Sunday News editorial’s rush to judgment on Joe Paterno
“Say it ain’t so…But from leaked emails, it looks as if Joe Paterno was involved in covering up Sandusky scandal, and other Penn State ‘leaders,’ unbelievably, went along” is the July 8th heading to the Sunday News editorial.
Is that so? CNN had accurately reported an excerpt from a 2001 e-mail that Penn State’s athletic director Tim Curley had sent to Penn State’s president Graham Spanier about the “shower Incident“:
” ‘After giving it more thought and talking it over with Joe yesterday, I am uncomfortable with what we agered were the next steps.’ Curley allegedly wrote to Spanier. ‘I am having trouble with going to everyone, but the person involved.’ “
Joe Paterno did not write the e-mail. Nor does Curley say that he and Paterno had shared the same view. If he were speaking for Paterno, why didn’t Curley say “we” instead of “I”?
NewsLanc’s editor was perplexed by an article following the CNN report in the Sporting News that made a quantum leap in treating the excerpt as though it were a smoking gun. Rather than reporting on the Sporting News araticle which he considered little more than speculation, our editor rejected it and wrote the following to reporter Bill Keisling:
“I don’t know what the author is talking about. As I recall, the author is misrepresenting the CNN story. Also, the example given did go to the authorities.”
Keisling, who has written extensively and responsibly on the scandal, responded:
“At the moment, this entire email flap seems spurious. One mention of Paterno in a thid party’s email is not exactly unimpeachable evidence…”
Only at the conclusion of its long finger pointing editorial does the editor(s) of the Sunday News caveat:
“Still, the Paterno spokesman is correct when he says more information is needed beforre conclusions are drawn. Caution isn’t a bad thing.”
But even then, the bias spews forth with the follow up comment, this time besmirching not Paterno but his family:
“Unless, that is, it is excercised in the craven aim of protecting one’s own legacy over the greater good.”
It is premature for the Sunday News or others to cast aspersions on Paterno based on the excerpt from the Curley e-mail. The Sunday News should have practiced at the outset and throughout the bulk of its editorial rant the caution it gives lip serice to at the end. In fact, nothing yet has materialized that even merits an editorial.