on one of its campuses, but would never dream of having an actual graduate (with real facts) like Franco Harris speak, even for free. Also, Bissinger looks REALLY bad in women’s lingerie and this cause has some of the most loyal supporters in the entire world.
That I can post a half-assed YouTube video about Tiger Woods taking a bad drop at a golf tournament and it will get more views (over 600,000) than all of the videos I have put together on the Sandusky story, combined.
That if Penn State somehow had 4-5 million graduates (and 2/3rds weren’t either stupid or afraid to admit that they were duped into throwing Joe Paterno under the bus) that the entire story would have turned out differently because national media outlets would have a commercial interest to tell the other (truthful) side of the story.
That the news media is dumber, less ethical, more ratings-driven, less substantive, and more incompetent than even I realized.
That the public is driven almost totally by emotion rather than logic and that most people, once they make up their mind, rarely change it, even after they get new facts.
That people, especially young people, are very fearful of being seen as politically incorrect and that fighting to correct an injustice isn’t worth the risk to most people.
That abject cowardice is rampant in our society, especially among men and in academia.
That the truth really doesn’t have much value to most people.
That most people at the heart of a saga are actually rather ignorant of the facts of that story which surrounds their lives.
That prosecutors and police are not always totally honest.
That most people have a horrible memory for things which may have happened ten years ago.
That, in a crisis, whoever tells the first story that the media wants to believe is true is going to set the narrative, which is everything.
That most people have a far more dramatic reaction to the words “child rape” than they do “child murder.”
That is it absolutely impossible to explain what really happened in this story in the short amount of time anyone will give you to do so.
That if you are not a huge celebrity it is suicidal to go up against the entire media industrial complex.
That it would be really tough for 2014 to be a worse year for the public acceptance of the truth than 2013 was.