Sunday, May 8

CNN's and NBC's Yellow Journalism

After the Patriot News' yellow journalism about 1976, CNN and NBC followed with similar uncorroborated stories that were "too good to check."

Ray Blehar

Penn State President Eric Barron responded to the latest media attacks on the University by issuing a statement chastising them for rushing to judgment and publishing sensationalized stories.

The most important passages of his statement bear repeating (my emphasis added):

"....over the last two days we have worked to be diligent in reanalyzing the record of reports and depositions to ensure that our reactions and comments are both responsible and trustworthy. 

First, the allegations related to Penn State are simply not established fact. The two allegations related to knowledge by Coach Paterno are unsubstantiated and unsupported by any evidence other than a claim by an alleged victim. They date from the 1970s. Coach Paterno is not alive to refute them. His family has denied them. 

Second, we cannot find any evidence, related to a settlement or otherwise, that an alleged early assault was communicated to Coach Paterno. This raises considerable credibility issues as to this press report. Others cite assistant coaches that were witnesses or had knowledge – stating it as fact in headlines and text – even in the face of a denial and clear failure to corroborate from the individuals allegedly involved. Other stories are clearly incredulous, and should be difficult for any reasonable person to believe. We should not be rendering judgments about the actions of Coach Paterno or any other former employees of Penn State based on incomplete, sensationalized media accounts.

While Barron did not get into the details, his description that these accounts are "incredulous" and "difficult for any reasonable person to believe" were 100 percent accurate.  That two national media outlets like CNN and NBC would allow these stories to be run demonstrates how far both individual and organizational ethics have fallen.

Yellow Journalism by Sara Ganim, CNN

Sara Ganim’s column regarding an alleged 1971 child sex abuse incident that was allegedly reported to Joe Paterno should serve as reminder of why she won a Pulitzer Prize for LOCAL (not investigative) about the “Penn State Scandal.”  

Ganim covered scandal over a year and knew that Sandusky was an acquaintance offender who befriended pre-teen boys and groomed them for victimization.    In the latest article, she mentions victims being hesitant to come forward as a result of their "close relationships" with Sandusky.  As such, she obviously knew that her story of Sandusky picking up a 15 year old hitchhiker, plying him with drugs and alcohol, and forcibly raping him was not consistent with Sandusky’s modus operandi.   

The story continued on its incredulous path by then stating when the foster parents of the youth (dubbed Victim A) found out, they directed him to call high-ranking Penn State officials -- then told the youth that Penn State wouldn't call the police.  

If these foster parents understood that, why didn't they call the police themselves?   

"So many good things"
In what is surely a fabrication, the alleged Victim A states that he called the University and took part in a conference call with  Joe Paterno and a man named Jim.   

After allegedly telling them he was raped by Sandusky, he alleged Paterno and Jim threatened to call the authorities on him because they couldn't believe an attack could have come from a man who "did so many good things." 

The year was 1971 and Sandusky had joined the coaching staff in 1969.  He was an unheralded position coach then, and most importantly, would form his Second Mile charity six years later (in 1977).

In short, Sandusky wasn't famous in the community for his charitable work in 1971.

 This adds more evidence of a fabricated story.

Unreliable Source
However, Ganim attempted to bolster this ridiculous story by using well known Paterno-hater, Bernie McCue, as the corroborating source.  

She had to know her corroborating witness would not be viewed as an unbiased/credible source, as he was featured in the movie Happy Valley conducting a pathetic one-man protest at the Paterno statue.  

McCue also had other anti-Paterno actions in his past, including writing derogatory and offensive notes in the courtesy newspapers and magazines provided at the Corner Room, then returning them for other patrons to find.  

He was also arrested for harassment regarding an incident allegedly over Peachy Paterno ice cream being served at the Berkey Creamery.  

According to source McCue, the alleged victim told him about the abuse in 1972.  McCue was 33 or 34 years old when he got the report from the 15-16 year old victim.   How did McCue explain coming in contact with the victim?  Ganim doesn't say.

More than likely, she didn't think to check those facts and ask the question.  However, it does raise an interesting question about McCue and his motivations.  

As the old saying goes, "the guilty dog barks the loudest."

In summary, no investigative reporter would ever use a questionable source like Bernie McCue, which is consistent with the fact that Ganim is NOT an investigative reporter.

While Ganim's incompetence is evident, how was it that the editors at CNN weren't asking these questions about her incredulous story?

