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.