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I have a really hard time with people who claim to be crusaders for the conservative cause but who are really only in it for either personal and/or economic aggrandizement. In my media career I have found that vast majorities of the elite among conservative politicians and media stars fit into this pathetic category. One of the most aggravating aspects of the heat I have taken over the past year for my efforts to shine light on the injustice of the media coverage of the 2008 election is that I often get accused of being one of those who only craves personal attention and has less than pure motives (which considering I was a long time radio talk show host, a career infested with such scoundrels, I can actually begrudgingly understand).
To me, now more than ever, the conservative movement must purge itself of those in its “leadership” who are not worthy of the cause they claim to champion. Over the past year I have begun to suspect that David Keene, the head of the American Conservative Union and the Chairman of CPAC (the largest annual gathering of conservatives) may fit into this category.
I have spoken at the last three CPACs and it always seemed pretty obvious to me that the vast majority of speaking slots and agenda items were determined by factors that had nothing to do with relevance, talent, worthiness, or benefit to the movement. Instead it was clear that personal relationships and donations/sponsorships ruled the day. Human nature being what it is, I hardly found this surprising and mostly put it in the “annoying” category.
That began to change earlier this year when, because I was promoting my just released documentary “Media Malpractice,” I was a co-sponsor of CPAC. As part of that designation I flew from Los Angles to Washington twice to attend planning meetings (including once the day after my grandfather’s funeral). At both of these affairs I raised the issue of “sellouts” to the movement being given prime speaking roles and there seemed to be general agreement that this was a bad idea. At one meeting David Keene clearly indicated to the group that this would be taken care of. However, when the schedule came out, the names I had specifically mentioned had indeed been given plum roles and, while I can’t prove it, all signs point to economic reasons motivating these decisions to reward people who are clearly bad for the cause.
I will fully acknowledge that I felt badly mistreated by the selection process, but that did not influence my perception of that procedure, but rather only made it easier for to see and voice what I have witnessed about its obvious flaws. But the ultimate tipping point for me came a few months ago when David Keene made some statements about Sarah Palin after her resignation that sounded like they could have easily come from Keith Olbermann and not an extremely influential conservative leader.
Keene claimed she was “whining” about media coverage, “bitter,” “resentful,” had “bailed out” on her governorship, and was not ready for the “major leagues.” He also mocked her inability to appear at this year’s CPAC (not that I am implying this had anything to do with his motivation!).
As someone who has dedicated their lives over the past year to trying to correct the historical record about Sarah Palin, almost nothing infuriates me more than having a “conservative’ buy into the media lies about her, especially when they don’t seem to know all the basic facts. But when that person is the head of the ACU and CPAC it is particularly maddening because Palin bashing from someone like that essentially provides cover for anyone else who wants to take an unfair shot at her. For all intents and purposes Keene was acting as an accomplice, after the fact, for a public lynching.
Then I learned of a couple of extreme ethical lapses by Keene in the realm of his personal political allegiances and his political lobbying firm.
Politico reported that it certainly appeared as if the ACU (through a letter from Keene deputy Dennis Whitfield, with whom I had met in 2008 about potentially funding part of “Media Malpractice”) was offering Federal Express Keene’s op-ed support on a legislative issue if they paid ACU a couple of million dollars.
I also became aware of a 2003 National Review article (subtitled, “The ACU Chairman Sells Out”) which focused on his support for then liberal Republican Arlen Specter who was long-time Keene “friend” and, coincidently I am sure, the head of a senate committee in front of which Keene’s lobbying firm regularly does business.
It also turns out that Keene gave Specter (now a key Democrat) $2,000 as late as the 2008 election cycle. For sake of complete disclosure, I have been very open about having given money to a Democratic friend currently in congress, but I am not the head of the American Conservative Union and I have been very clear that my “support” was not an attempt to back up my friend’s non-existent conservative credentials.
So, with this as the backdrop, I went to Western CPAC in Newport Beach this past weekend as a scheduled speaker and an exhibitor. I also went with the full intention of getting David Keene to address at least some of these issues.
It became clear to me that the best way to do this was, rather than going way off the topic of my speaking panel (I was there to talk about my arrest at USC’s Katie Couric journalism award ceremony) and making an unnecessary scene that probably wouldn’t even make sense, was to get an interview with David Keene. Keene agreed to do a sit-down interview and the guys from Orange County Films (who had videotaped the Couric episode) volunteered to shoot whatever happened that day.
Here is the three part video of what transpired, which was edited by Orange County Films.
The two men not clearly identified in this video are Jon Fleischman from flashreport.org and Gary Kreep who moderated the panel I was supposed to be on. Gary, I later found out, is a big-time “Birther.” So Birthers were more welcome to appear at WCPAC than people who ask David Keene tough questions in an interview to which he willing agreed!
For the record, contrary to what WCPAC claims here, I had absolutely no intention of “disrupting” the panel I was scheduled to be on. All I wanted to do was to get David Keene to explain himself, which I had already tried to do. I didn’t make the “scene,” David Keene did.
I am sure that there will be those who will wrongly think that I did this for personal attention. Those that know anything about me understand this is not the case. I will gain absolutely nothing from this and will likely lose quite a bit. My only goal was to try to shine light on the issue of whether David Keene as individual should be a leader in the conservative movement as well as this broader issue of far too many members of the conservative establishment being motivated by the wrong factors.
One of the reasons that I did this was that I am well aware that I am the only one who would be willing and able (or stupid enough) to do something like this to expose apparent frauds like David Keene and CPAC. I am also very well aware that I will likely fail in this attempt for some accountability.
This will largely be because many “conservative” commentators (some of whom personally witnessed at least part of what happened), who in a semi-rational world would jump all over this story, I am sure will turn the other way so as to not jeopardize their relationship with CPAC and their precious speaking spots. Ironically, this reality is a large part of how this situation was created to begin with. The conservative media protects a guy like Keene out of fear and then he actually begins to rationalize that he has done nothing wrong because, after all, almost no one has called him on any of it and there have been no repercussions at all.
This entire episode has greatly furthered my already strongly held belief that the vast majority of the conservative “movement” is “led” by fakes, flakes, freaks, frauds, phonies and sell outs who are far more interested in protecting their own little thiefdoms than promoting the cause. That may not surprise veterans of the political process and human nature, but I would still like to believe that the principles of freedom, liberty, limited government, national security and the constitution deserve much better than that.
There are many reasons why conservatism finds itself clinging to a quickly dying minority in America, and this issue is right at the top of the list. If I have given up my career in the movement to spark a change, it will be well worth it. Regardless, I know that, while I am hardly perfect, I have fought a just fight and always did what I thought was right.
In 2008, John Ziegler wrote, directed and produced the documentary “Blocking the Path to 9/11″ and created www.HowObamaGotElected.com as a precursor to his next film, “Media Malpractice… How Obama Got Elected,” which came out in early 2009 and screened in over 20 theaters. A trailer video for that documentary has been viewed by at least 2.3 million people on You Tube.
I went to USC to witness and ask questions about Katie Couric getting the Walter Cronkite journalism award for her interview of Sarah Palin. I intended to also give away copies of my film but I was literally prevented from doing so. I did not go there hoping for or expecting any sort of confrontation, especially with law enforcement. I am simply shocked and horrified by what happened here, as should every freedom loving American. I did absolutely nothing wrong and I was handcuffed, detained and literally abused by law enforcement at the event. The video below will speak for itself, but I will have plenty to say about this very disturbing episode.
Here is what people are saying about Meda Malpractice
"I just viewed your film. "You Nailed It"!!! There were even parts you covered from the primaries; I did not know about. One example is although, I knew about the "Lobbyist Letter" of McCain's " disappointment to Obama. I had NO IDEA there were "interviews" to back it up!! You covered the following from the primaries PERFECTLY: *The Wright issue, Bill Clinton & the "Fairytale" comment, Donna Brazile "1st" to say Racism (Although, J.Jackson Jr & Roland Martin were contenders for that spot), Gerry Ferraro, Hillary's "response to the Muslim" question & how she was set up, The "With-Holding" of results from the IN county to "Down-Play" her win. The General Election Coverage was "Spot-On" too. GREAT JOB!! You managed to show-case what "we" witness. "Without Injection yourself" into it. Well done!!" ~Toni T. (PUMA)
"This is a very good DVD. A number of times while viewing it, I almost punched a hole in my monitor. How dare the media decide who the nation should vote for is a very scary situation that should never happen." ~Charlie B.
"I ordered "Media Malpractice" seconds after learning it was available and I was thrilled to find it had finally arrived in my mailbox yesterday. I'm glad the response has been positive. After watching it with some friends last night (one in particular who supports Obama), I want to congratulate you on your amazing research, hard work and dedication to this project. You definitely have a great voice, both audibly on the radio, but also a great voice for explaining the complex situation America finds itself in with an entertaining style. I hope this project rewards you enough so that you can continue to make documentaries like these last two." ~Mark M.
" I just received my copy of Media Malpractice and reviewed it today. OUTSTANDING!!!! You really nailed it. Keep up the good work." ~Ed S.
