Media Malpractice ("Happy Valley" Edition) Exhibit #2547: Filmmakers Go After John Ziegler

As I have tirelessly documented over the last three years, there has never never a story (at least in modern America) where the news media has simply tossed out all fairness and objectivity more than in the Sandusky/Paterno/Penn State story.

Numerous times I have been targeted myself in ways which stunned even me, the ultimate media cynic. Thankfully, I have developed Rhinoceros skin with an an asbestos coating and I now just tend to laugh at what the media morons do whenever I have have contact with them.

This is certainly the case with the latest example which is related to the release of the trashy and grossly inaccurate "documentary" 'Happy Valley" which was just released.

Hopefully you are aware that I put out a huge release before the film came out which included clips from the film itself. You can see that here:

Last night on my way to doing my radio talk show I got an email from a film critic asking me for comment on the film. Here, in reverse order, is that exchange. You will see in a moment that my skepticism was extremely well justified.

-----Original Message-----
From: John Ziegler <[email protected]>
To: Eric Kohn <[email protected]>
Sent: Sun, Nov 16, 2014 6:47 pm
Subject: Re: Comment for Happy Valley story


Thank you for your inquiry. I appreciate you at least reaching out, though judging from your questions you aren't really interested in the truth here but rather most likely looking to attack me. Regardless, it is my policy to answer all legitimate questions (even if they the wrong ones), so I will.
1) I was sent the film legally via an email from one of the producers which was forwarded to me by someone who knew that the film was trash and that I would be able to easily debunk it.
2) I am not technically the Sandusky family spokesperson and I am not paid by them or anyone else. Around the time Dottie Sandusky and I did our Today Show interview with Matt Lauer (my second with Lauer on this subject), I became an informal advisor to the family and I continue to advise them, especially on how to handle an extremely hostile and unfair news media.
3) As a documentary filmmaker who was in VERY close contact with the makers of Happy Valley (including the lead producer Jonathan Koch who, incredibly was once part of Sandusky's Second Mile charity but has inexplicably never divulged that publicly) during the start if their production, I am personally and professionally offended by just how obviously fraudulent this film is.
The film tries to split two separate narratives, neither if which are remotely true, which when put together make absolutely no sense.
People need to know that the film stars Matt Sandusky and Andrew Shubin who are clearly the biggest liars in the entire case and allows them to obviously and illegally defame Dottie Sandusky.
The great irony of the film is that it has almost all of the right ingredients to tell the real truth of this case, but thanks to ignorance, arrogance, cowardice and incompetence, they simply baked the wrong cake.
If you have further questions (you likely won't, though you should), I would be happy to answer them. No one knows this case as well as I do and I am POSITIVE this film blew it in nearly every possible way.
John Ziegler

Sent from my iPhone

On Nov 16, 2014, at 5:38 PM, Eric Kohn <[email protected]> wrote:
Hi John,

I am doing a story about HAPPY VALLEY in Indiewire this week and wondering if you could answer a few questions for me:

-How did you obtain a copy of the film that allowed you to release clips online?

-At what point did you become a spokesperson for the Sandusky family?

-What is your ultimate goal in contacting media organizations about the documentary?

Eric Kohn

Eric Kohn
Chief Film Critic/Senior Editor
(917) 734-1189



As you can tell, my expectations were extremely low for how this would turn out and I was not remotely "disappointed." Here is the journalistic abomination which this 20-something brat vomited through his keyboard without even a phone call or a follow up email (why let the facts get in the way of your predetermined story?!).

I have emailed the writer the following (partial) list of the inaccuracies in this article. I have not yet gotten (and do not expect to receive) a response.


-----Original Message-----
From: John Ziegler <[email protected]>
To: Eric Kohn <[email protected]>
Sent: Mon, Nov 17, 2014 10:19 am
Subject: Re: Comment for Happy Valley story


Wow Eric. That's really something. I didn't think it was possible to have so many factual errors in such a short article!
Here are just a few:
I am a current radio talk show host
I did not direct the "the Path to 9/11"
I did not get the film from one of the producers (read what I wrote to you)
There has been no finding that what I posted about the film was "illegal" and I expect it to be eventually reposted to You Tube.
I have not "goaded" the Sandusky family into anything.
The filmmaker's statement that the film is not about Dottie is absurd, she is defamed directly and indirectly numerous times in the film.
I am sure there are others inaccuracies (other than the overall expected unfairness of your piece) but those are the most obvious.
Gee, I wonder why you didn't use any if my quotes about the film?
You would be personally humiliated if you had a clue about just wrong what you wrote really is. Fortunately for you people like you in the media have no such self awareness.
John Ziegler


The real importance of this is not the outrageous nature of how I was treated (I wouldn't have taken this on if I couldn't take it), it is to further expose the horrendous nature of the media coverage of this entire case so that people can see that the environment has been extremely ripe for the Perfect Storm of massive injustice to unfairly destroy ALL parties in this case.

In my view, that case has now been made FAR more decisively than it has ever been against any of those about whom the media rushed to misjudge in this travesty.


Update:  Just as I predicted in my email, I won my appeal to YouTube and the video was restored.

Here is the first half of the film, unedited, but with my commentary (if viewed on a laptop and not a smart phone).

Here is the cease and desist letter i had gotten from the law firm representing "Happy Valley" informing me that YouTube had taken my version of the film down and threatening me not to appeal that ruling..


Here is the email I got from YouTube informing me that I had won my appeal and the video had been restored.


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: <[email protected]

Date: Fri, Nov 28, 2014 at 5:32 PM
Subject: Re: New YouTube Copyright Counter Notification
[email protected]



In accordance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, we've completed processing your counter-notification regarding these video(s):

This content has been restored unless you have deleted the video(s). Your account will not be penalized.


The YouTube Legal Support Team