"Joe Paterno was a liar."

By Jason Priestas on July 12, 2012 at 5:03p

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Irricoir's picture

Sort of on subject and previously posted on the freeh report Buckshot:
Knight, who called Paterno his hero, received the loudest ovations of the day as he criticized the school's board of trustees and other leaders. He painted Paterno as free of guilt in the entire Jerry Sandusky scandal.
"Whatever the details of the investigation, this much is clear to me: If there is a villain in this tragedy, it lies in that investigation, not in Joe Paterno's response," Knight said. He later earned roaring cheers by listing Paterno's accomplishments and then asking, "Who is the real trustee at Penn State University?"

I don't always take names when I kick ass but when I do, they most often belong to a Wolverine.

mr.green's picture

Jenkins nails it.

SonOfBuckeye's picture

Jenkins is a source greasing sycophant who finally turned on Paterno only because he's no longer professionally useful to her.
Top comment over at the WaPo:

...no one let Paterno off the hook more than you did, Sally.  
"Try to forgive Joe Paterno: When he looked at Jerry Sandusky, he didn’t see a dirty old man in a raincoat. He saw a friend, a close colleague, and a churchy do-gooder. He saw a nice guy. You’d have seen the same thing. " - Sally Jenkins, 11/08/11 
"Underneath the tension is the complicated knowledge that if Sandusky is guilty, he was as good at seducing the adults as he was the children" - Sally Jenkins, 1/14/12
You let him off the hook, Sally. You took a dive to get The Big Interview - to get the page views. You wrote a column full of apologist garbage, and it got you the Paterno interview. You were the only journalist to get a chance to talk to him, and you fell for the same Naive Joe routine he played you guys with for decades. You tossed him softballs, and dutifully jotted down his answers. No follow up questions, no journalism - just dictation. You blew it.

NC_Buckeye's picture

Good catch, SOB. IMO no D-I coach got the benefit of the doubt more than Paterno. Paterno made a living off of suckering the mainstream media. Remember the Paterno/Krzyzewski ESPiN special on ethics in college athletics. What a load of garbage!
If Jenkins lead off the article with what the commentor above said (essentially a retraction), she might get more respect.
I'm still going to save this article though. (Plus the comment you quoted.)

mr.green's picture

I understand the criticism, but if you ask a person a question to his face and he lies to you, why should you know that the answer was a lie? As she was talking to him days before he died, why would she not believe him? Why would that not be a scene that would move her to believe him?  Until there is proof -- until the Freeh report makes the 1998 connection --  there was little reason for a responsible columnist (she's not an investigative reporter) to call him out. 
But because she asked those questions to his face -- because she got the interview no one else was going to get -- we know he is a liar and manipulator and a phony who went to the lowest depths of humanity to create an image for himself and his program that for all we know was 180 degrees from what actually was happening. 
More is going to come out before this is over, but to say she took a dive to get page views is BS. 
The column IS a retraction of columns written when she believed a man who would lie to her on his death bed.  Her regret for those words comes through clearly.

BuckDavis's picture

I do agree it seems a little harsh to drill her about it considering she's a columnist and not a reporter. At the same time, I can get some of the criticism. I don't remember everything from her interview with him, but the biggest complaint about it back then was that she really didn't press him on some of his more questionable answers, such as when he said he didn't even know about such a thing as "rape and a man." She alludes to these issues in the new column, saying he didn't always give "lucid answers" to her questions, but the criticism is that she really let him get away with some things in that interview.

SonOfBuckeye's picture

mr.green:  I understand the criticism, but if you ask a person a question to his face and he lies to you, why should you know that the answer was a lie?

No one expects her to shout "liar" in his face, but at a minimum she could have shown some ordinary journalistic scepticism and asked him hard followup questions.  McQueary told Paterno about Sandusky committing some sort of sexual impropriety on a kid in a campus facility, and Paterno supposedly never (over a decade) asked anyone about the progress/resolution of the case after notifiying the AD.  This isn't plausible, and it cries out for further examination by the journalist who has Paterno sitting in front of her.

mr.green:  ...to say she took a dive to get page views is BS. 

She wrote at least one ridiculously sympathetic column about Paterno before getting the interview, which seems to be what convinced him to talk only to her.  This is what I meant by "source greasing."  I don't know that she consciously took a dive, but that's what a lot of her regular readers (myself included) believe, based on the circumstances.

BuckDavis:  I do agree it seems a little harsh to drill her about it considering she's a columnist and not a reporter.

As a columnist she has even more leeway than a straight reporter to add her own opinion/interpretation to the facts, and less excuse for giving Paterno an uncritical pass.

mr.green's picture

You have to respect that there are different ways to do an interview like this: One is to ask hard follow up questions (that he likely will dismiss or deny) and maybe have hiim or his wife ask you to leave (it coud be a very short interview). Another is to let him talk about good things and bad things about his career over hours of interviews -- as she did -- and get as much as you can out of the subject: keep him talking and hope at some point he starts revealing something and then when he starts opening up you get the real story. He just never opened up.
Regardless, I think she got something important by doing it her way. And I think this column written this week is a gem.
Many of you are harsher critics than I and I respect that.