As a critic of the modern media in general and the sports media in particular, and as a tournament golfer who has played in major golf championships and covered the Masters in person, I took a keen interest the reaction to the Tiger Woods “drop gate” controversy. I was suspicious that the unique conflicts of interests inherent in the relationship between the golf media and Augusta National Golf Club would create a stunting of the coverage of this major story and, unfortunately, my concerns were more than warranted.
Before I get into how CBS specifically blew it on this saga, let me first provide the details on what actually happened.
While leading the tournament on Friday, Tiger hit what appeared to be a perfect third shot into the par 5 15th green until it hit the flag stick and caromed off the green and into the pond in front of the hole. It was a crushingly bad break even before the chaos that the ensuing chain of events would create overnight because it turned a probable birdie into a situation where he would have to struggle for a bogie.
At that point Tiger had three basic options. He could go to the drop area in front of the pond, he could keep the point where the ball entered the water between him and the hole and drop as far back as he wanted, or he could replay the shot as close as possible from the previous spot.
It appeared at the time that Tiger decided to take the third option and replay the shot. He seemed to do so perfectly as he hit the ball to three feet from the hole and appeared to make a spectacular bogie six on the hole.
However, after the round Tiger told reporters something which proved that his drop broke the rules. Tiger said: "I went down to the drop area, that wasn't going to be a good spot, because obviously it's into the grain and it was a little bit wet. So it was muddy and not a good spot to drop. So I went back to where I played it from, but I went two yards farther back and I tried to take two yards off the shot of what I felt I hit."
The key portion there is “two yards farther back.” Tiger essentially (and apparently unwittingly) admitted that he purposely did NOT drop the ball as close as possible to the previous spot. Video of his fifth shot clearly shows that he was indeed about two yards behind the divot that his third shot created.
Ironically, if Tiger had never mentioned this in the interview after the round, not only would no one have noticed, but I would have among those who strongly objected to the notion of him being penalized at all for having taken the exact same drop. This is because the drop itself was actually theoretically okay (though it was on the borderline) because the rule book does not state a specific distance from the previous spot that is unacceptable. It only says as “near as possible.”
The problem is that Tiger’s post round comments made it clear that he purposely and with the intent of gaining a competitive advantage did NOT drop his ball as near as possible to the previous spot.
Unfortunately, because this mistake was not immediately known it was not corrected before Woods signed his scorecard. This meant that, if was later deemed that his drop was illegal, his scorecard would then be incorrect and in 100 percent of similar cases in the history of golf, the only remedy for that situation is disqualification.
When I first learned of this situation as it exploded on twitter late Friday evening, it seemed very clear to me that, by rule, Tiger would have to be removed from the world’s most prestigious tournament. However, I was also well aware that the decision would cause enormous controversy and that Augusta National may be tempted to find some sort of loophole in order to avoid what would be a catastrophe for the weekend television ratings (as I have written about previously, tournament officials have been known to bend the rules dramatically in Tiger’s direction).
As it turns out, Augusta National did exactly that in a way that would make a high-priced criminal defense attorney proud. They decided that Tiger did in fact break the rules and issued him a two-shot penalty, but then did a series of legalistic gymnastics in order to rationalize that he should not be disqualified.
They cited Rule 33-7 parts of which had been instituted recently in order to give tournament committees some discretion over whether signing an incorrect scorecard might not result in disqualification in “exceptional” cases. This was done for very clear and specific reasons after a rash of “high definition television” rulings created circumstances where players were being disqualified for violations which were beyond their powers of perception. It is obvious from reading the “rationale” and “examples” behind the adoption of Rule 33-7 that it specifically says basic rule situations like Tiger’s should NOT be eligible for the disqualification exemption.
Using Rule 33-7 to get the metaphorical camel’s nose under the tent, they then went about finding their “exceptional” circumstances. They said that they had made an initial “investigation” into the matter while Tiger was still on the course and that had determined, without the benefit of his post round “confession,” that no rule had been broken.
They then used this preliminary “not guilty” verdict as a way to “block” the disqualification remedy under the perfectly logical concept that it would not be fair to punish a player for not reporting a violation that the officials themselves deemed to not be an actual infraction.
However, there is a major problem with this line of thinking: they never spoke to Tiger about this until the following day. Therefore, their initial investigation was effectively irrelevant because it was not as if Tiger thought or asked about a potential infraction and was told he was in the clear before he signed his card. Had that happened, then the Masters would have been obviously correct in not later instituting a disqualification. But, for some odd reason (a rules official being too intimidated by Tiger to bother bringing up a subject that didn’t seem to be sure penalty?), they did not. This vital detail should have deflated the legalistic life raft that they were furiously constructing, but obviously that didn’t happen.
The ultimate “proof” that the ruling was wrong was that, after Woods finished his third round, he openly admitted that he had “made a mistake” with the drop and deserved the penalty. Sadly, no one in the press bothered to ask him the obvious next question which should have been, “if you made a mistake with the drop, then why shouldn’t you have been disqualified?” After all, making a “mistake” in the way you implement a drop is NOT supposed to be covered under Rule 33-7, which is clearly intended for situations where the player could not have possibly known they were in violation of the rules.
Here is the key provision: "A Committee would not be justified under Rule 33-7 in waiving or modifying the disqualification penalty prescribed in Rule 6-6d if the competitor's failure to include the penalty stroke(s) was a result of either ignorance of the Rules or of facts that the competitor could have reasonably discovered prior to signing and returning his score card."
This brings us to how CBS handled the situation when their Masters telecast finally began Saturday afternoon. They should get high marks for not trying to avoid the subject and for detailing the controversy extensively right from the start of the broadcast. Jim Nantz did a somewhat acceptable job (graded on a curve considering Augusta National’s well documented history of severely punishing commentators for sparking the ire of the club’s membership) of questioning the official who made the decision.
However, CBS never highlighted either of the key points which would have shed a totally different light on the controversy. They never even mentioned that Rule 33-7 was clearly never intended to cover such circumstances and they didn’t explain the significance of Tiger not being spoken to by officials before he signed his scorecard.
Then there was the completely bizarre behavior of lead CBS analyst Nick Faldo. In the morning while on The Golf Channel, Faldo was about as strong on this issue as anyone could possibly imagine. He expressed palpable disgust with the ruling and openly called on Tiger to do the “manly thing” and withdraw from the tournament immediately.
Knowing that CBS has been famously hesitant to criticize the Masters, I was sure there was no chance that Faldo would make the same case on the network telecast, but even I was completely shocked and appalled by Faldo’s dramatic change of heart.
He meekly claimed that he had, sort of, changed his mind because he had learned more about the timeline and about the preliminary investigation that had been done while Tiger was still on the course (it was unclear to me whether Faldo was aware that Tiger was not actually spoken to about this at that time, a key fact that many people, including some players who were asked about the incident, had a misimpression about).
It was all a bit like watching Rush Limbaugh rip President Obama on his radio show in the morning and then see him praising him on the same issue via MSNBC in the afternoon.
Faldo wasn’t the only CBS commentator to have a sudden change of heart. David Feherty was the first on television (via Friday’s late night highlight show) to suggest that Tiger had definitely broken a rule and that he very well could be disqualified. Then, during Saturday’s telecast he strongly implied that if you thought that Tiger should have been disqualified that you were wrong because so many people in the gallery were happy to see him play.
Saturday night Feherty tweeted, “To all who don’t get 33-7, Sorry. There is no cure for stupid.”
I immediately responded with a very legitimate offer of $10,000 for his Troops First Foundation if he could simply explain how Tiger’s situation fit within the written “rationale” of the rule, but, not surprisingly, I haven’t gotten a response. Considering Feherty was on the call for Tiger’s drop fiasco and badly butchered the description of what his options were, I am quite confident that he has never read the important details behind 33-7, which make it irrelevant to this case.
The problem here is far bigger than whether or not Tiger Woods should have been disqualified from a golf tournament. In the era of modern media the issue of conflicts of interest have never been more pronounced and their corrosive impact can been seen all over the coverage of this story. The situation is also emblematic of how we now live in a culture where, thanks largely to the media’s obsessive drive for ratings, what is popular (as Feherty articulated during Saturday’s broadcast) is deemed to be inherently “good” and more important than what is right.
There is no more incestuous relationship in all the media than that between CBS and Augusta National Golf Club (this is true of all golf media for whom the club provides the cherished opportunity to play the course the day after the tournament). The club famously renews its contract each year so that it maintains constant leverage over the network, allowing it to rule the content of the telecast with an iron fist. Bob Costas even criticized CBS just this week for having been notoriously soft on the club’s history of racism and sexism.
It is very obvious that the ghost of Gary McCord (who was banned for life from the Masters because he said the greens on the course had been “bikini waxed”) haunted all of those involved in the CBS coverage of this story. This resulted in their commentators losing any semblance of courage (which is already in shorter supply among members of the golf media than poor people in the Augusta gallery) and created a day that was at least as sad for what is left of sports journalism as it was for golf.
The Top 10 Truths Conservatives Don't Seem to Understand and Which Make Obama the Heavy Favorite
I doubt if there is anyone in America who wants President Obama to be denied a second term more than me. I am also confident that no one put themselves more personally on the line during and after the 2008 election cycle to make sure people understood how Obama really got elected, and that he was going to be reelected if nothing was done to expose the massive mainstream media bias to the masses.
