Thursday, September 15

Old Main, Old Guard to blame for 50th Anniversary PR nightmare

Inactions and actions from November 2011 and July 2012 continue to do damage to Penn State

Ray Blehar

The planned 50th Anniversary Celebration of Joe Paterno's first game as a coach has brought forth so-called victim advocatessportswriters, news reporters, and other keyboard blowhards out of the woodwork to demean Penn State University (PSU) as a "cult" of football and/or idol worshippers who have their priorities out of order.  In addition, some continue to blame Paterno for turning a blind eye to the rape of a child.

While most of these writers haven't a clue about the facts of the case, they didn't come up with these accusations on their own.  

These falsities were provided to them courtesy of the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General (OAG), its media lapdog, the Harrisburg Patriot News, and Louis Freeh.

But those who are truly culpable for the latest public relations (PR) nightmare were former members of the PSU Board of Trustees, including former Governor Tom Corbett.   It was those individuals who allowed the first OAG's grand jury presentment and then the Freeh Report to do unnecessary damage to the University's reputation.

To be clear, trustees John Surma and former Governor Tom Corbett were the primary culprits behind the PR disaster that occurred in late 2011.  

Surma and Corbett engineered the Nov 2011 PSU PR Disaster

Rather than following the lead of former PSU President Graham Spanier, and defending PSU against the false charges levied by the OAG, Surma silenced Spanier.   He then let the media continue run with the false narrative of Paterno being told of a rape and that  PSU officials covered it up to protect the reputation of the University.

Surma and Corbett then cemented the idea that Paterno and Spanier were complicit in the cover-up by engineering their removals without even putting the matter to a vote.  When Surma was asked about the reasons behind the removal of Paterno, he could provide no specific answers because, according to his own words, the BOT did not yet know the facts.

Enter Louis Freeh.

In the aftermath of the blowback from alumni over the rash removals of Paterno and Spanier, Surma tapped former trustee Kenneth Frazier, who according to his report was known as a cover-up artist, to go about selecting a firm to conduct an independent investigation into the Sandusky matter.  

Emails obtained by PSU alumnus Ryan Bagwell revealed that Corbett had plenty to of input into the decision.  In fact, Corbett later boasted that he identified and recommended Freeh for the job.

PSU's PR disaster #2 began with the release of the Freeh Report in a nationally televised press conference.  Freeh's accusations were treated as facts and he levied a guilty verdict against PSU.   

His most damning statement,was that PSU should have a culture that "protects children and not the adults who abuse them."   Those who have read the Freeh Report know that there was no evidence in his report to support the statement.   

As many Penn Staters say, there are two mutually exclusive groups when it comes to the Freeh Report.  

Those who have read it.
And those who continue to believe it.

Which points to the second group of individuals responsible for the latest PR nightmare:  former trustees Kenneth Frazier and Karen Peetz, and former President Rodney Erickson.

Peetz, Erickson, and Frazier engineered July 2012 PR disaster

To add insult to injury on July 12, 2012, these individuals publicly praised the Freeh Report and its recommendations in a televised press conference.  This action was taken without a thorough review of the Freeh Report and, again, without a vote of the BOT.

Later that month, Erickson and others on the inner circle continued their destruction of PSU by collaborating with the NCAA to railroad Paterno, Spanier, and PSU football.

The emails and other evidence from the Corman lawsuit revealed that this group attempted to garner positive PR for itself and win favor with PSU alumni by coming up with the phony story that its actions since the hiring of Freeh convinced the NCAA to not give a 4-year death penalty to the football program.

The BOT's self-serving input to the NCAA press release
Ironically, these sorry excuses for human beings who got behind the false narrative that the PSU culture valued football over the welfare of children obviously believed what they were shoveling.

They believed that the alumni would praise them for saving football and, according to Karen Peetz, by 2014 the whole scandal would be a distant memory.

It's almost 2017 and the PR nightmares aren't going to stop until the University does what is should have done in November 2011 and July 2012.

It must set the record straight.

This isn't about a statue. 
This isn't about football. 
It's about the reputation of Penn State University.


  1. Well-stated Ray. It's true the PR nightmares aren't going to stop until the university does what it should have done a long time ago. As you say, it must set the record straight. Although I can't help but wonder who can speak honestly and intelligently for the university at this point? As it stands now, PSU is being held hostage by the very people that have maliciously injured it. They participated in a coup d'état that immorally and illegally removed the two men that were Penn State--Graham Spanier and Joe Paterno. The BoT, with the help of La Cosa Nostra Underboss, Tom Corbett and Boss Louis Freeh, overthrew the university and easily moved in as the new "leaders". And Barron is just a quiet soldier with the task of guarding while presenting an intellectual façade to the whole coup.

