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The Real Stories of Victims 1 & 2 Reveal the Absurdity of the Media's Case Against Paterno

In a rational world, the numerous revelations in Jerry Sandusky scandal of the past week or so would have been headline news because the entire media narrative created against Joe Paterno would have been reported as dramatically collapsing. If the media was remotely fair or cared about actual facts, there would already be numerous apologies and calls for the Paterno statue to be restored to a place of honor.

In case you missed it (thanks to the media blackout it would be very easy for you to have done so), here is a quick review.

The prosecution in the Sandusky case has now acknowledged in court that Victim 2 (from the Mike McQueary episode) is “unidentified.” Essentially they are saying that they knew the person claiming to be Victim 2 existed all along, but they didn’t call him to testify because he didn’t back up McQueary’s version of events. They would now rather claim that this victim is lying (something usually not allowed in this story under the laws of political correctness) and have there be no victim at all, than to have this particular alleged victim be the actual “10 year old boy in the shower.”

Victim 2’s own lawyers, in response to Gary Schultz’s lawyer saying the current Victim 2 is not credible, acknowledged that, just as Sandusky attorney Joe Amendola said almost a year ago, Victim 2 has gone on record saying that nothing sexual happened in the shower that night.

Victim 1 (the one whose allegations began the final grand jury investigation) released a book and did his first interview with ABC’s 20/20. As part of that program, ABC News went after the school administrators who first knew about the charges but who proactively told the boy and his mother that their charges were not true. Incredibly, these administrators are NOT from Penn State, but rather from Victim 1’s high school. There was no mention at all, from him or his mother, of Penn State or Joe Paterno being culpable and it is implied in ABC's report that the family still has a Penn State flag hanging from their porch.

Finally, Victim 1 has done a local interview and flat out said that he does NOT blame Penn State at all for what happened to him. It appears that his mother concurs in this assessment (though it is difficult to know for sure since ABC didn’t appear to ask her about this, though I have a strong suspicion that they did indeed ask and just didn’t like the answer they got).

This last point is incredibly important because a HUGE weapon which was used by the media to shift the narrative away from the ratings death of Jerry Sandusky and towards the ratings bonanza of Joe Paterno in that fateful first full week of November 2011 was the blatant misrepresentation of the situation with regard to Victim 1 and his mother.

Over the past couple of days, I have been watching hour after hour of ESPN’s coverage from that those first few days as research for our proposed documentary on this controversy. By far the biggest story of the morning of November 8th (the key date in the entire affair as that was when Paterno’s press conference was suddenly canceled, apparently by BOT member John Surma,  beginning the dramatic domino effect leading to where we are today) was an article by, you guessed it, Sara Ganim, which had the very striking headline, “Mothers of Two of Jerry Sandusky’s Alleged Victims Lash Out At Penn State Officials Handling of Scandal.”

The article’s premise that the moms of two victims (one of which was the mother of Victim 1) were speaking out strongly against Penn State was repeated numerous times on ESPN and “Penn State Officials” was expanded to somehow include Joe Paterno. There was just one little problem with this story: it wasn’t really true.

It seems very clear here that a very poor/biased headline was all anyone at ESPN bothered to read because when you actually peruse the article itself, it is obvious that there is absolutely no way to justify their comments as coming close to specifically condemning Paterno (ironically, Ganim has just written an article about Victim 1's mom, Dawn Daniels protesting against.... her son's old HIGH SCHOOL) .

First of all, Paterno’s name is only actually mentioned once by only one of the mothers (the mother of Victim 6, the 1998 victim). The mother of victim 1 is clearly more upset at the officials at Central Mountain High School (who, bizarrely, were initially praised by both the Attorney General and Sports Illustrated) than at Penn State. This interpretation of her comments is further backed up by an incredibly similar story (which also blames Penn State in the headline but then doesn’t back that up in the actual article) in the Huffington Post where it is very apparent, well before here son just confirmed it on TV, that the real culprits in minds of the family of Victim 1 were NOT at Penn State.

It should also be pointed out that while the mother of Victim 6 clearly was indeed irate at Penn State officials (mostly at McQueary, with Paterno almost an afterthought), it is doubtful that she had nearly all the information at that time which casts the blame for that failure far more on law enforcement than on Penn State. It is also important to note that ESPN used her comments about what McQueary allegedly saw so that the viewers were left with the impression that the 1998 allegation also involved rape (something STILL being misreported, even after the reporter apologized to me for it on Twitter, by Sports Illustrated) and that Sandusky had “admitted it” to her, which it most certainly not what really happened.

The bottom line here is that ESPN (mostly through reporter Tom Rinaldi, who is actually very friendly with the Paterno family) gave the misimpression that two mothers were blaming Penn State and Joe Paterno for their sons being raped and that just wasn’t true. This was a critical development in shifting the momentum of the story just before Paterno’s press conference was canceled and then all hell broke loose. I have texted Rinaldi twice to ask him about his reporting which created this misimpression, but, shockingly, I have not gotten a response.

While most of the media has been silent when it comes to all of these extraordinary developments, by far the most amusing reports have come from the same family of tabloid websites.

The first article, by the ardently anti Paterno/Penn State sports website Deadspin (written by a reporter with whom I have exchanged at least 200 emails and a dozen phone calls since this whole thing began), laughably attempts to claim that all that has recently transpired with Victim 2 is just so darn confusing that no one can figure out what is really going on. Their headline absurdly declares “No One Can Agree on Anything about the Man Who Says He is Jerry Sandusky’s Penn State Shower Victim.”

First of all, NO ONE has ever publicly claimed that Victim 2 said he was abused by Sandusky the night McQueary saw him in the shower, so the use of the words “shower victim” are not accurate. But more importantly, as I emailed the reporter (with no response) there ARE very important things that EVERYONE agrees on with regard to Victim 2.

The reality is that Joe Amendola, an FBI-trained investigator, the prosecution, Gary Schultz’s attorney, and Victim 2’s attorneys ALL agree that the person claiming to be the “10 year old boy in the shower” has said, on the record, after the indictments, that he was NOT abused by Sandusky that night. All of these parties also appear to agree that the prosecution knew about his existence all along and never called him to testify because they didn’t like his story.

In a world where truth mattered, that would be a huge news story. Instead, Deadspin simply tries to pretend that this is all so confusing that we should all just move along and not try and figure it all out (after all, we might have to revisit all of our tidy conclusions about this case which made us all so much money over the last year).

Then, after the ABC 20/20 story on Victim 1, Deadspin’s sister site Gawker actually had the audacity to mock ABC’s reporter Chris Cuomo for engaging in “gotcha journalism” by chasing after the former football coach and the principal of the high school where Victim 1’s stories of abuse were initially not believed.

Let me get this straight, the entire media industrial complex spends months gleefully crucifying Joe Paterno and no one raises a finger to say that maybe we’re going overboard here. Then when the two people the mother of victim 1 blames most for allowing what happened to her son to occur finally get asked a couple of questions, that is criticized as media excess? What planet are we on here?

Eventually someone in the mainstream news media is going to stop treating bombshells like sparks in the daylight and start putting all of these pieces together. In the meantime, we will continue to do our best to set the record straight.