Partially because the warnings of my film “Media Malpractice” were not heeded, it has long been my suspicion Obama would indeed be a two-term president. Unfortunately, now that the vast majority of the media has made it clear that they will be just as deep in the tank for Obama this time around, I am confident President Obama, barring a meltdown of NFL replacement referee proportions at the debates, will be reelected in a close election.
Having already explained why I think this is the likely outcome, I would like to examine why it is that so many conservatives appear to be nearly delusional about the current chances of beating Obama. I do this not as a condemnation of conservatives (most of whom are very good people who sincerely want what is best for the future of the country), but rather as simply as an explanation for the obvious and growing disconnect between reality and their expectations.
With that understanding, here are the top ten truths most conservatives don’t seem to understand about the 2012 campaign.
2010 Has Almost Nothing to Do With 2012
Conservatives tend to believe that the 2010 midterms showed that the majority of the country had “figured out” who Obama really was and had rejected him. That is simply a false presumption.
Unbeknownst to the conservative base (and many of those in the conservative media who are paid to feed their delusions), midterms are completely different from presidential elections.
First, turnout is much higher and different in a presidential election and this dramatically favors Obama. Secondly, the national media (which obviously favors Obama) has no real impact on a mid term election and local news barely covers congressional elections at all any more. Thirdly, in this case 2010 will actually work against Romney because there is now fear of what would happen if there was a Republican president with a “Tea Party” Congress which has already been thoroughly discredited in the mind of swing voters.
“Independents” in Polls Are Really Just Weak Republicans
Many conservatives are clinging to polling data which indicates that Romney is doing better among “independents” than Obama. They think this shows that Romney will surely win because in their minds the 2010 elections show that the rest of nation is, at worst, split around 50/50. This is another false presumption.
There is no “magic” to how pollsters determine whether a respondent is an “independent” and how many of them to sample. The unspoken reality of polls (as someone who has worked in polling and commissioned several myself) is that often times “independents” are really just people who clearly vote with a particular political party but who just don’t feel comfortable calling themselves a Democrat or a Republican. Effectively, this means that whichever party is having the biggest branding problem at a given time actually has an inherent advantage in the “independent” category.
Essentially, conservatives are trying to have it both ways here. They want to say that the pollsters are oversampling Democrats, but that the “independent” numbers are a great sign for Romney. This just isn’t true. Many of these “independents” are just Bush/McCain voters who don’t like admitting they are Republicans to someone they presume to be a liberal pollster.
The Pollsters Are Mostly Liberals, but There is No Conspiracy
There seems to be a growing sentiment within the conservative ranks to lump all pollsters in with the mainstream media when it comes to political bias. Having worked for a prominent polling institute, I can assure you that, yes, it is true that most pollsters are indeed liberals. However, I strongly reject the notion that there is a grand conspiracy underway to depress turnout for Romney.
This is just not logical nor is it logistically plausible. Polls just are not that easy to “fix,” and there certainly is no incentive for all but one of them to go in this direction. For instance, why has not one of hundreds of basically minimum wage-making poll callers gone on Fox News to get their 15 minutes of fame by outing the conspiracy?
The reason is because it simply isn’t happening. Could the non-Rasmussen polls be systematically off by a point or two? Absolutely. Are they all off by huge amounts by design? No way.
The “Undecideds” Are Not Poised to Rush to Romney at the End
Many conservatives (and Dick Morris) have deluded themselves into thinking that as soon as Romney gets a chance to prove that he passes the “presidential” threshold in the mind of the remaining undecided voters that they will all rush at that last moment to vote against Obama. This fallacy is partially based on the myth that “undecideds” always break for the challenger in a close race.
The reality is that this isn’t always the case and in modern presidential elections Republicans have a huge problem reaching these voters in any substantive way. As recently spoofed by Saturday Night Live, these are not voters who will have a long litany of Fox News/talk radio supplied anti-Obama facts with which to create a narrative strong enough to create a tidal wave against the president.
In order to overcome a 48-45 deficit, Romney would somehow have to win at least five out of every seven of these voters. When you consider that these are people who think that Entertainment Tonight is a hard news show, that scenario, unless Obama does something so colossally stupid that even the media couldn’t cover for him, would seem to be impossible to comprehend.
2012 Is Not 1980
America and its media are vastly different than they were in 1980 and, in almost every way, the environment is much less conducive to Romney pulling off Reagan’s “NASCAR slingshot” strategy.
Demographics since then have trended strongly in favor of an Obama victory and the emergence of a conservative media has essentially ceded the middle to a mainstream media which has become emboldened into being even more openly liberal than it ever was in the Reagan era.
Media Fragmentation Has Made It Impossible to “Get” Obama
Take the story of the 9/11 Libya attack as a perfect example of what mean by this. The facts seem pretty clear that the assault had nothing to do with the infamous You Tube video and that the administration knowingly “misled” the public about what really caused the tragic murders of four esteemed Americans.
If you consume conservative media, this is a scandal of epic proportions the likes of which would literally bring down most presidents. However, no matter how loudly they shout about this, the conservative media has locked themselves into their own soundproof bubble where this perspective can never even get to the people who actually decide presidential elections in today’s world.
Conversely, as long as the administration continues to say it is all under “investigation,” their friends in the mainstream media will hold off on passing “judgment,” at least until it is no longer at threat to their favorite candidate.
Quite simply, far too many conservatives are under the illusion that undecided voters have any clue about the stories which they think make it irrational for any sane person to vote for Obama.
The Gender Gap is Real and Rock Solid
No key group is more outside of the reach of the Romney campaign than young women. They have been convinced that the Republican Party is engaged in a “war” on them and that somehow their reproductive rights are in danger. They also do not watch Fox News, frequent the Drudge Report, or listen to talk radio.
There is nothing Romney can do to make an impact on this group. He can only hope that Kim Kardashian accidently tweets that the election is on Wednesday and not Tuesday.
It’s Ohio and Virgina, Stupid
Obviously the election is about getting to 270 Electoral College votes and, while there are more theoretical paths for Romney to win than most observers seem to realize, it is very difficult to imagine one that does not include winning at least Ohio or Virgina. If he loses both, you are now in “Hail Mary” (without the NFL replacement refs to help out) territory.
Right now, it appears that both Ohio and Virgina are lost to Romney. Both economies are doing better than they national average and both have huge built-in bases of massive support for Obama (auto and government workers). Meanwhile, both states have strong populations of evangelical Christians who will not likely turnout is huge numbers for a supposedly moderate Mormon.
Obama Isn’t Winning Because Romney Isn’t Conservative Enough
This is a popular myth among conservative opinion leaders and Tea Party members. First of all, Romney is plenty conservative. Secondly, conservatives are so energized by Obama that there is no need for Romney to be “severely conservative” in order to get out the base vote. Thirdly, he is doing exactly what he needs to in order to try and appeal to the swing voters.
Just because it isn’t working, doesn’t mean it isn’t the right strategy. I fear that when Romney loses that this faulty conclusion will be the grossly inaccurate autopsy that conservatives will come up with to rationalize that defeat. This will only mean that the chances for a truly lousy candidate (Romney is not one of those) getting the nomination in the future will increase exponentially.
The Debates Will Not Likely Be Romney’s Silver Bullet
I am still of the belief that a perfect debate performance could still potentially turn this around for Romney, but that it will take him threading the smallest of needles with the most frayed of thread. In fact, I would be shocked if Romney didn’t give a performance that conservatives instantly cheer as a “game changer.”
The problem is that there is no way for him to do so in the minds of the undecided voters because they will not possess the data points necessary for them to connect the dots of his argument. Even if he somehow did pull this off, the media will be there to save the day by telling that voter not to believe what they just saw and to focus instead on whatever shiny object inevitably makes itself suddenly visible (Romney’s tie cost $1,200 and was made in Italy!).
Therefore, it would likely take a self implosion from Obama at the debates (Dropping an “f bomb”? Revealing he had an affair with John Travolta? Accidentally saying something nice about Joe Paterno?) for Romney to actually win.
No matter how incompetent the conservative pundits/base think Obama really is, that just isn’t going to happen.
How the Media's Intimidation and Circular Logic Created a "Perfect Storm" Against the Truth
Of the many infuriatingly illogical aspects of how the Jerry Sandusky scandal has played out, the most maddening may be that each media misstep has created the next one. Together they have formed a tidal wave of momentum which has intimidated and stifled any voices of opposition and created the misperception that there is no question that justice has already been served. This has also allowed for unreasonable punishments to be enforced without even basic due process.
The sad reality is that this phenomenon has actually fostered the exact opposite result of what is currently perceived. Instead of being evidence that the system has been obviously vindicated, this “perfect storm” may have actually created a massive and, perhaps unprecedented, injustice.
We first saw this in action during the critical days following the original indictments. When Penn State stupidly declared that Joe Paterno would not be answering questions about the affair at his weekly press availability, the media immediately sensed weakness and signs of a “cover up.” This acted like a magnet for the media and immediately hundreds of vultures showed up eager to see the old man be made to look like a fool after having been put in a no win situation by the school he had almost literally built.