    Maybe Mr. Waste Management Corbett and Mr. dual Italian citizenship Freeh can step up to the mic and explain just what they've done to PSU and why they did it. Strange, they've both left the scene apparently never to return. But wait, with so much strife, confusion, litigation, and PR nightmares lingering and continuing at PSU, wouldn't one of these men want to return and help set the record straight? Don't they wish Pennsylvania and its flagship university well?

    1. Well, if PA had a competent AG and a governor who wasn't a deer in the headlights, the NCAA would be looking at extortion charges and Fina and the Corbett cabal would be playing Pinnocle with Jerry Sandusky. There seems to be a total vacuum in leadership at the State level and at Old Main. Leaders ACT with determination. They are warriors who defend their followers and stand up for what is right.

    2. You're so right about Governor Wolf. The man is frozen with fear. He is in a position to make history, but he just shrinks and acquiesces to the Mafia government cabal in PA. Wolf appears to be a eunuch of his own making, another leader in PA letting the chance for greatness go unencountered.

      Mr. Wolf, read from your bible Matthew 10:28 and contemplate its meaning. If you don't find courage from this, then continue reading it and pray for God to allow you to grasp its meaning.

    3. I'm not sure Wolf could do much. He has some representation on the Board of Trustees but not as much after the Old Guard expanded the number of trustees to dilute their opponents. Wolf and his three secretaries also lost their votes.

      Perhaps Wolf's representatives on the Board were instrumental in approving this commemoration. They are so secretive, we will probably never know.

      I think the Paterno estate and Spanier lawsuits are key. If Penn State wants to move on they should be looking for ways to settle. If the NCAA loses, they will appeal for years and years, maybe even to the US Supreme Court.

  2. Furthering the flawed and destructive decision making of the BoT is "speaking with one voice". It's called groupthink. Look it up Barron and Lubert---groupthink. Barron, you might grasp it, but Lubert, you're a "businessman"(casinos etc.) It's okay, we wouldn't expect you to have the scholarly capacity to really grasp its meaning---groupthink.

    1. The BOT knew what it was doing and had the result they wanted. They never expected the alumni to go rogue. Now the mountains are collapsing on them, and the sea is opening up to swallow them. They made a fatal miscalculation. They picked the wrong people to mess with.

  3. Groupthink is a psychological phenomenon that occurs within a group of people in which the desire for harmony or conformity in the group results in an irrational or dysfunctional decision-making outcome. Group members try to minimize conflict and reach a consensus decision without critical evaluation of alternative viewpoints by actively suppressing dissenting viewpoints, and by isolating themselves from outside influences.

    Groupthink requires individuals to avoid raising controversial issues or alternative solutions, and there is loss of individual creativity, uniqueness and independent thinking. The dysfunctional group dynamics of the "ingroup" produces an "illusion of invulnerability" (an inflated certainty that the right decision has been made). Thus the "ingroup" significantly overrates its own abilities in decision-making and significantly underrates the abilities of its opponents (the "outgroup"). Furthermore, groupthink can produce dehumanizing actions against the "outgroup".

    Antecedent factors such as group cohesiveness, faulty group structure, and situational context (e.g., community panic) play into the likelihood of whether or not groupthink will impact the decision-making process.

    Groupthink is a construct of social psychology but has an extensive reach and influences literature in the fields of communication studies, political science, management, and organizational theory,[1] as well as important aspects of deviant religious cult behaviour.[2][3]

    Groupthink is sometimes stated to occur (more broadly) within natural groups within the community, for example to explain the lifelong different mindsets of conservatives versus liberals,[4] or the solitary nature of introverts.[5] However, this conformity of viewpoints within a group does not mainly involve deliberate group decision-making, and might be better explained by the collective confirmation bias of the individual members of the group.

    Most of the initial research on groupthink was conducted by Irving Janis, a research psychologist from Yale University.[6] Janis published an influential book in 1972, which was revised in 1982.[7][8] Janis used the Bay of Pigs disaster (the failed invasion of Castro's Cuba in 1961) and the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 as his two prime case studies. Later studies have evaluated and reformulated his groupthink model.[9][10]

  4. If the University ever decides to set the record straight it won't occur until the conclusion of the SCS trials. Even then I think that the damage is irreparable. There are just too many people who don't have a clue about the facts. The Keyboard Blowhards (love that one Ray) have their narrative and will always use this case to pump their own sorry holier than thou egos.

