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.

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.


  1. Good article Ray, definitely a real problem that we need to address. However, the way I see things, the MSM is the right arm of our government. And, it always has been to a certain extent. But these days, with our government ignoring the shouts for a real investigation of 9/11, the MSM has become their weapon against the truth.

    Very basic physics of free-fall building collapse have been observed by physicists and demolition experts in films of the twin towers collapse. And these characteristics of controlled demolition have been observed especially and most notably in building seven's collapse(a building that the planes did not hit). So our MSM that gave us the jet fuel story for free-fall collapse gave us fake news? Yes they did, but did they take it upon themselves to create this explanation, or did they report what they were told to report? In other words, the MSM cannot report fake news without the direction and blessing from our government. If it did report the truth against the government's wishes, they would be crucified by the law, not just words.

    How do we know that social media which our government claims is THE source for fake news isn't being influenced by our own rogue government agencies that have a political agenda? We don't know. But it's convenient to publish accusations in the MSM blaming Russia and the average social media Joe for upsetting our entire country's political system.

    Instead of saying "Russia did it" or "that damn social media did it", we need to ask, why is there a breach in our national security when there shouldn't be? Are we to believe that there was a breach in NORAD's system of security just long enough to allow 4 hijacked planes over the course of 2 hours to fly anywhere they desired without, at least, attempted intervention? And are we to believe that any foreign government can just sit at their computers and force us to elect anyone they want us to elect? If we answer yes to these two questions, then our national security is not in very good hands at all.

    Another obvious question is, what would have been so hard about increasing penalties or stiffening laws against publishing fake news (propaganda) in our MSM? This could have been done early on with the advent of social media. But our executive and legislative branches have ignored it for around 20 years. Instead of the government trying to regulate social media as it wants to do now, how about strongly regulating and punishing supposed real news sources instead?

    Social media is for the people. It's gossip, fantasy, opinion, entertainment and even sometimes truth. In a true democracy, it cannot be fairly regulated other than for sexual or violent content by the government. The government wants to regulate or observe social media for political and religious content that may tend to incriminate them.

    The Hillary and Trump show is not Russia's creation. Nor is it our creation through social media. It's a dysfunctional government creation. It's simply time for someone with integrity in our government to step up and say, "yes our system is broken, and it's working against the people---we need to fix it with the truth".

    1. Fake News all around us; on 9/11 building 7 was pulled.

    2. Truthseeker,
      Thanks for reading and commenting.

      You pose a variety of interesting thoughts and comments. As for 9/11, you are correct that the media didn't come up with the reasoning for the collapses (that was NIST), however, they did their usual job in simplifying the story to the point that it caused doubt in many people's minds. The official report cited numerous causes for the collapses of WTC 1 & 2 and jet fuel was among them. Jet fuel was not cited as a cause of the WTC 7 collapse, but FIRE was.

      Regardless, the point we can both agree on is that the media is quick to accept the government's explanation of a story, especially when it fits a narrative they like. Recall that the media was on board with WMD in Iraq -- before they weren't!

      Prosecutor's decisions, as I mentioned, are accepted when they fit the narrative. I've mostly pointed to allegations of guilt, but the converse was true when Florida prosecutors decided that Jameis Winston shouldn't be charged -- despite finding his DNA on the victim. That case also included finding semen on the victim's anal swab but not being able to find DNA in the semen. Puzzling for sure. The media went with it.

      Does the government plant misinformation on social media? It's certainly possible. Misinformation/disinformation campaigns have been around for a long time "Remember the Maine" (1989, hat tip, Henry Chance) and certainly can serve political purposes.

      Finally, the odds are very long that someone is going to step up and demand that the media tell the truth. The bottom line is that the traditional media will simply be ignored by more and more people and will be replaced by alternative sources. We see that in print news and eventually it will happen to cable news.

    3. Well I guess there's one thing I can gather from these examples that you've given. It's just too easy for collusion to occur between the MSM and powerful entities and their individual members that have committed crimes. The powerful can threaten and pay to "adjust" the narrative. And it appears that the MSM is now just too compromised to turn back.

      This national chaos that's brewing over Trump as our president, IMO, is manufactured. And it's imperative that all of us, the people, realize this is a divisive operation to pit us against each other--white against people of color, democrat against republican, men against women, Christian against Muslim and many more false divisions. It is of the utmost importance that we do not gather in large groups and protest. The protesters, even if peaceful, will be incited to violence by those paid to do so. It doesn't matter that our anger is being channeled against each other, we can overcome this. Ignore the false divisions and realize we are one in the same.