When Penn State saw, too late, the immense media interest in the Paterno press conference they panicked and pulled the plug. This further strengthened the media’s sense/hope that this was a Penn State/Paterno story with enormous ratings potential, rather than a Jerry Sundusky/Second Mile story that no would care about. It also made them realize that Paterno was hanging by a thread and, loving nothing more than a great story where they can feel like they have actually had a real impact for “good,” they couldn’t possibly resist cutting it.
This in turn created a complete change in focus and intensity of the story, which then facilitated a response from Paterno to try and save his job. This pressure forced Paterno into an act which, during any of his previous 50 years as coach would have been seen as admirable, but within this “perfect storm” he and those around him were slow to realize he was in, turned into a complete disaster.
Paterno’s statement that with the benefit of “hindsight, I wish I had done more,” combined with a chastising of the Board of Trustees to get on with more important matters, was immediately seen as an arrogant admission of quilt. In reality, it was nothing of the sort. In fact, it was actually the most truthful and courageous thing any one involved with this end of the story has ever said. But in this Perfect Storm, truth no longer had any power, and neither did Paterno.
This media reaction then only intensified the demands for Paterno to be fired and, with the prospect of Paterno’s final home game turning into a nationally televised prep rally looming at the end of the week, the media intimidation forced the Board of Trustees to almost literally wet themselves.
This in turn created the bizarre spectacle of Paterno being fired in as cowardly and botched an operation as could possibly be imagined. This in turn caused the students to “riot” and allowed the media to condemn them as “out of touch” and create the grotesque misperception that they were showing disrespect for the victims of child sexual abuse. This had the remarkably underrated impact of taking the starch out of any fight back from almost every element of Penn State, an influence which is still very much in play today.
The rush to fire Paterno without even a semblance of due process cemented in the consciousness of the public, and justified it in the minds of the media, that this MUST be a Penn State scandal. After all, how could a legend like Paterno get fired unanimously and unceremoniously if it wasn’t? This of course is a circular argument. The media used a result they illegitimately created in order to substantiate the illegitimate presumptions they used to create the results in the first place. Unfortunately, this would hardly be the last time this tactic would work like a witch’s evil charm.
When Sandusky was convicted (though, ironically/tellingly not of the very charge which created the media hysteria to begin with) the media narrative was that somehow this proved how much Paterno and Penn State had to have known about him and “clearly” covered it up. Of course what they never mentioned (and probably didn’t even realize) was that the great majority of the most damning evidence against Sandusky came forward AFTER the indictments. Unfortunately, this misunderstanding (yet another part of the Perfect Storm) has caused people to evaluate Paterno/Penn State through the prism of what we know now instead of what they likely knew many years ago.
Because they fired Paterno inappropriately, the Board of Trustees had felt forced to justify their act of cowardice. Penn State also believed that, thanks to the media intimidation, that it had to show the world how much it really “got” how badly they had screwed up. Consequently, they decided to spend $6.5 million on the Freeh Report to substantiate the firing of Paterno and purify itself of its suddenly “horrific” past. Thus began a prolonged process of “self flagellation” which had its crescendo in the wake of the release of the report itself.
So, with the media having made its position abundantly clear on the issue, and with Paterno having passed and anyone who could have credibly defended him censored by pending criminal litigation, it could not have been more obvious to Louis Freeh, who was trying to rehabilitate his own image, what path he was supposed to take. He was practically paid by Penn State to destroy Paterno and, by extension, Penn State football. Years of envy and jealousy of the program (both internally and externally) which had gotten all of the attention and accolades for being seen as “clean,” was now finally getting its chance to come pouring out in a torrent of ill conceived revenge.
Here is where things got down right comical. Freeh (or someone close to the investigation) leaked the content of just one email and the media frenzy began to get whipped up before the report was even released. Expectations were created that the results would be devastating to Paterno and Penn State. So when the report was released at 9 am and the conclusions seemed so incredibly damning, while also backing up the media’s current narrative in spades, the media lapped it up like cool water in a desert oasis.
Not that they had much other choice. Absurdly, the press conference to discuss the report was needlessly held just an hour later, which meant that there was zero chance the questioners could have read the actual evidence even if they had wanted to (which they clearly didn’t). In the politically correct world this is called crafty maneuvering. In the real world you might call this a fix.
So instead of Freeh being inundated with specific questions about his highly suspect tactics, faulty conclusions, and inaccurate statements related to the report, he got nothing but softballs and praise. The media breathlessly rushed to report his “conclusions” as fact and never even bothered to get to the actual “evidence” which allegedly backed them up (facts are such a drag when you are in a hurry to get on TV before the two hour news cycle has been exhausted). The perception that Freeh’s report was the legitimate final word on the entire subject was set in stone literally before anyone who actually bothered to read it had any chance to finish.
So, with the pro-Paterno forces having been kept in the dark about what was coming and shocked at what appeared to incomprehensible conclusions, Tim Curley and Gary Schultz muzzled by their impending trial, Paterno himself no longer around, and few in the media even willing to consider that there was even another side to the story, no meaningful counter attack could be mounted before the national conversation immediately turned to punishment. Even strong Paterno supporters like Phil Knight and Mike Krzyzewski backed away, almost certainly without any idea that the report being hailed by the media was actually so remarkably flawed. By the time the Paterno family announced plans for their own investigation, they were roundly mocked for being “out of touch.”
It was in this atmosphere where the pillaging of the Paterno legacy and the Penn State football empire became incredibly easy. The media immediately began to campaign for both the removal of the Paterno statue and the NCAA to impose the death penalty. Bizarrely, both USA Today (partly through Northwestern grad and Michigan fan Christine Brennan who prominently called for the death penalty ) and Sports Illustrated even connected the two situations, strongly implying that the statue must come down to appease the Gods of the NCAA and show that Penn State “got it” and was deserving of mercy.
So instead of fighting back and demanding some accountability for the report and simple due process, the Penn State Board of Trustees, once again boxed in by their previous cowardice, melted like a candle in a blast furnace. They somehow decided to “accept” (without ever actually voting on it) the conclusions of the report they had paid for to justify their firing of Paterno and then basically lost control of their bodily functions as the NCAA inappropriately used the same report as a weapon to bash them over the head. Meanwhile, the Penn State president decided to cave in on the statue issue (gee, that really helped with the NCAA!) under the grounds that it had become too “divisive.” Bending so easily to such verbal intimidation is usually called the “heckler’s veto,” something which used to be disdained by institution’s of higher learning.
The removal of the Paterno statue once again further ingrained the notion that both he and Penn State must be guilty and the Freeh Report must be credible. After all, why would Penn State do this if both of these things weren’t true? Then of course came the Draconian and nonsensical NCAA sanctions which, remarkably, were void of basic due process, jurisdiction, logic, or even actual evidence.
In roughly the equivalent of the executioner being called in moments after a Wild West kangaroo court ruling, the NCAA essentially wiped out much of Penn State football’s past, present and future. While all of the sanctions were absurd based only on the literal rush to judgment (the far less complex Reggie Bush/USC investigation took four years longer to complete than this one did), the most ridiculous was the forfeiting of wins from years before there was even an allegation of misconduct on the part of Paterno or Penn State. Even a source at the Freeh Report went public with the argument that what they had found was never even intended to be used in that way by the NCAA.
So why was the normally impotent NCAA suddenly willing and able to act in such a quick and overly aggressive fashion? Quite simply because they knew that the media was blowing a hurricane wind at their back and that Penn State was waving a white flag from the fetal position. The never ending cycle of circular arguments and the media momentum they created had come to its ultimate and grossly unjust conclusion. The only reason it has stop, at least for now, is that there was quite literally nothing left for them to destroy.
Now, all that is left is for the actual truth to come out. That is where we at www.FramingPaterno.com have pledged to do the work which no one else has had the courage to do. The facts are on our side. The question is whether the power of truth is strong enough to scale this mountain of media cowardice and intimidation.
How the Media May Have Framed Joe Paterno
Regardless of what the final facts eventually say about what Joe Paterno knew and when he knew it about Jerry Sandusky’s criminal behavior (contrary to what the media has told you, they aren’t in yet and I have confronted very anti-Paterno "reporters" who admit this privately), the media coverage of him has been as unfair as any I have ever seen. In some ways, the media coverage of Joe Paterno has combined some of the worst elements of both the reporting of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the 2008 presidential election.
Mostly amazingly, the verdict, sentencing and puinshment in this caase have all been handed down before the evidence has even been fully collected. Make no mistake, this has happened directly because of the biased media coverage has forced it to occur.
And while it is possible that they may end up being “right” about their seemingly insatiable desire to destroy Paterno’s reputation, if that indeed turns out to be the case it will be due far more to pure luck than to actual credible journalism.
Here is the story of how the media may have framed Joe Paterno .
After the grand jury presentment was made available at a Saturday press conference which announced the Sandusky indictments last November, the initial media coverage was, in retrospect remarkably, and tellingly, rather muted.