    1. I agree that the damage is irreparable for the reason you stated -- too many people don't have a clue about the facts. The problem is, they think they are in full possession of the facts and that anyone who dares tell them otherwise is some kind of deranged cultist who puts football above the welfare of children, etc. Unfortunately, a lot of the people who are ignorant but don't know it command wide audiences by virtue of their positions as sports scribblers and sports babblers for ESPN, USA Today, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, and on and on. Every time they pontificate about Paterno and Penn State they put their ignorance, arrogance, and incompetence on full display -- and their audiences just cheer them on. On this website there is a wealth of information-- documents and sharp evidence-based analyses -- that they choose to ignore because it would blow up the pleasing narrative that they have constructed (with ample assistance from scum like Freeh, Surma, and Frazier). All the brave journalists who eagerly jumped on the anti-Paterno bandwagon decided to take Freeh at his word rather than to read his sleazy report for themselves. That would require work and thought, and those are concepts that are foreign to sports scribblers and sports babblers.

    2. Good post- your frustration reminds me of lyrics from one of the great folk songs of all time:
      "for the wine of oblivian is drunk to the dregs
      and the merchants of the masses almost have to be begged
      till the Giant is aware someone is pulling at his leg
      and someone is tapping at the door"

  5. I'm expecting the TV cameras to all focus on the lone protester at the game tomorrow rather than the commemoration.

    Maybe there is an ulterior motive to this commemoration. The trustees may want to mend fences with the Paterno family and try to forge a settlement of the Paterno estate v. NCAA lawsuit. They certainly don't want all the Penn State bigwigs testifying.

    Freeh has given them an opening with his court motion declaring that his report was just his opinions. Penn State could settle with Spanier and the NCAA could settle with Freeh by repudiating the Freeh Report and blaming it all on Freeh for misleading them.

    That would be poetic justice after Freeh scapegoated Paterno and Penn State.

  6. This is off topic but the Paterno bashing articles just get crazier and crazier. How's this for a title,

    "Penn State Football Fans Worship Joe Paterno Because Football Is More Important To Them Than The Black And Poor Boys Whom Jerry Sandusky Raped"

    The article claims "at-risk and underprivileged are euphemisms for black and poor" and concludes Sandusky victims must have all been black even though they show a photo of victim 1.

    1. Tim, actually it's not off topic at all if we think for ourselves and look at the bigger picture. It is very clear that good people are being set up and slandered by our once-trusted media. And it's occurring at an alarming rate. I've been alive long enough to make a comparison of the journalism of 30 to 40 years ago to the "reporting and journalism" of today. Like night and day there are no similarities whatsoever. Young people don't see it as easily, and tend to accept the media lies without question. I have limited space, so here it is in a nutshell:

      9/11 murders and treason by our own government in alliance with military/industrial complex; MSM threatened and bribed to participate in the deception; crushing burden of maintaining the lies as the public begins to see the physics of the demolition of 3 WTC buildings (google Larry Silverstein and asbestos); Bush and cabal desperately trying to continue lies with Obama, Hillary and Trump as poorly-acted adversaries (election clown show)---all lying; MSM feeding us this ruse while also creating false race issues to keep us fighting amongst ourselves as we see each other as the "enemy" instead of our murdering leaders; controversial topics of gay, transgender, race, immigration and law enforcement are mixed with media-created fake shooting events that keep us divided on social issues and unable to rally against our real enemy--MSM/government crime/corporate corruption.

      So this "black victims" twist to Sandusky is in keeping with what I've said--more racial anger to divide us. The media attacks on our universities, our racial diversity (fake immigration events--Obama playing the reckless liberal) and black church shootings and gay shootings are staged to divide and conquer. MSM attacks our good people, our black celebrities etc. It's a failing government/MSM ruse to keep themselves from being found out. Our MSM is playing us for the fools that they think we are. Or, are we? We must become "conscientious objectors" and boycott television news, newspapers, and taxes being used to fund our own destruction. We must also support small business and reject anything corporate. It will require some material sacrifice to win this war. But we can regain our greatness. And the answer is not in the corporate election façade candidates--it's in us.

  7. I was out of the country when the NCAA announced their sanctions against PSU. There was a pool where I was staying and the banter around that pool centered around the sanctions. I eaves-dropped on several conversations and was surprised to see how many folks were defending PSU. Most thought the sanctions were overkill. There was an incident in an elevator where an older fellow was bashing Paterno because 'he raped all those young boys'. Several college age kids were debating him over that. The lone Victimista I encountered there didn't even have his facts straight. A woman on the elevator eventually told him off over his ignorance. Keep in mind that all this occurred while I was out of the country. These folks did not appear to be Penn Staters.

