Monday, July 2, 2012

Paterno family accuses CNN of “smear” campaign

image Through an attorney, the family of the late Joe Paterno released the following statement, in which they accuse CNN and/or the source of selected emails of smearing the one-time legendary coach.

Here is the statement, emphasis mine:

From the moment the Jerry Sandusky crisis erupted, Joe Paterno patiently and persistently called for a thorough and professional investigation. He abhorred the rush to judgment that occurred last November and he spoke out forcefully for a comprehensive review that protected no one while preserving due process for everyone.  Coach Paterno emphasized that the best way to serve the victims and protect the reputation of Penn State was by a total commitment to uncovering the full truth.

With the leaking of selective emails over the last few days, it is clear that someone in a position of authority is not interested in a fair or thorough investigation. To be clear, the Paterno family does not know the source or sources of these leaks.  The question that needs to be asked is why this breach of confidentiality, which seeks to preempt the Freeh report and undermine the courts, is not being objected to or otherwise addressed by those in a position of authority. It should not be the responsibility of the Paterno family to call for an honest, independent investigation. Given the seriousness and complexity of this case, everyone should be demanding the full truth, not just carefully selected excerpts of certain emails.

Releasing these emails in this way is not intended to inform the discussion but to smear former Penn State officials, including Joe Paterno. The truth is Joe Paterno reported the 2001 incident promptly and fully. He was interviewed by the Grand Jury for a total of 8 minutes and told the truth to the best of his recollection. He was never interviewed by the University. He was not afforded due process and his story was never fully told.  And he was never allowed to see the files and records that are now in question. In spite of these facts, however, numerous pundits and critics are exploiting these disconnected and distorted records to attack Joe Paterno.

Accordingly, the Paterno family today is calling on the Freeh Group and the Attorney General's office to immediately release all emails and records they have related to this case.  The public should not have to try and piece together a story from a few records that have been selected in a calculated way to manipulate public opinion. Joe Paterno didn't fear the truth, he sought the truth. His guidance to his family and his advisors was to pursue the full truth.  This is the course we have followed for 9 months. It is the course we will follow to the end.

Again, I point to the well researched post from LivingCrimson last November, which indicated that Joe Paterno not only knew what was going on, but did nothing to stop it and only began calling for the truth once everyone knew what he did.

That said, never, ever EVER put it past the media to cherry-pick confidentially sourced information to drive a narrative they’re interested in. To put it mildly, CNN is struggling mightily as a going news organization. What was once one of the most trusted sources in news has become a watered down TMZ.

The Paterno family is still in mourning, as is much of the Penn State family of students, boosters and alumni. The Sandusky trial reopened a lot of wounds and while the emails CNN says they’ve reviewed show a massive coverup, remember that CNN is the only entity to have reviewed the material.

Paterno’s family is well justified in calling for the release of all correspondence, and CNN and/or their source should comply.

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