ESPN, who would later the next week drive most of the narrative of the overall story, limited most of their coverage over the weekend to a passing news mention and a perfunctory place on the ubiquitous scroll on the bottom of the screen. After all, they had actual college and pro football games to broadcast/cover and no need to interrupt those ratings winners for the story of some guy who hadn’t coached football in over a decade.
The first edition of Sports Illustrated (which went to press about 48 hours after the indictments) after the news broke does not make mention of the Sandusky story in even one news article. Sandusky didn’t even make the “For the Record” section under “Arrests.” The story is only cited in an opinion column on the back page which reads somewhat like the “last word” on a story which is horrible but which may not provide much opportunity to write about in the future.
By the next week, Joe Paterno was somehow on the cover of SI along with multiple banner headlines, including one indicating that this was the biggest scandal in college sports history.
What changed in the ensuing week? Well, Paterno was fired, but not because we learned anything significantly new about the scandal during that time. Instead, what happened was that ESPN, with the help of popular website Deadspin (which was the first outlet to jump all over the story and predict Paterno’s demise), decided that they could change the rules of this game and make what was an otherwise dead sports week into a dramatic, ratings winning, passion play.
The initial take of the mainstream media was that this was not really a Joe Paterno story because, while Sandusky had been his assistant coach and there was a major allegation which occurred on campus, it was after he had already left the program. Paterno had testified but had not been charged. The prosecutors said that Paterno had done what was legally required of him, though they did raise the issue (in the response to a leading question from the media) of whether Paterno had fulfilled his moral responsibility with regard to making sure the allegations were properly followed up.
Seemingly lulled into a false sense of security by the relative rationality of the initial coverage (which was neither as intense nor as insane as it soon would be), Penn State made a couple of critical errors. The first was that they failed to make it clear that when Paterno had made sure the Mike McQueary allegations were reported to Gary Schultz, that he was doing so to the person in charge of the campus police. The media, either out of incompetence, deceitfulness, or both, never made that clear and in fact often reported that Paterno “never went to the police.” This omission created a huge hole in Paterno’s ship, which should have been easily plugged. Instead, it was an unnecessary leak in his story which still exists in public perception today.
The second big mistake Penn State made was related to Paterno’s weekly press conference that Tuesday. At first they announced that it would go on as normal, but naively/stupidly they also put out a press release saying that they would not allow any questions on the Sandusky matter. This was the equivalent of telling a child they can’t have a particular brand of candy; it made the media want to go in that direction exponentially more than they already did.
When hundreds of reporters/jackels showed up salivating for what they surely hoped would be the fresh carcass of a cranky old man being bombarded with questions he wasn’t supposed to answer, Penn State foolishly pulled the plug. To the sharks in the news media this was essentially like pouring blood in the water. It was simultaneously an admission of guilt in their eyes as well as an indication that Paterno was doomed because Penn State was not going to back him. The feeding frenzy began in earnest.
Now the media had what they wanted. They suddenly processed all the excuses they needed to turn a story about a likely child molester who hadn’t coached at Penn State for twelve years, into a tale of whether a legend had failed in his moral responsibility to protect children he may or may not have even known were ever in danger.
The public wouldn’t care much about Sandusky, but everyone knew Joe Paterno. The tearing down of a pious legend makes for incredible copy and it transformed that week from a remarkably slow sports period (the NBA was still on strike, baseball was over, and football was in a midseason lull) into a ratings bonanza.
Now it should be noted that one of the primary weapons which drove the deep passion and anger on this story at the outset was the misuse of one key phrase in the grand jury presentment. The prosecutors brilliantly (though deceitfully) claimed that Mike McQueary had witnessed Sandusky having “anal intercourse” with a ten year old boy in the Penn State showers.
Quite simply, there is very little in the human condition which makes our brains turn off their logic mechanisms faster than the concept of a child being anally raped by an old man. Like the color red to a raging bull, this phrase turned what would have been reasonable outrage into a communal blind fury. It also made it nearly impossible to discuss the actual facts of the matter because people understandably don’t like talking about the subject.
There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that had the grand jury presentment not used the words “anal intercourse,” that Joe Paterno would not have been fired the way that he was and likely would have coached out the season. I also have little uncertainty that the phrase was purposely misused in the grand jury presentment because prosecutors knew exactly what kind of public reaction it would provoke.
I also believe that part of the reason that the phrase “anal intercourse” was placed in the grand jury presentment was because, at that time, contrary to public perception, the legal case against Jerry Sandusky was actually remarkably weak.
Incredibly, despite a huge civil settlement being there for the taking, somehow there was/is no known victim in the McQueary episode (Don’t tell the media that! They still don’t realize it!), and, though somehow no one knew it at the time, McQueary had inexplicably testified incorrectly about which day, month and year the incident he supposedly witnessed took place.
Few people, and fewer media members, realize that at the time of the indictments there was only one allegation of actual “sex” from a known witness, and that person’s story had been disbelieved by officials at his own school (interestingly that boy's mom doesn't blame Paterno or Penn State). The prosecution needed a big explosion in order to blow the case wide open and bring in other accusers they had to be sure were still out there. Their tactic worked perfectly, but it also had the side effect (one with which it seems they weren’t unpleased) of making it impossible for Paterno to get a remotely fair public examination.
As it ultimately turned out, the “hanging” jury in the Jerry Sandusky case actually rightly acquitted him of “anal intercourse” in the McQueary allegation (for the record, I believe the evidence indicates that McQueary did not witness an assault, but rather a botched "grooming"). But by that time it no longer mattered and this inconvenient fact was almost universally ignored by the media.
As for Paterno’s firing, ESPN basically campaigned for it continuously over two straight days and at least one member of the Penn State board of trustees admitted that, the body which somehow voted unanimously to unceremoniously terminate the man who put their school on the map, had done so in direct reaction to the intimidating media coverage.
One of the most absurd moments in ESPN’s wall to wall coverage came when former Penn State player Matt Millen cried live on air while implying Paterno had let everyone down. Like something out of the upside-down world of Alice in Wonderland, it was barely ever mentioned, and never put in its proper context, that Millen himself was an active member of the Second Mile board (and not just in a ceremonial capacity). He was never even asked if the Second Mile or perhaps maybe even he himself deserved far more blame than Paterno considering that all of the victims originated there and Sandusky had had far more contact with them than he did with Penn State over the previous twelve years.
Instead, all people saw on TV was a former Paterno player (one who was not at all close to Paterno) crying while being sympathetically consoled by an ESPN anchor. This opened the floodgates and began a momentum which quickly convinced even strong Paterno supporters that they had better jump on the media’s bandwagon or be made to look like they were supporting child molestation.
Even former Penn State quarterback (and ESPN commentator) Todd Blackledge eventually came out for Paterno’s firing and yet somehow ended up prominently speaking on behalf of the 1980’s at Paterno’s memorial service. When I watched Blackledge being interviewed, I had a very strong sense he had essentially been bullied by the coverage of his own network into throwing Paterno under the metaphorical bus. The fact that he would praise him so dramatically just two months later would only augment that feeling.
When Paterno finally released his now infamous statement announcing that he would resign at the end of the season and stating that, “with the benefit of hindsight, I wish I had done more,” the media twisted it into something completely different than it really was.
Here, much like Tiger Woods at the beginning of his scandal, Paterno, used to mostly fawning media coverage, was slow to realize that all the old rules had changed. In the eyes of his former friends in the media he had been instantly transformed from a protected species to one with a large bounty on its head..
Previously, that written statement would have been warmly received as a grand gesture from a great/wise old man who was the first to admit what literally hundreds of people should have been forced to acknowledge: that the signs that Jerry Sandusky was a monster were missed. Now, in this frigidly cold media environment in which Paterno suddenly found himself, the statement instead was viewed as an arrogant, out of touch, admission of actual guilt.
This last point has been repeated, almost as if it were a mantra, by countless people with whom I have spoken about this in the last seven months. I even heard highly respected “journalist” John Feinstein grossly misquote Paterno on a national radio show as having said, “I didn’t do enough.” When I quickly messaged the co-host who is an old colleague of mine to please correct him on air, Feinstein laughably insisted that there is no real difference between the two quotations, even though it is obvious that they have two very dissimilar meanings (incredibly, I asked to go on the show as a guest to explain why Feinstein was wrong, but the co host told me that Feinstein was afraid of the debate and vetoed the idea).
Contrary to media created perception, what Paterno said there was in no way an admission of guilt. Instead, it was exactly the right thing to say at that time, but the media wanted a head on a spike and they needed it fast. Paterno’s was by far the most appealing scalp and nothing short of total decapitation was going to quench their thirst for blood. Penn State, fearing how this bloodlust would play out on national television that Saturday during what would have been Paterno's final home game, simply panicked.
When the media finally got what they wanted (without Joe Paterno, an employee of over sixty years who literally built the school’s library, even getting a formal hearing) the students understandably reacted with their own rage, but one which the media purposely misunderstood in order to fit their own narrative and forward their own agenda.
According ESPN’s live coverage (as well as most of the rest of the print reporting) of the student “riots” which ensued after the announcement of the Paterno firing, the Penn State campus was upset because their precious football team might be harmed and they couldn’t care less about the victims. This analysis was as absurd as it was self serving.
