I can’t believe that I am actually doing this, but I am about to defend the big-screen TV in the HUB.
Once the Freeh press conference was over, one of the stories to emerge off the beaten path regarded the television system in the “Penn State student center.” The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Melissa Dribben reported that as the report was about to be announced, the televisions went blank and then turned to public access television. One first-year student, Mary Krupa, wondered if the administration had engaged in a conspiracy to prevent students from learning about the Freeh Report. Students tried to change the channel, but the individual in control of the remote could not be reached because of a meeting. Deadspin, CBS Sports and Big Lead Sports all picked up the story.
Clearly this is a sign of foul treachery.
No. No it is not. Yellow journalism has once again inspired “journalists” to write unsubstantiated rumors about Penn State culture. Here is my account. I arrived at the first floor of the HUB around 8:30 and went to the helpdesk. I asked the clerk if someone could change the channel to PCN when Louis Freeh’s press conference would start at 10:00. He nodded and said someone would do it. For the next half-hour, I listened to the banter from bottom-of-the-barrel anchors of the CNN morning program. They chatted about sharks, movies, and Romney’s appearance at the NAACP. At 8:59, a blue screen of death emerged on the screen, and it changed to PCN in anticipation for the press conference an hour later. For the visiting reporters and freshmen, it must have been a shock for them to learn that one does not simply change the HUB TV. While they were running around like headless chickens, I took the time to read the Freeh Report.
There was no plot afoot. Whomever was in charge of the television at the time knew that s/he would be in a meeting, and left the TV on a channel that was guaranteed to have the press conference. CNN never assured its viewers it would air Freeh’s presentation or the question-and-answer portion. If the supervisor had left on news’ worldwide leader (currently ranked third), the audience would have been delighted to an hour of jumped conclusions from the same network that informed us that Healthcare Reform had been fully repealed.
There was no plot to prevent students from learning about the Freeh Commission’s report. It’d be foolish for the university to engage in a cover-up at this point, and even more foolish to think that the Penn State administration doesn’t know this by now. For once, the HUB TV is the target of uncalled for criticism.