Monday, February 20

David J. Paterno: Power vs. Popular

Debunking the First of Freeh’s Overarching Faulty Premises


By
David J. Paterno

More than four years have passed since Penn State’s Board of Trustees’ (BOT’s) Special Investigative Counsel (SIC) purchased a report from Louis Freeh. While that report contained some good recommendations – especially regarding the size and makeup of the BOT - many scholars have pointed out its shortcomings and its unsubstantiated claim that four employees, including Joe Paterno (JVP), behaved with malicious intent.

My family continues to petition and ask PSU leaders to read and evaluate for themselves how little Freeh’s conclusions about JVP are supported with any facts. More confounding than the lack of facts are several overarching premises contained in the Freeh report that set the tone for his unsubstantiated claims. By allowing such false premises, the reader is set up for accepting unsupported conclusions.

The first faulty premise is that JVP “controlled everything / knew everything that happened at PSU.”  This premise conflates Power with Popularity.

 There is a huge difference between Power and Popularity and if we are not careful, we can forget how very different these things are – especially with respect to running a large institution like PSU. Freeh chose to ignore this clear difference - and in fact, equated them as being the same to vilify JVP.

This matters because it is one of several incorrect overarching premises of the Freeh Report, which gives Freeh’s conspiracy theory illegitimate credibility in falsely damaging our alma mater’s reputation.

Yes, “conspiracy theory” because it is – at best  – a stretching hypothesis that four men were involved in a conspiracy to conceal and cover up criminal activity.

Until PSU comes to terms with the damage they have done by accepting the incorrect opinion of Louis Freeh, they will not be able to recover some of the greatest qualities of PSU’s history that could be, and ought to be, leveraged into its future. 

Joe Paterno was popular.  He was well known, widely respected, and influential. 

Was he an all-powerful man controlling everything at PSU as Freeh suggests?


Not even close.

Wednesday, February 15

Evidence in 2001 Twisted, Tainted, and Incomplete

The case against PSU officials was built on an incomplete record that was twisted and manipulated by prosecutors to frame PSU officials.  The prosecutor's work was good enough to create a massive conspiracy theory that fooled nearly everyone.

By
Ray Blehar

The evidence in the so-called Conspiracy of Silence case strongly indicates that the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General (OAG), Cynthia Baldwin, and the Freeh Group engaged in a series of intentional misrepresentations in order to make the case of a criminal conspiracy surrounding an alleged failure to report Jerry Sandusky in 2001.

Information is power and in this case information was selectively used, withheld, and reorganized to convince an all too willing public that PSU officials were evil people who put the football program above the welfare of children. 

Among these misrepresentations were: all reports of child abuse are investigated; the contents of Gary Schultz’s so-called secret file all belonged to Schultz; that Schultz reviewed the 1998 police report before deciding to act; that the suggestions to get Sandusky help were based solely on the 1998 and 2001 incidents; and several others. 

Again, this was good enough to fool almost everyone who didn’t critically look at the information and evidence in the case.

But here’s what happens when those misrepresentations get a dose of reality.

Sunday, February 12

PSU’s appeal of the McQueary verdict alleges judicial bias

PSU’s legal team says what should have been said all along – its employees were not legally required to report Sandusky in 2001.

By
Ray Blehar

Penn State University’s (PSU) legal counsel, after over six years of avoidance and obfuscation, finally stood up for itself and called out the court for its (continuing) bias against the University.  For many of PSU’s loyal alumni, the big news was that PSU finally argued that former officials Graham Spanier, Timothy Curley, and Gary Schultz were not mandated reporters under the child abuse reporting statute in 2001.

That is one among many of the appeal issues – although it one of the most important for setting the record straight -- and outing Pennsylvania's corrupt legal system.

The recent filings cite a number of instances in which Judge Thomas Gavin was unfair in his rulings and was biased in favor of former PSU assistant football coach, Michael McQueary. 

Sunday, February 5

What the jury must decide for EWOC charge.

While there were many irregularities in the Sandusky trial, Judge Cleland's instructions on the EWOC charge wasn't one of them.

By
Ray Blehar

The case of the PSU 3 has come down to the charges of Endangering the Welfare of a Child (EWOC) and related conspiracy. 

If Judge Boccabella instructs the jury in the same manner as Judge Cleland, the outcome should bode well for the defendants -- if the jurors follow the letter of the law.

In the Sandusky case, Cleland instructed the jurors on the four elements that had to be met for EWOC.  In my previous, blog I called it a three-prong test -- failing to include the fourth requirement that a child must be involved.

Here were Cleland's instructions.