It was very clear that the students were mostly angry over the lack of due process and simple respect shown for a man who was the reason many of them had applied to the school in the first place. It was also obvious that the focus of their outrage was on the news media for their disgraceful coverage of the story and the board of trustees for caving into the media pressure.
This was not just proven by the fact that the most serious act of vandalism was directed at a television news van (something the media bizarrely seemed to think was simply a coincidence). It was also exposed in a classic moment when, as if by accident, ESPN’s entire narrative for the whole episode blew up in their faces on live television.
If there was one clip I wish everyone would have watched that fateful week, it would be this one of a Penn State student being interviewed live on the network which had created most of the uproar, the remnants of which they were now covering. The unidentified student succinctly laid out the entire case in way that was in direct contradiction to the way that ESPN had been reporting it.
When the field reporter sent it back to the studio (where they had been covering the events with all of the fairness and objectivity of the Hatfields reporting on the McCoys) the anchors Steve Levy and Stuart Scott were literally stunned. After pausing as if they had just heard for the first time that there is no Santa Claus, an exasperated Levy was forced to acknowledge that the student was “a relatively well informed fan…ah, I would say. He had some of the facts correct.”
Levy didn’t mention which facts the student didn’t have correct, probably because there weren’t any. His partner, an equally shocked Scott, looking as if he was realizing live on the air that maybe there really was another way to look at this entire story, laughably opined, “It is a very interesting dichotomy…”
It should be noted that the national scolding of the students by the media served to intimidate them (as well as many other Paterno supporters) in a way which made it far easier for future events to unfold without fear of blowback.
After Paterno was fired, the media, having its pound of flesh, decided to quickly move on and some relatively pro-Paterno stories began to sneak out, even on ESPN (I believe because some there, like Tom Rinaldi, were angling themselves for what was thought would be the inevitable Paterno interview). However, the simultaneous revelations that the Syracuse basketball team apparently had a pedophile on its current staff were treated completely differently (even when their head coach Jim Boeheim called the victims money-seeking liars) and further exposed the unfairness of the media’s Penn State/Paterno coverage. I am sure that it is just a coincidence that many of the staff at ESPN just happened to attend Syracuse.
When Paterno died, most of the coverage was rather respectful, while certainly nothing like the celebration of an amazing life it would have been had he passed just two months earlier,
At the memorial service, when Phil Knight finally stood up and said what so many people with the actual facts but without access to broadcast platforms had been silently thinking, the media really had no idea what to do. The last thing they wanted was their initial conviction of Paterno to be exposed as a ratings-driven rush to judgment, but they also have trained themselves to not speak ill of the recently deceased (even actual pedophiles like Michael Jackson). Clearly conflicted, they pretty much decided to ignore Knight’s comments and hope that the evidence would eventually come back in favor of the judgment they had already rendered (they treated similar comments from usual media darling, Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski, in much the same way).
When the Sandusky trial was completed in record time and it was announced that a verdict had been reached, Piers Morgan casually stated on CNN, without a shred of evidence at that time, that “clearly Joe Paterno took part in a cover up here.” What was so infuriating about watching that moment was that it was clear that Morgan had no idea what the actual facts of the case were then, and that absolutely no one even bothered to question him about his potentially slanderous statement.
When Sandusky was acquitted of the very charge which was the source of the vast majority of the media coverage which directly led to Paterno’s firing, you probably had to research that information for yourself. The broadcast outlets either weren’t even aware of this incredible fact, or simply just didn’t care. They had their story and they were going to stick with it no matter what transpired.
In that context, the media’s reaction to the Freeh report becomes far more easily understood and almost humorous. They had already universally decided that there was only one legitimate view of this story.
I myself was continually frustrated that I couldn’t even get straight forward columns questioning this narrative placed at any of the outlets which had routinely run my work. Time and again I either got no explanation for why this was the case or the editors in charge made it clear that their grasp of the facts was so poor that they actually mistakenly thought that I was the one who had no idea what I was talking about (a perfect example of this phenomenon was the fact that there was no actual known victim in the McQueary allegation; most media people I communicated with thought that was just not possible and wrongly presumed I was just mistaken). I have gone against the grain of the conventional media wisdom many times in my career, but I have never experienced a worse example of group think producing virtual censorship than this one.
So when CNN got the leak of just one email prior to the Freeh Report’s official release, the media made it very clear that they were going to accept any crumbs of anti-Paterno evidence with mouths as wide open as their minds were closed. The report (not even the actual email) of only one very vague note from Paterno’s boss Tim Curley mentioning that he had spoken to “Joe” and had decided to change the plan on how to deal with Sandusky, was treated as if it was clear evidence of the coach having taken part in a cover up. Sports Illustrated couldn’t even wait for the actual report to come out and essentially convicted Paterno based on just that remarkably thin evidence.
The media, of course, never even bothered to point out that Curley, after casually mentioning having spoken to Joe, goes on to start each of the next four sentences not with the word “we,” but rather “I.” While this doesn’t prove what influence Paterno did or didn’t have over the discussions, in a remotely fair media environment it should have certainly raised important questions about Paterno’s presumed guilt. Unfortunately, this has still somehow never happened.
So, when the Freeh Report actually did come out, you could almost hear the media preparing their pom-poms and readying their cheers of “See! See! We really did get it right when we rushed to judgment against Paterno because the story was just too good to resist!” (Though, for some reason, no one ever questioned, if the Freeh Report really contained new evidence proving Paterno’s guilt, why was it that the media felt so comfortable “convicting” him before that information was ever known? Wasn’t the media essentially admitting that they didn’t have enough evidence to come to that conclusion before the Freeh Report?)
Whether Freeh understood this or not, his scheduling of the report’s release was certainly consistent with someone who knew he was likely to get a chorus of cheering from the media (which by the way, could have also influenced his conclusions as everyone is more likely to do something they if know is going to get them adulation, especially when their career is on the rocks like Freeh's). The report was released at 9 am on the Thursday of one of the slowest sports weeks of the year and, preposterously, his press conference was just one hour later.
Only in a story like this could a press conference an hour after the release of a detailed report which took at least three hours to properly read be taken remotely seriously. And yet, no one bothered to even point out that the very same media asking the questions of Freeh barely had time to read his remarkably biased conclusionsand certainly had no way of examining the actual evidence in the report.
This pathetic reality reared its head with a massive amount of misreporting regarding the report. The most obvious example of this was that several commentators immediately took to ESPN and, based on the report’s highly debatable conclusion that Paterno knew about the 1998 Sandusky investigation, erroneously stated that this meant that Sandusky’s 1999 retirement had to have been related.
The amazing thing about this was that Freeh’s report specifically exonerates Paterno on that very issue and these people (including former Paterno “friend” Brent Musberger and ESPN’s beat reporter Jeremy Schaap) not only got it dead wrong, but they also unwittingly revealed that they hadn’t even bothered to read the report.
There was also no coverage of a major mistake Freeh made during his press conference (no, not calling the key witness “McQuade”) when he appeared to claim that his team had spoken to the two janitors who allegedly witnessed Sandusky molesting a boy in the Penn State locker room in 2000. Freeh seemed completely oblivious to the fact that the only witness to that episode has dementia and can’t speak to anyone. His team only spoke to someone to whom the original witness told his story (and, for the record, there is no known victim for that allegation either). Incredibly, I contacted the reporter who asked Freeh the question that got this response and it appears he had no idea Freeh had made a glaring error.
But the most significant problem with the media coverage of the report was that, partially because of the haste to get to the bottom line in a “breaking” news story (TV has no patience any more for actual facts), most of what got discussed were the report’s “conclusions,” and not the nature of the real evidence on which they were based.
There was next to zero analysis of how it is that a man’s entire life and reputation can be destroyed by three extremely vague emails written by someone else (with whom Freeh never spoke who has never been asked publicly about them) over a decade ago. Quite literally, if Tim Curley was simply “name dropping” Paterno in an effort to bolster his position in the two most critical of those emails (a very plausible but seemingly impossible theory to prove), or, if in the second critial 1998 email he meant "coach" to mean Sandusky, then the entire case against Paterno is dramatically different and, frankly, almost non existent. And yet in the mind of the media, and therefore the public, the evidence is perceived as both overwhelming and rock solid.
What makes this particularly galling is that it is never even mentioned that the very same Curley whose emails are now said to “prove’ that Paterno took part in a “cover up” and “protected” Sandusky, is also the guy who, when Paterno died, released a glowing written statement praising the coach’s “honor and integrity.”
Why has there not been even a perfunctory effort on the part of the media to understand how that public pronouncement makes any sense at all under their own current narrative? In the media’s view, Paterno must have forced Curley into a cover up and caused him to be charged with serious crimes. Why in the world would he praise Paterno’s “honor and integrity,” especially when it could take away the legal defense of “Joe made me do it”?
These are questions that the media is simply just not interested in even asking because they might not like the answer they get (that, and most of them don’t even realize that Curley did this, or aren’t inquisitive enough to connect the dots). Instead, their narrative has now quickly turned to whether or not Paterno’s statue should stay in place or whether Penn State football should somehow get the death penalty.