      I've noticed that the term democrat is now mostly being replaced by the term "liberal" in MSM and hostile social media sites. And republicans are being called "gun nuts" or "bigots". And a new divisive term that's seemed to spring up recently for those that were forced to vote for Hillary is "snowflakes". This election was a forced false dichotomy. We were intentionally given and limited to two polar opposite candidates. The two main candidates (characters), had exaggerated stereotypical qualities attributed to the end extreme of their party. And each one was to appear a bit imbalanced---Hillary's menopausal temper, eye bugging, fainting, her maniacal laughter and smile. And Trump's angry red face with his big pie hole held in a moon-sized circle as he spews his borderline bigotry has sadly frightened innocent Hispanic children and their families during this Christmas holiday time.

      Hillary and Trump are put there to divide us against each other, as was Obama. They are not the real choices for us to identify with as Americans. We must identify with each other, regardless of race or party. Because, we are the abused and frightened citizens of a nation governed by self-serving elites that are now losing control of their criminal lies.

      What kind of government would do this to us at Christmas time? Is it a government that loves us all, or is it a government that despises us? In the true spirit of Christmas, the birth of Jesus Christ, we must NOT gather in anger and violence. We must let MSM/government finish out their filthy show with empty seats.

      9/11 was done to cover huge crimes of theft and money laundering on a global scale. And this election is being orchestrated by the same criminals that are involved in that murderous 9/11 distraction. We must not fight each other. Because we are the people, the meek, the deceived victims of the criminal elite.

    4. Uhh...what has this to do with the Sandusky debacle and holding people accountable for their lies and deception?? As I said earlier, NOBODY has attacked Fina and the OAG for their lies, suborning perjury, and manipulating victime. Nobody! Not the Paternos, not Anthony Lubrano, not John Zeigler...NOBODY. How the hell is anybody going to get to the truth if you don't start holding people accountable for their lies???

    5. GV: I'm not sure if you're asking me or Ray "what has this to do with the Sandusky debacle?". And I'm not sure what you mean by "this", but I'll give you my opinion on what I think you're asking: I posed a question back in November on Ray's "Election 2016--No Surprise, Media Wrong Again". My question was, " Ray and Barry, neither of you or your readers and contributors have something to say about the release of the heavily censored Doug Gansler report or the extra 5 million just given to Mike McQuerry?". No one answered me. But my point was to show that this Trump/Hillary debacle was now the new, larger debacle that completely overshadows the Sandusky debacle.

      All of my writing about 9/11 as a massive debacle to cover the many crimes of our criminal elite "leaders" should show you the pattern that is used to lead us away from their crimes once we begin to get too close to the truth. It's the "oh what a tangled web we weave" analogy--deception.

      It's clear to me that something is giving way in the tangled web of lies woven by the criminal cabal of the military/industrial complex. I'm sure you can admit that our media and our "leaders" are behaving very strangely. They appear to be in a state of agitation that shows itself before the onset of insanity. All the main "players" of 9/11 are surfacing again---Giuliani, Trump, Cheney discussing Trump's so-called policies, GW Bush swaying, laughing and dancing at a somber funeral event for fallen officers, and 8 years of Obama never bringing up our scientists' new discoveries of 9/11, like it never happened. Instead, the lot of them are sinking into madness with Trump at the helm of their Good Ship Insanity.

      Remember, Jesus in his extremely powerful Sermon on the Mount explained, "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth". What we're seeing is the beginning of our inheritance. Those that are humble and have allowed the Holy Spirit to lead them are of sound mind because they are virtuous. And those that have allowed the deception of evil to lead them are losing their minds and will no longer be capable of holding positions of power. The Lord truly does work in mysterious ways, and this is how he will defeat evil on earth. In a sense it is an evolutionary split in the human conscience. Jesus knew that not all would have eyes to see, and not all would have ears to hear. But he tried to teach us that we must embrace the Holy Spirit to contribute to, and be part of mankind's triumph over evil.

    6. Truthseeker,
      Unfortunately, it has been a very busy time for me over the last few months and I wasn't able to weigh in on the Gansler report or the latest in the McQueary debacle.

      Obviously, what Beemer did with the Gansler report was just another example of PA's corruption -- more protection for the corrupt. The irony, of course, was the Beemer claimed that the report was unfair because it took emails out of context -- when his entire case against PSU officials rests on emails taken out of context.

      As for McQueary's award...believe it or not, I'm siding with the judge on the $5 million award. While I don't agree that McQueary was fired for "whistleblowing," he was wrongfully suspended from his job. The PSU BOT firing of JVP, Spanier, and the other personnel moves in the wake of the grand jury presentment were all WRONG. Had responsible adults been in charge, everyone would have kept their jobs and PSU would have pushed back mightily against the false narrative.

      Interestingly, Obama has been one of the most divisive Presidents in recent history in terms of race relations and, more lately, police relations. The divisions after the election are EXACTLY what Putin and the Russians had hoped would happen -- no matter who got elected.