Wednesday, February 1

FTR Charges Against PSU 3 Dropped, But Sham Case Rolls On

Judge Boccabella’s ruling is part of the Commonwealth’s continued effort to deflect attention away from problems in PA’s child protection system

By
Ray Blehar

In a two page ruling that was lacking much in the way of rationales, Senior Judge John Boccabella dismissed the Failure To Report (FTR) charges against former Penn State University (PSU) officials Graham Spanier, Timothy Curley, and Gary Schultz while (literally) inexplicably carrying over the charges of Endangering the Welfare of Children (EWOC) and Conspiracy over for court.

This case dragged on for five years under a number of false arguments that PSU officials had failed to report Jerry Sandusky to the authorities after a report of inappropriate behavior in 2001. 

Tuesday, January 24

CNN, #FakeNews, and Witch Hunts

THIS IS NOT A POLITICAL ENDORSEMENT 


CNN has a history of using #FakeNews to conduct blame-shifting witch hunts.

By
Ray Blehar

On January 10th, then President Elect Donald Trump accurately characterized reports of “potentially damaging information” that Russia possessed about him as “FAKE NEWS” and that story was “A TOTAL POLITICAL WITCH HUNT.”



As the old saying goes, even a broken clock is right twice a day.  

Saturday, December 31

ICYMI: PS4RS 2016 Report

LAST CHANCE TO DONATE for 2016 Tax Deduction!

Penn Staters for
Responsible Stewardship

 

December 13, 2016
News and advocacy for
friends, supporters and alumni
of Penn State University

As 2016 comes to a close, there are some PS4RS “business items” I’d like to share. This year PS4RS embarked on an arduous task to apply to the IRS for tax-exempt status as a 501(c)(4) social welfare organization, receiving approval as of September 29, 2016. Through this process, we learned that the activities of our organization preclude designation as a “charitable organization.” Fortunately, however, our expenses will be tax-exempt, but unfortunately, donations to PS4RS cannot be tax deductible. The majority of 2016 PS4RS activities included: supporting election of alumni-elected candidates sympathetic to our mission, ongoing release of information and comments to the media on Penn State-related topics, and proactive meetings and communications with PA attorney general candidates.

We also launched a separate organization in 2016 called the PS4RS Legacy Initiative. On June 14, 2016, the PS4RS Legacy Initiative filed an extensive, separate application for tax-exempt status as a 501(c)(3) public charity. If approved (and our legal advisors are not aware of any reason why the application wouldn’t be approved), all donations received after the formation date of May 6, 2016 will be deductible to the fullest extent permitted under the IRS code. While awaiting IRS approval, the Legacy Initiative raised initial funds in support of its new scholarship program for Penn State students. We are proud to announce four $5,000 scholarships awarded to the following students for use in their Spring 2017 semester: Brianna Barker, Christina Cropper, Brian Loane and Andrew Wasmuth. Having received significant interest from students and funders alike, we have every intention of expanding this scholarship program for the Fall 2017 semester and beyond.

We look forward to continuing our efforts toward restoring Penn State’s reputation, unifying the broader Penn State community and improving governance, but we really do need your help. For five years, PS4RS has operated on a completely volunteer basis, managing expenses on a shoestring through the generosity of Penn State friends, alumni and supporters. We are enormously grateful for the time, passion, contributions and effort of everyone who has stepped up to lend a hand “For the Glory.” However, as we’ve become more formal and more organized (and larger!), we have a need for more significant, sustainable funding to cover the necessities of insurance, occasional legal counsel, communications tools and other basic non-profit expenses.

During this season of giving, please consider a donation to PS4RS and/or to the Legacy Initiative. Checks may be mailed to: 252 Green Road, Woodland, PA 16881. We also encourage you to make a donation (one-time or recurring) via credit card at www.ps4rs.org.

As always, with the enormity and complexity of the tasks ahead, we invite you to participate in PS4RS by lending your expertise, thoughts, ideas and suggestions. Please feel free to reach out to us at any time.

Best wishes to you and yours for a happy, healthy and “rosey” holiday season.

Maribeth Roman Schmidt
Executive Director, PS4RS and PS4RS Legacy Initiative

Media Frenzy

What if we got 100 or maybe up to 300 emails a day in the inboxes of 10 or 12 Media people identified in the ANATOMY OF A MEDIA FRENZY list for a week or two - or until they publish a retraction of what they said in those articles I saved? 

Can we compose an email together we can agree to send to writers on the list that begins:
PLEASE TELL THE TRUTH NOW - PLEASE TELL YOUR READERS THAT YOU INTEND TO UNDO THE DAMAGE YOU CAUSED TO THE GOOD NAME OF JOE PATERNO. 

