Category Archives: Penn State Scandal

Jerry Sandusky, John Ziegler and the Shame of “Today”

This week’s Philly Post column is about the Today Show interview with Jerry Sandusky, brought to the show by the noted bottom feeder/con man John Ziegler. There was quite a bit I had to say that didn’t fit in the column, here’s some of that below:

- Sandusky probably has the least credibility of any man on planet Earth. His word is worth dirt, probably less than dirt. It doesn’t matter what he said. And if that one minute was the best they could come up with from three hours of interviews, I don’t feel too hopeful about the rest of the footage.

- Perhaps NBC’s biggest misstep of all was getting into bed with a hack like Ziegler, who showed, like Andrew Breitbart and his various imitators, that the quickest way to get prominent media coverage is to constantly denounce the media. The media hates John Ziegler so much that they can’t stop inviting him onto their shows.

- The interview uses the words of a man who is definitely lying- Sandusky maintains his innocence, when he is not innocent- in order to impeach the credibility of the witness against him who we have no reason to believe is lying. It’s hard to imagine a single person on the planet watching that interview and coming out of it more sympathetic to Joe Paterno- or Jerry Sandusky, or John Ziegler- than they were at the start.

- The Sandusky interviews are supposedly from an upcoming, feature-length version of “Framing Paterno,” Ziegler’s scummy little YouTube mini-movie, which heavily borrowed both its structure and musical cues from the 9/11 Truth conspiracy genre. I reviewed it here last November; among numerous faults in its argumentation, the biggest was that not a single person interviewed on camera could spare a single word of sympathy for any of the children abused by Sandusky, or acknowledge that maybe this saga has victims who aren’t named Joe Paterno.

- I may not agree with much of what the Paterno family has done in the past year or two, but to their credit, they’ve been out front on the issue of sexual abuse prevention. And, also to their credit, they’ve loudly distanced themselves from Ziegler’s dubious injection of Sandusky into the debate.

- Ziegler, more recently, has taken to defending and advising the football coach in the horrific Steubenville rape case, an old buddy and book subject of his. I can only assume that, in 1988, Ziegler went to see the movie “The Accused” and rooted out loud for the acquittal of Jodie Foster’s assailants.

- More news since I filed: Ziegler named Victim 2 on his site, kept it up for eight hours, claimed he was hacked, and then published perhaps the least sincere non-apology apology in recent history.

And finally, here’s a great piece by Tim Baffoe, that really gets to the heart of Ziegler’s loathsome M.O.:

“He’s a hell of a lot smarter than the people who slobber all over him because he’s their last glimmer of hope twinkling off of Coke-bottle glasses that JoePa Claus is real. In taking an argument concerning a dead guy, he’s found an angle in which he can’t exactly lose, and that’s how many arguments, nefarious as they may be, are “won.” See, logically Paterno deserves blame, but Ziegler’s is an emotional appeal to the slackjaws, and reason always loses to makin’ the willfully ignorant feel good. He knows this, just as any televangelist knows this. Now go on and hand over your money for the Lord… I mean, help fund his documentary, Framing Paterno. The film is in perpetual infancy due to people not forking over money (can’t imagine why), but certainly it will crack open the truth that the bad people are keeping from those who really believe Paterno pooped jellybeans and sunshine.”

Steubenville, Schachter and Looking the Other Way

This week’s Philly Post column is on a couple of instances of adults looking at the facts of rape and abuse cases and pretty egregiously taking the wrong side. There’s CNN’s coverage of the Steubenville verdict, and the comments by Yeshiva University scholar Rabbi Hershel Schachter about child sexual abuse.

I don’t know what it is about cases like this that drive me crazy- maybe it’s being a father. But I just don’t understand the moral depravity that leads one to side with an abuser over a victim.

The JoePa Movie: One More Thought

A great comment on my Philly Post piece, left anonymously: 

As Wallace pointed out in “Host”, sometimes Ziegler says things that even he’s not sure he believes himself. He’s a huckster who is playing Paterno loyalists the same way he played Palin fans. 99% of everyone familiar with the case has drawn their conclusion that Paterno was guilty of inaction, of not caring about Sandusky’s victims, of placing the football program and his own glory above the safety of children. But, that tells Ziegler that 1% out there will agree with him , attend his low-budget shlockumentary, and will make him some cash. Make no mistake about it, John Ziegler doesn’t care about Joe Paterno, Jerry Sandusky, Gary Schultz, Graham Spanier, Tim Curley, Mike McQueary, or any of the children who were victimized by Sandusky. He cares about one person, and that is John Ziegler. Consummate huckster, carnival barker, and manipulator of the feeble-minded. Contemptible is the word. If there is a more despicable bit-player in the Penn State scandal than John Ziegler I have yet to see him.

As an aside, DFW was one of my favorite writers ever, and he’s still very much missed. Sounds like he had Ziegler exactly right.

The Case Against the Paterno Birthers and Truthers

I wrote a column for The Philly Post Wednesday in which I reviewed “Framing Paterno,” a new mini-movie which argues that Joe Paterno did nothing wrong. In the film neither the director, John Ziegler, nor any of the people he interviews express the slightest bit of outrage or anger that numerous children were molested. It’s all about JoePa.

I’m generally content to let what I wrote speak for itself, but answers to a few questions I’ve gotten so far: I’ve reviewed hundreds of movies over the years, and never felt the need to call the director before writing my review, yes I read the Freeh Report, yes it contains “damning emails,” no, I was not as good a football player as Franco Harris, yet I’m confident that I’m right here and he’s wrong.

To those who contacted me, I quote George Orwell:”To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle.”

I have donated the fee I was paid for writing the article to RAINN (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network), and I encourage others to support that worthy cause as well.