The only credible part of Ganim's story came at the end, where a state trooper recalled thinking the story was "too crazy to be believed."

Yellow Journalism by NBC

On May 8th, an NBC story, citing mostly unnamed sources, stated unequivocally that as many as six Penn State coaches had witnessed Sandusky's "inappropriate behavior" with children.

In fact, the article later stated that none of these incidents were corroborated, as a lawyer for one coach refuted the allegation, one coach refused to comment,  one couldn't be reached, and the other is unknown.

NBC then referenced a report by Sandusky's adopted son, Matthew, that he was informed that a coach saw him being molested by Sandusky in a PSU locker room.

In Matthew Sandusky's recently released book, Undaunted, he told the story of how Jerry Sandusky was able to hide in plain sight and abuse children while in the presence of other, unwitting adults. 

On page 10, Matthew specifically recalled a "wrestling" incident in which he was being fondled, but Sandusky stopped the fondling when he heard the door's cipher code being pressed, alerting them to someone entering the room.  According to Matthew's account, Jerry then asked the assistant coach who walked in to do a three count as Jerry pretended to "pin" Matthew.   

Numerous victims at the trial mentioned Sandusky wrestling with them as part of their "workouts."

Those familiar with the case also know that Victim 4 also mentioned the cipher code noise being used as a signal by Sandusky to disengage in whatever inappropriate conduct that was ongoing.

Sex crimes expert James Clemente also noted that, in his experience, many serial child molesters were experts in utilizing abuse techniques that provided them with plausible deniability. According to trial testimony, Sandusky used techniques such wrestling matches, tickling, blowing raspberries on the boy's stomachs as a means of accomplishing this. 

All of the information above is readily available on the public record.  NBC knew or should have known that Sandusky was able to avoid detection even when abusing boys in plain sight.  As such, the coaches observing Sandusky and the child likely had no idea anything "inappropriate" was occurring.

Finally, it bears repeating that none of these claims were corroborated by the coaches who were alleged to have observed "inappropriate behavior" and that Penn State issued a statement that there is no evidence supporting the claims.

The bottom line is that CNN and NBC weren't interested in accuracy and had stories that were "too good to check."  As Jay Paterno wrote, they are part of a media who is only interested in "clicks." 


  1. Thank you so much for writing this article. We, as a country, are experiencing an incredible low in journalistic integrity that rivals Nazi Germany. It's clear to me there's been some sort of take over of our mainstream media. To figure out what billion dollar entities are behind this, we have to look at what is being suppressed. In this scapegoating of Joe Paterno that Louis Freeh's false report initiated, there appears to be an organized and continued effort by ABC, NBC, CNN, and all the smaller PA news outlets to support the fraudulent report. Simple logic dictates that once we see what Freeh wanted us to believe is completely false, then the opposite must be true. There is no cover-up by Paterno and the 3 scapegoated PSU administrators. But who scapegoated all of them? Easy, we've known for years it was a deliberate organized effort that involved PA government under Tom Corbett and the mainstream news media. Plain and simple, this is organized crime. We have to demand that this ring of organized crime be investigated or one innocent old dead college football coach will keep being blamed by the media racketeers. Paterno was not a policeman, a government official, a child psychologist, or a caseworker, and he certainly wasn't Jerry Sandusky. Nor was Paterno even someone that committed any crimes. He reported the second-hand story related to him about Sandusky. So please, what rational person would think Paterno had anything at all to do with any of this? It's inhumane as hell for the corrupt, corporate puppet reporters like Sara Ganim to continue torturing Sue Paterno with known falsehoods about her husband. Ganim is a bubble-headed ditz that has sold her soul to organized crime. And if she has any decency left in inside, she must renounce the Pulitzer award publicly and admit she was enticed and misled by organized criminal media.

    We can't stand by and let Sue be tortured any longer by these lying criminals. Isn't there someone in the PA legislature that can step up and request a federal investigation of this organized crime?

    1. Truthseeker,
      Just as Kathleen Kane did, we have to go outside PA to find someone willing to investigate this mess and who cannot be stifled by PA's corrupt judiciary.

      Federal authorities are the answer and a good RICO case can be made (in my opinion) for a case of honest services fraud with regard to the Freeh Report.

  2. Ray, I think it's also noteworthy that Ganim originally gave the age of the 1971 alleged victim as a 62 year old man who had been molested as a 15 year old in 1971. Simple arithmetic shows that a 62 year old man would have been 17 years old in 1971, not 15. At some point,and without any notation of the error, Ganim simply edited the text in her story to now claim the man is now 60 years old, and not 62, so that the math now adds up. This is yet another serious ethical breach that shows unequivocally that report was never fact checked and that the veracity of the entire report should be considered at least questionable.

