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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 8/27/12

Another Media Clown Show Stupifies Minds About Penn State

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It started with the grand jury report released in November 2011. First, very few Americans knew that the grand jury report was a summary of testimony, not a transcript of testimony. Second, very few Americans knew that New York State chief judge Sol Wachtler once said: "a grand jury would "indict a ham sandwich,' if that's what you wanted." Third, America's news media did nothing to enlighten them.

Thus, very few Americans were mentally equipped to question assertions made by the individual who summarized Mike McQueary's grand jury testimony. Consequently, too many Americans fell too easily into righteous indignation when they heard or read that McQueary supposedly testified he "saw a naked boy, Victim 2, whose age he estimated to be ten years old, with his hands up against the wall, being subjected to anal intercourse by a naked Sandusky." Incompetent members of America's corporate news media, being almost as uninformed as their readers, listeners and viewers, both felt that indignation and fueled it with their rhetoric. All were wallowing in their obvious moral superiority.

Unfortunately, it's a sad fact of life that the stupefaction afflicting far too many Americans is not only the consequence of their impoverished educations and harried lives of quiet desperation, but also a product of a degenerate, profit-driven corporate news media staffed by modestly educated reporters turned into dispirited slackers by the mindless sensationalism they must peddle in return for advertising revenue.

The slackers at Philadelphia Inquirer probably are no worse than slackers elsewhere. But, as I've demonstrated here (  ) and here ( ),  the reporters, columnists and editors clowning around at the Inquirer too often produced sludge riddled with errors that clogged the synapses of too many Americans living in the greater Philadelphia metropolitan region.

(Think of the cartoon, SpongeBob SquarePants. Then envision millions of Patricks (learned in "wumbo" and living under rocks) being informed by a handful of incompetent SpongeBobs. That's the situation of most Americans living in the Philadelphia region who rely solely on the Inquirer.)

Do America's Patricks know, even today, that the individual who wrote those inflammatory words in the grand jury report lied? Do they know, even today, that McQueary actually testified he never saw "insertion" and never used the word "anal" or "rape?"

If Americans don't know about the lie, how can they possibly suspect that somebody, working in the office of Pennsylvania's Attorney General, deliberately fabricated a compelling vision of rape to capture the imagination and inflame the outrage of a nation?

Fortunately, for the sake of justice, the jurors who weighed the evidence before deciding Sandusky's fate in June 2012 didn't swallow the lie. They actually found him not guilty of raping Victim 2.

(Want to explode a few heads among the uninformed, but righteously indignant and morally superior "Penn State is guilty" crowd? Simply tell them that Dr. Jonathan Dranov told those jurors that McQueary talked to him soon after witnessing a naked Sandusky and a naked boy in Penn State's Lasch Building showers. Then, tell them that, despite repeated questions by Dranov, McQueary never mentioned seeing them engaged in a sexual act.)

According to a recent poll, 86 percent of Americans don't know that a jury acquitted Sandusky of raping Victim 2. Therefore, it's probably safe to assume that equal percentages of Americans remain ignorant, not only of the fraud perpetrated on them by the individual who summarized McQueary's testimony, but also of Dr. Dranov's testimony. And they'll remain in their ignorant state of cocksure righteous superiority as long as news media slackers stupefy them with more factually questionable sensationalism.

Consider the latest episode of stupefying "news," reported just three days ago. The news report was broadcast on 25 August 2012 by Philadelphia's NBC TV 10 (WCAU) during the 6:00 PM News. The topic was a lawsuit being brought against Penn State by the lawyer representing Victim 1, Mr. Slade McLaughlin.

During the broadcast Mr. McLaughlin attempted to justify his client's lawsuit against the university by citing the "rape" that Penn State officials did nothing to stop. Yes, that's right. Months after Mike McQueary testified that he never "saw" rape or used the word rape and months after the jurors in the Sandusky trial found him not guilty of that alleged rape, Mr. McLaughlin was still repeating the outrageous inflammatory lie found in the Grand Jury Report.

Even worse, Cydney Long (the news correspondent interviewing Mr. McLaughlin) failed to correct him or even inform her viewers that he had spoken in error -- presumably because she shared his appalling ignorance. Viewers who knew nothing about the information presented in this article could only come away from that broadcast further stupefied.

Such absurd clown shows -- operating under the guise of "journalism" -- have been misinforming poorly educated Americans about Joe Paterno and Penn State for the past ten months. Who is going to stop them? How and when?

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Walter C. Uhler is an independent scholar and freelance writer whose work has been published in numerous publications, including The Nation, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, the Journal of Military History, the Moscow Times and the San (more...)
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