What if all we want at this point is a complete retraction that reads: MEA CULPA   
In late 2011 I wrote an article that condemned Joe Paterno as the man who heard Mike McQueary say he had witnessed Jerry Sandusky anally raping a 10-year-old on the Penn State campus and did nothing more than tell his boss Athletic Director Tim Curley. That has now been unequivocally proven to be false. Mike McQueary never said that he witnessed anal intercourse and he certainly never told Joe Paterno he had.  
The prosecution's charge that Victim 2 was subjected to anal intercourse was adjudicated NOT GUILTY in the Sandusky trial making it clear that the Jury did not believe McQueary had witnessed anal intercourse. 
I now believe Joe Paterno told the truth when he said McQueary's account of that night in Feb 2001 was unclear. I now understand that Joe Paterno has been unjustly defamed because he did the only thing under the law he could have done by putting McQueary in touch with Penn State administrators. 
It is now abundantly clear that people who have followed every detail of information and testimony, in this case, have been correct. Mike McQueary was not certain of what he witnessed and he was unclear in his statements to Joe Paterno and the Penn State Administrators. The charges against those administrators for Perjury have been dismissed. 
I wish to apologize to Penn State University and Joe Paterno for my part in the defamation of the iconic 'SUCCESS WITH HONOR" coach. I realize I accepted the version of events described in Attorney General Linda Kelly's Presentment as fact. I believed it when she stated that Mike McQueary witnessed anal intercourse and told Joe exactly that.   
I realize that my writing helped to portray 85 year old Joe Paterno as a man more interested in preserving the reputation of his football program than preventing child abuse by a pedophile. I can now see that is not the truth and my words assisted an Attorney General and Board of Trustees who abused their power in their own self-interest. 
The NCAA has done the right thing and restored Joe Paterno's record of wins. Now we should all do the right thing and restore the honor and integrity of Joe Paterno. Joe did the right thing and the OAG was responsible for a grave injustice. We the media were misled by the OAG in PA. 
What if we target 10 or 12 of the writers in the ANATOMY OF A MEDIA FRENZY list every week and send them the email we compose with a list of 3 or 4 links to SMSS articles that detail the facts with testimony proving what we say is true. Can we get 100 to do this?  Or 300 of us who will participate in an email campaign? We can also use twitter and Facebook where we find those accounts for these authors. 

Friday, December 30

PSU Counter Suit Won't Go Far

Penn State's counter suit against Spanier provides opportunity to validate email evidence, however, given PSU's track record it will settle the case before allowing the truth to be known

By
Ray Blehar

Penn State University's (PSU) counter suit against former President Graham Spanier alleges that Spanier knew about and failed to make full and complete disclosure of his knowledge of the Sandusky grand jury investigation and of the information contained in “the 2012 Discovered Emails."   

In response to this suit, Spanier's legal team should seek clarification regarding what is meant by “the 2012 Discovered Emails."  More specifically, which emails were found in 2012, what exact date were they discovered, who discovered them, to whom were they provided, and in what format?

As of right now, the answers to those questions are unclear, based on the evidence in that was provided in the criminal cases of Spanier, former PSU Athletic Director Timothy Curley, and former Senior Vice-President-Finance and Business, Gary Schultz.

Sunday, December 18

Fake News is nothing new

Penn State University was forever damaged by fake news in 2011 and fake news is nothing new.  However, the good news is that we may now have a way to combat it.

By
Ray Blehar

In early November 2011, the media’s sensational reporting that Penn State University (PSU) officials turned a blind eye to the rape of a child was (and still is) a “fake news” story.   

Even though the facts prove this narrative is false – and absolutely preposterous -- the media continues to report this “fake news” in spite of many protestations from its consumers.

Given what the media knew about the reputation of Joe Paterno and PSU, it should have viewed this story with a jaundiced eye from the outset.
 
However, what it knew by December 16, 2011 should have caused the media to, at the very least, reconsider the narrative.  And if the media was truly concerned about “fake news” it would have gone on an all-out attack on the prosecutors in the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General (OAG) for planting the false story about Mike McQueary witnessing Jerry Sandusky raping a child.  

Sandusky was later acquitted of that charge.

By December, the media knew that Mike McQueary had reported the incident to his father (John McQueary), Dr. Jonathan Dranov, Joe Paterno, Timothy Curley, and Gary Schultz.   It also knew that PSU’s attorney, Wendell Courtney, had been consulted and so had the university’s President, Graham Spanier.  It also knew that PSU officials had contacted Dr. Jack Raykovitz, the Executive Director of The Second Mile (Sandusky’s charity) to inform him of the incident. 

In summary, the media bought into a story about eight people allegedly knowing about a child being raped by the founder of a children’s charity and all eight decided to let him continue accessing and molesting children for over a decade.

