Cross Posted at Legal Schnauzer
Humor is hard to find in the story of alleged child sexual abuse connected to the football program at Penn State University. But I've had to guffaw several times at the righteous indignation emanating from the mainstream media (MSM), expressing outrage that Penn State officials could turn a blind eye to misconduct in their midst.
Some MSMers even have hurled the term "cover up" at iconic football coach Joe Paterno and other PSU honchos. Why has that brought guffaws--of the dark-humor variety--from yours truly? It's because few institutions in American life are more adept than the mainstream media at providing cover for bad behavior, even criminal conduct.
As a sort of experiment, I recently contacted a reporter who had chastised Penn State officials for a "massive failure of leadership" when they were confronted with evidence of gross misconduct from former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. I reminded the reporter via e-mail, with copies to appropriate editors, that his newspaper had repeatedly ignored evidence of wrongdoing in its own backyard.
Did I receive a reply? Did the reporter and his superiors admit that they had failed to adequately cover any number of important stories and vow to do better--especially in light of their harsh words for the inactions of Penn State officials?
The answers? No and no. Given that the paper in question was The Birningham News, I hardly was surprised. But the same questions could be put to reporters and editors around the country--and they, too, probably would respond with a stony silence.
What prompted me to initiate a possible dialogue with folks at my local daily--when I know that such efforts almost always prove to be futile? Well, a column from sportswriter Jon Solomon, titled "Joe Paterno Had to Leave Immediately," grabbed my attention. And my own knowledge of a major scandal that The Birmingham News has ignored prompted me to act.
Here's how Solomon got rolling:
Even to the end, Joe Paterno thought he still called the shots. He thought after the massive failure of moral leadership at Penn State that he could still leave on his terms--after the season--rather than right now.
The failure by the adults in the Jerry Sandusky child sex-abuse was unfathomable. They all had to go immediately.
Solomon continued in the same unctuous mode:
Read the sickening grand jury report and it's devastating to see the number of missed chances to stop the alleged abuse and prevent other kids from getting hurt.
It's hard not to conclude that protecting Paterno's image and the win-at-all-costs mentality of college football resulted in Penn State turning a blind eye.
That was all I could take. I had to remind Solomon and Co. about a little matter involving Paul Bryant Jr., president pro tempore of the University of Alabama Board of Trustees. Bryant, one of the most powerful boosters in college athletics, has documented ties to a massive insurance-fraud scheme that landed a Pennsylvania lawyer named Allen W. Stewart in federal prison for 15 years. I have reported extensively on Bryant's ties to the case, but the MSM--both in Alabama and beyond--has ignored it. In other words, they have "turned a blind eye," the very thing that had Solomon's undies in a bunch.