      I agree that much of the hysteria over the Trump election is manufactured. Once again, the electoral college vote showed how the media played up a scenario that had no chance of happening. I recently checked on Facebook (!) on the status of the One Million Woman march scheduled for January 21st. About 250K signed up right now, so a large throng will show up in Washington DC (unless the weather is unbearable, then it might not be so big).

      In closing, the only way to stay sane through all of this is to believe that each of us can make a difference and to keep on working at it.

      Merry Christmas!

    7. Ray,
      Thank you for responding to my two previous questions. I just don't know how Bruce Beemer's wife can stand to be around him. And I don't know how Beemer can look his kids in the eye this Christmas and feel good about himself. If his wife wakes up to the fact that Bruce is siding with corruption and not protecting children, he will most likely find himself alone and without his family whose values he clearly takes for granted. Protecting hate and porno-swappers in state government and protecting those that hid Second Mile's wrong-doing against children is not an admirable quality to have at all. In fact, it's down right immoral.

      Mike McQueary was no whistleblower for sure. And IMO, he was suspended from his job to keep him from publicly contradicting the Tom Corbett false rape story that McQueary admitted was a twisted presentment of his words. Who knows, Mike may have been coached as to the outcome of the suspension. He may have been told that Penn State has deep pockets and he'll get his "fortune" in due time if he remains quiet. Basically Mike McQueary was bribed and then rewarded with Penn State's money. Not for Penn State's alleged unfairness to him, but for staying with the corruption plan and pretending PSU did him wrong. Just another way to financially attack PSU via fraud and have them pay for their own undoing. Sound familiar? The Freeh report was fraud paid for with the university's money. And the unvetted payouts to Second Mile's child victims, whether they be real or fake, with millions in PSU's money was fraud. The extra 5 million to Mike McQeary is still more fraud with Pennsylvania's corrupt judiciary making it all happen. It is plainly and simply a coordinated, illegal financial assault on the University and Graham Spanier---punishment for not firing climate scientists employed by PSU.

      As for Obama, I agree completely that Obama has been the most divisive President we have ever seen. But he is a Neocon plant misrepresented as the "liberal hope" candidate. He was put in after 9/11 to further deceive this country. He is a misrepresentation of what is actually hurting us. What better way to do it? He's black, he's suspiciously apathetic to Christian holidays and he always seems to avoid acknowledging acts of terror as Muslim extremism. Even though these acts are actually just false flag events made to blame Islam. And of course, Obama's middle name is Hussein, same as that infamous character, Saddam Hussein.

      The end goal for big oil and our military is to invade and actually take possession of oil-rich nations. Sound familiar? Trump's statement to get elected was "you may find out that Saudi Arabia did 9/11". No, they didn't do 9/11. Neither did Iran or Iraq do 9/11, but they all have a lot of oil. And our sick leaders want that oil, and will lie to us and kill many innocent people to get it. Instead of supporting PSU and President Spanier in the pursuit of a renewable energy that will last us indefinitely, we have to endure more of the global military/industrial complex's fake news, fake terrorism, fake sex scandals and fake government.

      You are right Ray, we can all stay sane and make a difference if we keep questioning and working on the bigger picture that I just explained. It is an illusion and it is an especially cruel one to impose upon us at this time of year. I think about the children that Trump has frightened, and I think about the injuries and deaths he is likely causing and will continue to cause, and I wonder if he cares? There is no difference in Hillary, Trump, and Obama. None of them give a damn about the people that make up this once-great nation of ours.

      Yes, Merry Christmas to you too Ray. It's a sad time for us, but there is still hope for those that believe in and seek the truth.

    8. For the edification of those interested in the absolute truth about what is happening in this country and who and what is actually behind the manufactured chaos and confusion, go to and read, "Christian Zionism" and "Psychopaths, Secret Societies and the New World Order".

      If you feel like something just hasn't been right with the way the world and its "events" are being portrayed in the MSM, then you owe it to yourself to read these two articles. We are being completely hoodwinked into believing the end times are here by these Cultists known as Christian Zionists and Jewish Zionists. Their's is a message of deceit, chaos, confusion and fear---an apocalyptic doctrine of false prophecy. The true message from God and Jesus Christ is one of hope, truth and renewal---not doom and falsely generated hatred towards Israel's perceived enemies.

      Judaism and Christianity are not what is wrong, it's Zionism that is causing the delusional cultist manipulation of innocent people through falsely created events portrayed as MSM news.

  2. Ray, unlike many of the cases you have cited, Sandusky WAS convicted of the felony "Unlawful Contact" in regard to the 2001 incident (along with several misdemeanors).

    1. JJ,
      Thanks for reading, however, your comment is irrelevant to this post.

      The media and OAG trumpeted that a RAPE was witnessed. That caused the furor and it was absolutely false -- and the jury confirmed it.