That seems rather preposterous, does it not?

The media knew that the eyewitness, Mike McQueary, also did nothing.  He didn’t intervene as the crime took place.  He didn’t think to call the police on his cell phone while at the Lasch Building.  He didn’t call the police after he told his father and Dr. Dranov.   

Instead, McQueary, his father, and a medical doctor all concluded that the person who should be told about the rape of a child was Joe Paterno -- because it happened in the PSU football facilities.

That seems rather preposterous, does it not?

But the game changer that December – or what should have been the one thing to change the media’s narrative – was that it also learned McQueary didn’t use any explicit terms with Paterno or anyone else.   He testified that he didn’t use the words rape or sodomy or any other term that would have necessitated a call to the police.

Apparently, a denial of the key allegation by the key witness was not enough for the media to change the narrative.  

That’s why the media’s complaints about the “tidal wave” of “fake news” should be taken with a grain of salt.

Conspiracy theories and other questionable information have been posted on the internet from its inception.  The media seemingly didn’t care about it for over 20 years but now all of the sudden, it's concerned.

The crazy part of this is that the media’s rationale for stopping “fake news” on the internet and social media is that it has a potential for causing harm.

And the media’s evidence for this is #pizzagate.

The so-called #pizzagate story was propagated on social media and it alleged Hillary Clinton and John Podesta were operating a child sex trafficking operation using the Comet Ping Pong pizza shop.  The story resulted in a man arriving at the pizza shop with guns in tow to rescue the children who he believed were held there.  A shot was fired as he sought entry into a back room, perhaps thinking it was one of the “secret rooms” where the children were hidden.   The pizza shop, which was run by a Democratic Party donor/fundraiser, had to close for a few days, then reopened.

In the aftermath of the #pizzagate shooting, the media scoffed at the idea that anyone had taken the story seriously because of its highly improbable details such as secret rooms used for torture and human sacrifice.    Ironically, those details were similar to the fantastic allegations made in the McMartinPre-School case; however the media had no issue with believing them.  In fact, the improbable details were the key to sensationalizing the story and eventually caused a national hysteria about child abuse at day care centers.  

People spent time in jail awaiting their trials in the day care center cases.  Lives and livelihoods were ruined.   The media coverage of the McMartin case originated in 1984 – 33 years ago.

The media didn’t learn from the McMartin case and acted in the same manner in the 1986 Atlanta Olympics, the 1989 Hillsborough Soccer disaster, the 2000 phony National Guard document incident (i.e., Rathergate), the 2006 Duke lacrosse case, the Sandusky scandal, the Freddie Gray case, and the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity at the University of Virginia. 

In all of these cases, the media fell in love with the narratives of the allegations and didn’t bother to fact check the stories – or even use common sense.

Thousands of people – whole communities – were harmed by these stories and there were hundreds of millions of dollars in damages.   While a few reporters stepped up and stated they got the stories wrong, by and large the media organizations that drove these stories did not.  They didn't offer to pay restitution.  Some were sued and mounted vigorous defenses.

Given its track record, it is quite hypocritical, and certainly an overreaction, for the media to call on Facebook to begin flagging and fact checking its content based on the minimal damage caused by #pizzagate.

However, it’s not the media’s concern over accuracy or “fake news” that is driving it to bully Facebook.  The fact of the matter is that social media has pulled even with cable news at the top of the sources of that people relied on in the 2016 election.  According to Pew Research, social media and cable news were tied at 14%, and were ahead of network news (at 10%), while print news lagged behind at 2%.

A minority (32%) of Americans  trust the media and the majority has grown tired of having to put up with the “fake news” stories they have been feeding us for the last 30 years.  The media no longer has the influence it once had on public opinion and its attempt to place filters on social media in the name of accuracy and truth is a ruse. 

This is about power, not truth.

However, what the media is about to find out is that by coming down on Facebook it came down on itself.  

That's because Facebook, for the most part, is all of us.

Facebook, if all goes according to plan, should give us the opportunity to call out the falsehoods in stories written by Sally Jenkins, Christine Brennan, Sara Ganim, and other media hacks for fact checking by a third party.   

"Under the new process, if a link attracts enough fake-news reports or complaints, Facebook will send it to fact-checking groups, who will have access to these results through a Facebook-built tool."

There would be seemingly nothing to stop Penn Staters from posting previous and/or current factually challenged Washington Post or USAToday columns about the Sandusky scandal on Facebook then flagging it as “fake news.” 

What is good for the goose is definitely good for the gander.


For Penn Staters and the rest of the American public, the Facebook system will give us an opportunity to finally correct the record.