Sandusky Who?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Last week, dozens of Facebook status' clogged up my newsfeed spouting opinions on the Penn State scandal. "JoePa" was flowing off the tongues of people who had never watched a college football game before in their life.

As the indictment news of multiple Penn State employees was revealed, media outlets went wild and the stories poured out- Joe Paterno involved in sex scandal. Joe Paterno to retire at the end of the season. Joe Paterno fired.

Wait, legendary coach Paterno sexually abused multiple boys in the showers at Penn State? Not the case, but if you would have been watching ESPN or any other station covering the scandal last week, it would be easy to think just that.

In the seemingly nonstop coverage of the scandal, Paterno was at the helm. The actual villian here, Jerry Sandusky, was given an almost-free pass from the media.

Sandusky, former coach for the Nittany Lions, was the one who abused those eight boys over multiple years. Mike McQueary, assistant coach, was the one who witnessed Sandusky molesting a young boy in the Penn State showers. Paterno is the one who is getting all the blame.

Now, understand this, I am in absolutely NO way trivializing what happened here or saying that Paterno was in the right by not making sure that Sandusky was punished for his inexcusable actions. In my opinion, all three of these men should be fired and held accountable for their actions, but I don't believe that the media coverage is providing fair coverage.

I would be willing to bet that a significant amount of people thought that Paterno was the alleged assaulter.

If Paterno was not the legendary coach that he is, and was let's say someone like Iowa State's Gene Chizik, would we be getting this same sort of coverage? Would we be hearing more about the president of the college also being fired along with the coach? I'd like to think so.

We, and the media, need to remember that this is bigger than football and bigger than Paterno, no matter how prolific he may be.


Political Figures Reporting the News

Recently, NBC News hired Chelsea Clinton, the daughter of Bill and Hillary Clinton, as a full time correspondent who will be reporting "feel-good features."

Hiring this highly-politicized character seems to be a publicity stunt and an attempt to boost ratings. Many journalists find it ironic Clinton is being hired to report the news when she has showed the press the cold shoulder in the past, refusing to ever be interviewed.

Clinton has no reporting experience and this makes NBC's hiring of her look like an attempt to captivate audiences with the use of famous figures, not professionals, as their reporters.

Additionally, some question whether Clinton can be seen as a trustworthy news reporter. Since both of her parents are active political figures, how can she be seen to present the news without biases? Won't people always associate her views with those of her parents?

Even though Clinton cannot escape being linked to her political family members, her starting role as "journalist" will keep her away from hard-news and politics. Clinton will be covering the fluff stories.

Clinton is not the first person from a political family to enter the world of journalism. In 2009, Jenna Bush Hager, George W. Bush's daughter was hired to NBC as a reporter. Is getting these political figures worth potentially harming the credibility of the station? Or do these women have the potential to break away from their parents' legacies and create their own?


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