So now that the media thinks they have all the answers they want (and too much of the public, and even Penn State supporters, have bought it hook, line and sinker), the need for further information is now over. There is no need to wait for the Curley trial when we might actually learn whether the “leads” that Freeh found are actually real evidence. instead they campaign for, and get, the statue to be taken down and the NCAA to levy sanctions which would even make sense if the facts were not in question (how the heck do wins get taken away from 1998 when Penn State isn't even accused of doing anything wrong until 2001?).
Most maddeningly, the media is now openly mocking the Paterno family for continuing to speak out and for their plan to come up with their own version of the Freeh Report.
So, let me get this straight. The media rushes to judgment against Paterno, the family says they just want the truth to come out, the media finally gets some vague evidence which can be interpreted as backing up their original view, and now that the case is closed and the sentence has been carried out, because they have already gotten the answer they want, they decide it is wrong to ask any further questions? Really? Why does this feel like something out of a fascist country?
The bottom line here is that we simply don’t know exactly for sure what Joe Paterno knew and how his actions regarding Sandusky should finally be evaluated. Unfortunately, barring Tim Curley coming forward with the whole truth, there seems to be a good chance that we will never know all the answers on that issue. What we do know for sure is that the media’s coverage of Joe Paterno has been a disgrace which has further proven that real journalism in this country is dead. Whether the media ends up having guessed right here is irrelevant to that sad and obvious conclusion.
Contrary to What You Have Heard, the Freeh Report has Big Problems
As someone who has been critical of what I have perceived as the media’s rush to judgment against Joe Paterno in the Jerry Sandusky scandal, I was very eager to hear the results of the report by former FBI director Louis Freeh. My primary concern through all of this is that the case against Paterno for knowingly protecting a pedophile had not yet been truly proven. If it was, then I would be the first to admit that Paterno’s legacy would be rightly shattered and that his statue at Penn State should be uprooted.
Now that the report has come out and I (unlike the media at Freeh’s press conference) have actually had time to read it, I will acknowledge that the report raises some very serious questions about Paterno’s role. I now think that it is “probable” that Paterno deserves some level of condemnation for how he handled the Sandusky situation.
However, despite what you have heard in the news media, there are also some very significant problems with the report itself and, at least at this point, there is still a whole lot more speculative smoke than actual evidentiary fire in its findings.
The most glaring omission in the report is that Freeh did speak to any of the primary witnesses in the case. Not Paterno. Not Tim Curley. Not Mike McQueary (whom he referred to as “McQuade” in the press conference). Not Jerry Sandusky.
How can any investigation possibly be considered remotely complete or come to any legitimate conclusions without even speaking to any of the most important witnesses?
How can we possibly fully evaluate Paterno’s actions if we don’t know exactly what Mike McQueary (who, it must be pointed out, misremembered the year he witnessed the episode in the shower, an incident for which there is still no actual victim) told him? How can we possibly understand fairly vague emails without even hearing from the guy who wrote them?
Secondly, Freeh seems to promise far more in his press release/conclusions than he actually delivers in real evidence. Most of the media of course, at best, only read the summary and not the actual report. Thanks to that, it appears that most people have no idea that the real evidence backing up Freeh’s conclusions is, given the strong language he uses, remarkably thin.
The key pieces of new evidence (and frankly, maybe the only significant ones) against Paterno are two emails cited on pages 48 and 49 of the report which Freeh concludes are “clear" proof that Paterno was fully in the loop on the 1998 investigation of Sandusky which resulted in no criminal charges.
There is no doubt that if Paterno really knew about the 1998 investigation then any strong defense of him falls apart like a house of cards. This is because if he knew about 1998 then he had no reason to give Sandusky any benefit of the doubt in 2001 and he actually had a significant incentive to cover up the McQueary episode because there would have been a history of inaction. His credibility would also be shot because he essentially testified to the Grand Jury that he had no knowledge of the investigation.
However, Freeh is grotesquely overstating his evidence.
A close examination of these two emails raises significant questions as to what they actually mean. The first email is from athletic director Curley to the university president with the subject line “Joe Paterno.” As far as we know, the key content of the email was “I have touched base with the coach. Keep us posted. Thanks.”
Based on this, Freeh concludes that because the email was sent after Curley knew of the investigation into Sandusky that Sandusky had to be the subject of their “touching base.” Even if this wasn’t a bit of an evidentiary leap (which it is), we have no idea what “touching base” really means and, again, Freeh has never even spoken to Curley to find out. The president didn’t even remember this email, which he referred to as a “vague reference with no individual named.”
The second email is just as problematic. In it Curley writes to the head of campus police, “anything new in this department? Coach is anxious to know where it stands.” Freeh writes, without any actual evidence that, “the reference to Coach is believed to be Paterno.” We are to assume that “is believed” really means “believed by Louis Freeh.”
Could “coach” be Paterno? Absolutely. But given the tremendous significance of this email, it is a detail that must be nailed down by something more reliable than someone else (who has never even spoken to him) reading Curley 's mind fourteen years later.
One plausible alternative scenario which has not even been considered by the mainstream media is that Curley, much like he may have done in 2001 in the "after speaking with Joe" email, could have easily had a habit of invoking Paterno's name to bolster the case for what he wanted. Interestingly, in the two most troubling Curley emails which appear to reference Paterno, he is clearly using Paterno's name to add weight to his request. What if he was essentially name dropping? If this simple explanation were to be true, this would dramatically change many of the presumptions on which the report bases its conclusions.
Another very plausible scenario (not even discussed in the media), is that when Curley wrote "coach," that he really meant "Sandusky." After all, Sandusky did know about the investigation at the time, was still a coach, had a lot more reason to be "anxious" than Paterno did, and the email is titled "Jerry." But I am sure that Freeh's mindreading powers are flawless.
It must also be pointed out (again it never is in the media), that all of the critical emails come from Curley. This is incredibly important because at the time of Paterno's death Curley released a statement praising Paterno's "honor and integrity." How in the world does it make any sense that someone whom we are now led to believe was led into a horrific cover by Paterno would needlessly praise him like that at his death? This is even more inexplicable when you consider that Curley is facing criminal charges where such a statement could significantly curtail his easiest defense, which would be to blame Paterno.
One of the many elements of the report which the media is completely missing (because they obviously haven’t bothered to actually read it) is that Freeh essentially exonerates Paterno on a very important point which has bothered many Paterno defenders since the beginning of this story.
The report seems to prove (much more conclusively than it does other elements) that Sandusky being told that he would never be the head coach at Penn State had nothing to do with any allegations of sexual abuse. In fact, Paterno told him this before the 1998 investigation even began and his own hand written notes make it clear that the reason was because Sandusky, ironically, refused to give up his position as the head of the Second Mile charity, which was the source of his victims. Unfortunately, it is being routinely reported today that the report indicates the Sandusky’s resignation was proof Paterno knew of the problem in 1998. In actuality, the exact opposite is true.
Similarly, much has been made of the previously leaked email from February 27th 2001 in which Curley seems to indicate a change in plans to not report Sandusky to higher authorities after having spoken to Paterno. Not yet mentioned in any media coverage that I have seen is that the report divulges (on page 63) the existence of a February 12th 2001 note in which Curley discusses with the head of campus police coming to the very same conclusion, well before any evidence of influence from Paterno.
Why does this not at least bring into question the real role Paterno had in that decision, especially when the "evidence” is based almost entirely on mind reading through vague emails?
Perhaps the strangest argument Freeh attempts to make is that Paterno’s response to McQueary (to whom Freeh has never spoken) is proof that Paterno was immediately in some sort of cover up mode because the head coach told McQueary, “It's my job now to figure out what we want to do.”
What is amazing about what a huge deal Freeh made about this in the report and at his press conference is that he acts as if there is a recording of that conversation and we have Paterno’s actual words (which are obviously incredibly important is a situation like this). But that is just not the case. All we have is the testimony of McQueary TEN years after the conversation took place and Paterno's description of it to Sally Jenkins just before he died! How in the world can you possibly conclude anything significant based on such a tenuous recollection?
One of the most blatant errors in the report with regard to both facts as well as their interpretation comes with regard to the two Penn State janitors about whom Freeh spoke so glowingly at his press conference. Here Freeh exposes himself and his report to very credible charges of malpractice.
Freeh claims that two janitors saw something “horrific” in the Penn State locker room in 2000. He says that they didn’t report the episode because they were terrified of speaking of what they saw to Paterno because going up against the football program was like taking on the “President of the United States” and they feared being fired. Freeh then concludes that this fear proved that there was a “chilling effect” within the football program, which was, in it self, is evidence of a culture of corruption.
These assertions by Freeh are simply as laughable as they are inaccurate.
First of all, whether Freeh realizes it or not, his team has never spoken to the actual witness in the 2000 episode because the lone witness now has dementia. The other janitor who testified at trial did so under a hearsay exception and only told of what the other janitor told him. Secondly, neither janitor would have been reporting to Paterno. Thirdly, Sandusky was a rather harmless former football coach at that time. Fourthly, Freeh seems to completely disregard the obvious reality that these janitors desperately need an explanation for why they didn’t report the episode and that their claiming “fear” of a now dead man (without a shred of evidence) should be looked at with great suspicion. Finally, it seems totally lost on Freeh that these janitors who didn’t report the episode at all are being treated by him as heroes while Paterno, who did at least report allegations which he didn’t even witness, is seen as a pedophile protector.
