One year ago, our community went through one of the most tragic episodes of its history. For some Penn Staters, it felt like the media manipulated the Sandusky Scandal, and turned it into an attack on Joe Paterno.
John Ziegler, a conservative pundit, made the mini-movie “Framing Paterno” to push back against the media’s perceived crusade against due process and a manipulation of facts. He and a handful of Penn State almuni and professors, as well as Joe Amendola, break down where reporters got the facts wrong regarding one of the most storied coaches and programs in the history of college football.
In the movie’s opening sequence, Ziegler highlights the fallacies that the media promoted in the week after the scandal broke. These misconceptions allowed the public to draw conclusions not based on the truth. Ziegler argues that the news machine was more interested in the emotion than in facts — in pathos over logos.
Ziegler notes that the media could have made Joe Paterno into a hero, when a prosecutor in the Attorney General’s office told Sara Ganim that the coach had been “acting appropriately” and “did the right thing.” However, that didn’t assuage the media’s bloodlust, which was more interested in turning an iconic figure into a villain.
Franco Harris, Anthony Lubrano, and Christian Marrone are some of the high-profile alumni whom Ziegler invited to express their opinions. The men could not believe that the Board of Trustees caved to media pressure and fired Joe Paterno. Harris also criticized the state Attorney’s General office for, in his eyes, sensationalizing the sexual assault witnessed by Mike McQueary. By including the words “anal intercourse,” which McQueary never saw, the Commonwealth allowed the media to use misconstrued notions to build its story.
The mini-movie also serves as a character assault on Mike McQueary. Marrone, McQueary’s former roommate in the 1990’s, and Andrew Pitz, who was an Academic All-American for Penn State from 2005 to 2008 assert that McQueary was untrustworthy and a troublemaker in his college years.