This morning, the Today Show on NBC aired an “exclusive interview” with Jerry Sandusky, which actually turned out to be an interview with controversial filmaker John Ziegler (who, full disclosure, has written for our sister site Mediaite), which included clips from his controversial documentary, The Framing of Joe Paterno. NBC has taken heat for airing the interview, and for the way it was promoted. Here’s the clip.
Pretty impressive job by Matt Lauer, at least to my untrained eye. But let’s catch up. What do we know, again?
The Freeh Report on Jerry Sandusky, Joe Paterno and the Penn State scandal told you that Jerry Sandusky was a pedophile doing horrific things on and off of Penn State’s campus, for a long time. It also told you that Joe Paterno had knowledge of at least some of Sandusky’s questionable activities, and did little to nothing for 13 years. People have judged Sandusky and Paterno accordingly.
But the Freeh Report had flaws, so the Paterno family set out to trash it with their own report. It did expose some of those flaws, but it didn’t really do anything to clear Joe Paterno’s name. Deadspin’s Dom Cosentino does a great job summing up the conclusions drawn from the Paterno Report.
That Penn State officials understood Jerry Sandusky was sexually abusing a child on university property as far back as 2001, but that no report was made to the proper authorities. And while no clear motive for their inaction has been established, it’s nearly impossible not to draw the conclusion that Joe Paterno didn’t do enough. Don’t believe me? Just ask the Paterno family. “It can be argued that Joe Paterno should have gone further. He should have pushed his superiors to see that they were doing their jobs.” That’s from the statement issued by the Paternos on the morning that Freeh released his report. They added: “We accept this criticism.”
But, for some reason, we have to keep hearing about this. And I don’t get Ziegler’s motives. He claims he’s not out for money, he’s just out for some nobler cause of clearing Joe Paterno’s name. He claims that “the media has an agenda… they don’t want to hear what the truth is… No one wants the truth here.” Ignoring the fact that humans instinctively do want the truth, that Joe Paterno’s involvement made sports media look bad, and the fact that his sensational statements will probably, sadly, make him significant money, his arguments really have no validity.
He also seems to want to expose Victim 2, who clearly would have done so already if he had any desire to. He says “Victim 2 was going to back up Sandusky.” Well, he didn’t and he hasn’t. It’s also unclear why he thinks spending a year of his life clearing a disgraced, deceased football coach’s name would be the noblest thing he can do. I may be crazy, but I’m pretty sure this dude wants some money.
And thank you, John Ziegler, for subjecting Today’s audience, and our readers, to Sandusky’s creepy statements and creepy laughs that did nothing to change our opinions.
“If they look at the three and a half hours of my interview with Jerry Sandusky and they believe that Joe Paterno was somehow culpable here, I will be stunned.”
After hearing that, I really hope nobody watches his documentary. Those few seconds of Sandusky were hard enough to listen to; I can’t even imagine listening to that for three hours.
Even the Paterno family wants nothing to do with Ziegler, which should tell you all you need to know.
I repeat, if John had a credible way to exonerate Dad, why would we oppose it? Think about that.
— Scott Paterno (@ScottPaterno) March 23, 2013
If anything noteworthy is actually revealed, we’ll be sure to clue you in. But I wouldn’t suggest watching this documentary, and hopefully, this is the last we’ll hear about these disturbing events. But it probably won’t be.