    Contrast that with the blog postings this weekend where there were thousands of posts condemning Paterno. How can there be so many who would come out to hurl insults at Paterno and the PSU community? I know very few folks who openly talk about this anymore. There has to be a cabal of jerks who publish this propaganda under multiple user names at every opportunity just to keep up the ruse. Perhaps there is even a bot that someone wrote to fill up the message boards with this crap. Something isn't right here.

    1. Philip, please see my above post that gives my take on this "something isn't right here". All of this chaos is being generated by sold out shills that are being paid by the huge criminal MSM/government/corporate criminal cabal. It's not "Paterno knew", "did Kathleen Kane commit a crime?" or "is Cosby guilty?" that is the issue. The issue is, did criminal leaders in our own government attack and kill American citizens on 9/11/2001?

  8. Truthseeker: Judging by your comment above I believe that we are approximately the same age. I too remember better journalistic standards. I recently viewed the award winning docudrama, Spotlight, and came away feeling that I was fed some compelling evidence but then was told what I was supposed to think about that evidence. And this movie won best picture? It came across to me as a pathetic attempt at propaganda.

    I'm not sure I agree with you about the 9-11 events. I see it more as a bungling of opportunities that led to that disaster followed by a bunch of finger-pointing and political opportunism. I'm not exactly sure what this has to do with the PSU scandal. If there is a common foe in all if this, I can't see it. This year's election cycle is proving to be quite revealing in all of this so I will keep an eye open.

    1. Philip, So you feel that the docudrama Spotlight is propaganda. Did they get the facts wrong about the Boston Diocese child sex abuse? Interesting how that story parallels the Kathleen Kane exposure of the Johnstown Diocese. And even though Kane has been run off and discredited, her work seems to be having a lasting effect with the Harrisburg Diocese investigation. Dominos?

      The common foe in all of this, 9/11 included, is the multi-trillion dollar MSM/Military/Industrial complex cover-up of criminal secrets. Whether it be child access for wealthy pedophiles or grand scale insurance fraud(twin towers), the secrets are slowly being revealed to us.

      Luke 8:17 "There is nothing hidden that will not be revealed, and nothing secret that will not be made known and brought to light".

    2. Truthseeker: I'm not sure what the 'MSM/Military/Industrial complex cover-up of criminal secrets' is? Are there any names associated with this? I was just using the Catholic Church scandal and the Boston Globe's complicity in it as evidence of what I thought you were saying.

      The parallels between that scandal and PSU's is striking. It's like governor Corbett and his chronies stole a page out of their playbook to pull off their deceit. Like the PSU situation, it wasn't so much that the facts were incorrect, just the conclusions drawn from those facts and the movie made sure its audience drew those same conclusions.

      I wasn't aware of Kane's work in prosecuting the Church. I don't live in Pennsylvania anymore so I don't get the best insight to the local politics there. I did hear about her ouster though. She was likely targeted.

    3. Philip, I suppose I need to watch Spotlight to get a feel for what you're saying about the forced conclusions the producers want us to draw. I wouldn't doubt it however. Every form of our media seems to have hidden agendas attached.

      For the names attached to what I said about the corrupt relationship between MSM and corporate/government, pickup a copy of PSU Professor Bettig's "Big Money, Big Media". He asserts that our information is completely corrupted by these institutions and is a serious threat to our democracy. As you may or may not know, he was just murdered. And his co-author, Jean Lynn Hall, also his former wife, died mysteriously soon after publication. The Centre County papers basically wrote the story as if his murder was about some alleged character flaw that he had. Instead of honoring his enormous scholarly contributions to PSU and the world, they inexplicably focused on a very small aspect of his life which seemed to be negligible compared to his lifework. I won't say anymore so you can draw your own conclusions.

  9. Truthseeker: Pay attention to the scene where the Mark Ruffalo character gets into the cab after examining the two letters to Cardinal Law. Notice how he concludes that the letters prove that Law 'knew about the abuse in 1984' but 'did s$$t about it'. While it is apparent from the letters that Law was aware of the abuse in 1984, there is nothing to indicate what was or was not done about it. Did he put any effort into finding out? Who knows? Notice the letters refer to abuse in 2 different churches in 2 different Boston communities (Jamaica Plains and Weston) while the movie leads you to believe they are about the same incident. A lot of little mis-infos throughout the movie. Very similar to what was done to PSU.

    I looked up your book, the title is backwards: Big Media, Big Money. It looks like a social studies book. Kind of expensive. I may look for it on ebay. Thanks for the tip.