      If that incident was reported accurately -- that the eyewitness wasn't sure what he saw -- then it's not going to be a sensational story.

    2. There was not sufficient evidence to prove Involuntary Deviate Sexual Intercourse (IDSA), but there WAS enough evidence to charge it and to send it to a jury. The jury "confirmed" or rather "found" that there was improper contact.

      In some of the other cases you have noted, there was no criminality. In the case of the 2001 incident, there was criminality proven. That is the relevance, a false analogy.

      There is wide gulf between "fake news" and "not enough evidence to prove IDSA beyond a reasonable doubt."

    3. JJ - There is very little evidence required to indict when a grand jury is used because it is heavily rigged in the prosecution's favor. The Sandusky grand jury did not indict initially but the prosecution could keep coming back again and again.

      Chief among the fake news in the Sandusky case was the grand jury presentment falsely claiming that McQueary told Paterno he witnessed anal intercourse. McQueary said he never used such language and never told Paterno specifics of what he saw.

      There was also a lot of fake news generated by the opinions misrepresented as facts in the Freeh Report. The media failed to fact check the Freeh Report and just accepted it as fact.

    4. Fiction. There was not only enough evidence to indict, but that, after McQueary's testimony, enough evidence to send it to a jury. That is a big difference.

      Ah, the OAG did not know about McQueary until November of 2010.

    5. JJ - You are pedaling fiction. Victim 1 reported to police in November 2008, and there was no arrest then.

      The Attorney General took over the case in March 2009 due to a conflict of interest with the Centre County DA. There was no arrest until Nov. 2011. Without McQueary's testimony, it is doubtful there ever would have been an arrest.

      The grand jury that indicted Sandusky never even heard McQueary testify because he testified to a previous grand jury. Perhaps the prosecutors merely read back McQueary's testimony to the grand jury that indicted. Given grand jury secrecy, we may never know.

    6. Tim, Victim 1 had no connection to PSU. The OAG's Office did not find out about anything that happened on campus until November 2010. McQueary testified in December 2010; Curley, Schultz, and Paterno testified on January 12, 2011. Spanier testified in April 2011.

      You can actually see the e-mail sent to the Centre County DA and forwarded to the OAG in November 2010 here:

      It is page 243.

    7. JJ - That is known information but it doesn't support your point.

      The grand jury is a tool of prosecutors to vilify a defendant with bad PR. There was no need for a grand jury in the Sandusky case. It was not a complicated case.

      It was an extremely poor investigation or the Attorney General would have discovered the 2001 and 1998 incidents in early 2009. All they had to do was talk to Sandusky's current boss (Raykovitz) or previous boss (Paterno).

    8. Moulton was not prosecuting, so were rule that out altogether.

      It was an extremely good cover-up, which is what took so long. The 1998 report was filed, but not as a police report; OAG did not get it until 1/3/11. If you know of the existence of a police report from 2001, please provide it.

      Raykovitz was never Sandusky's "boss." Paterno claimed not to have known about the 1998 incident (and possibly did not know what it was). They did subpoena Paterno, and he did confirm the report in 2001.

  3. Ray - I don't have much faith in any Facebook system of fact checking. We already have several organizations fact-checking politicians, and their results are largely ignored.

    Most people tend to believe what they want anyway.

    This year there have been numerous reexaminations of the Jon Benet murder case and the OJ Simpson verdict on their 20th anniversaries. Maybe about 2031, we will see something like that for the Sandusky case.

    1. Tim,
      Thanks for your comment. See my response to Philip (below) about the fact checkers.

      I think there's going to be a re-examination of the Freeh Report relatively soon.

  4. I thought we already tried this? In the various blogospheres such as Penn Live? We were overrun by zealots intent on bashing Paterno and the Penn State culture. We were policed by the 'authorities' on those sites such that any points we may have made were censored. Fake news was rammed down our throats if I recall. We were intentionally portrayed as though we 'just didn't get it'.

    You'll excuse me for doubting that the current media policing anything on the internet is responsible enough to decide on what is or is not fake news. The only hope there is for any of this is the proliferation of alternate news sites, some of which are questionable in nature. Yes there will be those who blindly believe what is proffered there. That works both ways. We will have to rely on the average Joe making an informed decision on the content he consumes but at least the various views will be represented.

    1. Philip,
      Thanks for your comments.

      Penn Live wants nothing to do with the truth because they were one of the biggest beneficiaries of the lies. Besides, the comment sections of newspapers are there for added "click-bait."

      While the newspapers won't actually be policing the web, Facebook will employ some fact checkers that have dubious credentials. That is were things could go awry for sure.

      My point is that being able to flag news stories as false is certainly a better option than slugging it out in the comment sections or having no option at all.

  5. Just an editorial note...The Atlanta Olympics episode referenced in the article was in 1996, not 86. As a whole, the events are effectively listed, and relevant.