    1. mhentz,
      Ganim knew that her story was highly questionable and, as Truthseeker mentioned, she is such a ditz that she believed she could get away with it. Unfortunately, the "Pulitzer" label gives her credibility with most people and the media.

      All that said, her story was debunked immediately and she was desperately trying to hang onto it. That story may be the nail in her coffin.

  3. Excuse me for noticing, but if Mr. McCue knew about this in 1972, why didn't he do something about it? Where are his reports to the police? Am I missing something here?

    1. Thus Bernie was Jerry's first enabler of record. Guess he should have done more.

    2. It was very unethical of Ganim not to reveal that McCue has harassed the Paterno family for over 20 years and twice pleaded guilty to harassment.

      McCue's protests against Paterno were featured in the NY Times, Sports Illustrated and the "Happy Valley" movie on the Sandusky scandal.

      It seems unbelievable that McCue knew Sandusky raped a teen in 1972 and kept it quiet all these years while publicly accusing Paterno of being a pedophile enabler.

      Ganim should have interviewed Bernie McCue more extensively and gotten proof that McCue and the alleged victim knew each other in 1972.

      What was McCue's job in 1972? How and when did he meet the alleged victim? How long did their friendship last?

  4. One could go on and on about the journalistic failures and logical inconsistencies in Ganim's article and the obvious bias she showed against Paterno and Penn State.

    The article claimed the foster parents knew of the alleged rape in 1971 but failed to report it to police but they were not named the way Joe and Jim were. Ganim made no attempt to explain who Jim might have been. Ganim did not even bother to list relevant Penn State officials in 1971 to see if any were named Jim.

    Ganim also did not name the priest who had first abused him or the church officials who kicked him out of the church when he reported the abuse. Ganim made no mention of attempts to corroborate the priest abuse complaint. The Catholic Church often kept records of abuse complaints going back decades.

    The state trooper who was told the story in 2011 after Sandusky's arrest was also not named. Nor was it revealed if that state trooper notified the Attorney General's Office so the alleged victim could be interviewed. It seems very odd that if the Attorney General found this man's story credible, that she didn't release the story given her penchant for sensationalism.

    The 1971 alleged victim's tale just leaves too much out. We were told he was shuffled from foster home to foster home but given no reason why. Could it be he was a troublemaker?

    The alleged victim didn't want to contact police after the rape yet gave no reason why. Was it because he had lied to the police before and didn't expect the police would believe him?

    The alleged victim provided no details such as where he was when Sandusky picked him up and where he was hitchhiking to, the date and time of day, the type of car Sandusky was driving, the campus building where he was attacked and why he knew it was Sandusky, then an obscure assistant coach.

    It also is hard to imagine that Paterno's secretary would put him on the phone when someone called to report a rape. One would expect the secretary would refer them to the police.

    1. Tim,
      That story had more holes in it than a person could count. Amazing that CNN didn't stop her, but I guess they wanted in on the action.

  5. This thing is not going to go away until we can show that these mainstream media outlets are part of an organized effort to hide the crimes of those that are scapegoating Paterno and PSU. No headlines about Second Mile. No headlines about Louis Freeh's 8 million dollar FRAUD. No headlines about the Old Guard BoT participating in that fraud by paying for the LIES with university money. No headlines asking why Rodney Erickson is not brought up on child endangerment charges for ignoring the whistleblower letter sent to him about Louis Freeh sabotaging child abuse investigations. No headlines about the cover-up conspirators having buildings named after them and Pulitzer prizes handed out for generating organized slander against innocent people. No headlines about Risa Ferman bringing FALSE charges against the first female Attorney General of PA. NO HEADLINES BECAUSE THE ONES COMMITING THE CRIMES ARE WRITING THE HEADLINES! This thing is deep and will require an investigation of at least CNN. We have to act now and stop hoping that Ganim is just a sloppy irresponsible journalist that will come around. Not a chance! She has been bribed with a phony Pulitzer and is completely enslaved by the billion dollar CNN crime family. Joe is gone, but we owe it to Sue to bust this thing wide open before she's gone. RICO statutes anyone?

    1. Truth,
      We just have to keep after this using every avenue we can find.



      An honest news reporter.

      Or maybe get someone involved to turn.