Don’t believe everything the media tells you.
At first I was afraid to defend JVP. Then I read the Freeh report. Not just the executive summary written by a man who had a similar report for FIFA thrown out by a Swiss court for “case not proven”, but ALL the findings and evidence in the 267 page report and found it was FAR from conclusive.
While I never idolized coach (in fact I knew from growing up here he could be a stubborn ass at times), I did respect him and felt he deserved the benefit of the doubt given everything he had accomplished throughout his tenure. However, I was still weary of showing public support for fear of being made to look like a “hero worshiper”, “cultist”, or even a delusional townie by the media.
It was Friday July 20th and rumors were swirling that the statue was coming down. My wife and I wanted to get a picture with our 4 month old daughter and the statue before it disappeared. So we packed the baby up, hopped in the car and got up there around 1030 p.m.
At first it was somber. People were respectfully whispering to each other. Others were just staring in disbelief that it might really happen. A few photos were taken. Then I noticed a reporter with a mic and a camera on a tripod. He was asking the people gathered there questions. Some talked to him. Many didn’t.
All of the sudden a van roles up the street, parks and 11 people hop out and approach the statue for a photo op. The reporter volunteered to take the picture and as he snapped away he asked the people to do a “We Are” chant. They were hesitant and didn’t really want to participate. He egged them on and got half of a reaction out of them.
My wife and I started to get angry at this point. With the mic rolling he finally got them to say it loud enough that he can record it. As he snaps the final picture, the group turns to the crowd and says “We don’t even go here. We’re from Florida”. I was astounded. I had just witnessed first-hand a member of the media forcing people to fit into a narrative he had already written.
We had to walk away we were so upset. As my wife and I approached the car to leave we started to talk. “Who was that guy?” and “what was he up to?” were questions we asked each other. We decided to go back and just hang in the crowd and listen. He began talking to two girls that asked if he worked for the Collegian, to which he replied “no”. They were kind of whispering and we didn’t want to get caught eavesdropping so we slowly and casually crept closer.
Then it happened again. This time the reporter convinced the girls to try and lead the chant.
I lost it.
As one of the girls started to address the crowd with “hey guys, if we say “We Are”….” I cut in and told them that it was completely unacceptable to manipulate people that way. As the girls retreated, the reporter was drawn right to me, his glowing microphone partially hidden in his fanny pack. He claimed to be a student, but I didn’t believe him. No PSU student would behave that way. I told him to be respectful. I told him that the media is looking for any chance to embarrass our community. I told him this was neither the time nor the place to do something like that. I told him where to stick it.
Right then and there is when I decided that I wasn’t going to just roll over and simply accept everything the agenda driven media told me.
I hope people realize that this is not about defending JVP. It’s about the media twisting the truth into a story that generates web hits and advertising sales. It’s about ALL of us deserving a fair shake, something that only Jerry Sandusky has gotten up to this point. Not JVP, not PSU football and certainly not the hundreds of thousands of people that are STILL proud to call themselves PENN STATE.
-Nick Savereno PSU ’05