I want to make it clear that it is quite possible that Joe Paterno did indeed know more than he let on and enough to justify him doing more than he did to stop the monster that was Jerry Sandusky. It is even possible that he actively helped cover it up. But the truth is that the evidence that any of this happened is just not nearly as strong as the media or Louis Freeh are portraying it to be.
All I want is for the truth to come out. We may never get the full truth, but it is important that people understand that, while there may have been some important progress, we didn’t get nearly as much of it from the Freeh report as everyone seems to want to believe.
Questions the Freeh Report Didn't/Couldn't Answer
Now that the Freeh Report has been officially issued and the media has the conclusion they want (verification that their initial premature condemnation of Joe Paterno was indeed justified) I guess we are supposed to believe that this saga has pretty much been closed. However, no matter what the media (the vast majority of which have not even read the actual report) the reality is that the Freeh Report actually "proved" very little and left many important questions completely unanswered.
Here are at least some of the most obvious related to Joe Paterno. Until and unless they are addressed, despite what you have heard, there will still be legitimate doubt as to just how culpable Paterno really was here.
Why did former Athletic Director Tim Curley praise Paterno's "honor and integrity" in a written statement at the time of Paterno's passing? Freeh's entire case against Paterno is based on three vague emails written by Curley. The whole concept of Paterno being part of a cover up presumes he was forcing Curley to lead it. Why in the world would Curley say that about a man who put him in that position, especially when it effectively takes away the powerful legal defense of "Joe made me do it"?
If Curley really decided to change the plan and go easy on Sandusky based a conversation with Joe Paterno, why did he use the word "I" (in four straight sentences) in the now infamous email, instead of "we" or "us" to describe who was behind the decision? Why did Freeh find an email from two weeks earlier indicating that Curley and the head of the campus police were already contemplating coming to he same conclusion before Curley ever said he spoke to Paterno?
Why is it not at least possible that when Curley writes that "coach" is "anxious" for an update on the 1998 investigation, that he means "Sandusky" and not "Paterno"?
If this really was a cover up as Freeh alleges, why was it the worst run cover up in history? Why did Paterno bother to bring his superiors into the loop? Why was the cover up openly alluded to on state owned email servers? Is it not at least possible that they were so relatively open about discussing the issue because they didn't think they were doing anything horrible?
If Paterno was really "all powerful" as his critics like to believe when it suits them, why would he have any fear at all of sending an ex assistant coach he didn't seem to like all that much to the legal authorities? Why was Paterno's note (in the Freeh report) denying a retired Sandusky the ability to bring Second Mile kids to the football facilities essentially ignored?
If Mike McQueary really saw something so horrific that it demanded immediate and dramatic action (like a child being raped in a Penn State shower), why did he misremember the date, month and even year of the episode? Would anyone who really witnessed such a thing ever forget the year it occurred?
If Mike McQueary really saw something so horrific that it demanded immediate and dramatic action (like a child being raped in a Penn State shower), why did he willingly participate in at least one public event sponsored by Sandusky after that episode?
Why did Mike McQueary tell a doctor friend immediately after the shower episode that he hadn't seen anything sexual?
Why did a jury which was clearly predisposed to convicting him, and was simultaneously bombarded by the stories of nine other victims (most of whom came forward after the grand jury presentment), unanimously acquit Sandusky on the most serious McQueary allegation?
Why, if the McQueary allegation (again the only one we know for sure Paterno had any knowledge of) happened in anything like the manner he now claims it did, has the victim passed up a surefire multi-million dollar civil suit against Penn State by never coming forward in any way whatsoever?
Why is it not probable that the victim in the McQueary case has never come forward because the episode never happened in the way that the only "witness" now describes and therefore this person doesn't even realize it was him?
If indeed the McQueary allegation is not what we thought it was, does that not dramatically alter how we should interpret how Paterno reacted to it?
Why is there no realization that Sandusky was very good at getting away with his crimes and that proving a case against him would not have been nearly as easy as presumed now with the benefit of the avalanche of evidence which came to light after the indictments?
What would have happened had Sandusky simply been a weirdo with major boundary issues and Paterno had gone public with a false allegation against a local hero who ran the largest children's charity of its kind in the state? How would the media have treated him and the enormous damage he would have needlessly created then?
Why does the mother of victim #1 (the only actual known victim of sexual intercourse in the original grand jury presentment which triggered Paterno's firing) blame her son's high school coach and not Paterno or Penn State for what happened?
Why have none of the hundreds of other people who could have figured out what a monster Sandusky was (many with far more evidence than Paterno) not been held to nearly the same standard as Sandusky's former football boss?
Is it not possible that so many have sought to crucify Paterno here not because he deserves the bulk of the blame, but rather because it some sick way it makes us feel better about ourselves knowing that even the best among us failed to stop something so many of us could have (including the very same media which originally ignored the story before there was a direct, ratings friendly, Paterno connection)?
Having experienced first hand the breathtaking bias the media has had on this story (interestingly, it was far easier for me to get the word out defending Sarah Palin's 2008 VP campaign with my last movie "Media Malpractice" than it has been to swim against the tidal wave of anti-Paterno coverage), I know that, unless the trial of Tim Curley finally breaks the damn, we will likely never get the answers to these questions, mostly because they will never really be asked. But that sad reality does absolutely nothing to make them any less critical to understanding the real truth here.
Of course, whether the truth matters very much at all any more is very much in question.
The Media's Conviction of Joe Paterno Still Doesn't Hold Up
Having been fighting an uphill battle on this issue since the Jerry Sandusky saga broke nationally last November, I am well aware that few people at this point are likely to change their minds about what they think they know about this horrible case. The horrendous crime of child molestation creates an understandably extremely strong emotional reaction in most people. But now that Sandusky has been rightly convicted, perhaps there is a chance that some media-created misperceptions can be at least partially corrected.
From the first time the allegations became public (significantly before the national media became aware of them when indictments were “suddenly” handed down) I have always thought that Jerry Sandusky was a pedophile of some sort and that he should be punished severely. I have not been convinced however that Joe Paterno was nearly as culpable as the media hysteria which surrounded this case last year demanded.
While it has barely been reported, and certainly has not been put in this context anywhere else, the great irony in the Sandusky verdicts is that they actually, in small but significant ways, do more to vindicate Paterno than to condemn him.
By far the most remarkable (and under reported) aspect of the verdicts was that Sandusky was actually found NOT guilty on the allegation of rape by former Paterno assistant Mike McQueary. Now, while the jury did convict him on the lesser charges brought based on McQueary’s testimony, it is extremely noteworthy that the rape charge didn’t stick.
This is because without the allegation of child rape by a Penn State coach in the original grand jury report it is very difficult to conceive of how this story explodes the way that it did, and I believe that there is no chance that Joe Paterno gets fired when and how he did. Quite simply, at least from a media perspective, this charge was the linchpin of the entire case.
McQueary’s rape allegation was critical for several reasons. First, it is the only allegation against Sandusky witnessed by someone who could testify other than the victim. Second, it the only allegation we know that Paterno was told at least something about. Third, it was one of only two allegations in the grand jury report which involved “rape” (all of the other rape allegations came from victims who came forward after the indictments and the media feeding frenzy which followed). Finally, the horrific nature of the allegation ignited a firestorm of outrage from the media and the public which created an unquenchable blood thirst for someone to blame and punish immediately.
If Mike McQueary had testified only that he saw Sandusky naked in a shower inappropriately horsing around with a boy who has never actually come forward, emotions would not have been nearly as raw, the media coverage not nearly as intense (incredibly, no one has ever pointed out that the first edition of Sports Illustrated after the grand jury report had exactly zero hard news articles about the case), and Paterno would have been able to go out more or less on his own terms and might even still be alive today.
But instead, led by the out of control media coverage, people became convinced that Sandusky had raped a boy in Penn State’s showers, Paterno was told specifically about it, and the old coach did nothing to make sure it didn’t happen again. Some have implied/presumed that Paterno actively took part in a cover up (CNN’s Piers Morgan should be hoping that the Paterno family attorney didn’t see him proclaim during verdict coverage that “Joe Paterno was clearly involved in covering this up”).
But the facts as we currently know them just don’t support this narrative that the media has latched onto from the start and never let go of.
The jury, which clearly was very eager to convict Sandusky, declared unanimously that they did not believe beyond a reasonable doubt that McQueary witnessed/heard a rape. McQueary and Paterno both testified on multiple occasions that McQueary didn’t give Paterno a full report on all the details of what he thought he saw/heard. Paterno did indeed report McQueary’s allegations regarding a FORMER employee to his superior and the head of the campus police. And, despite an avalanche of emails which have come out indicating Penn State officials actively covered this up, not one relevant mention of Paterno has yet to be found.
There are many good reasons why the jury chose to acquit on that charge (and were being rather charitable to the prosecution by convicting on the other McQueary allegations).
First, McQueary made numerous statements to different people which were seemingly inconsistent. Amazingly, he somehow misreported both the month and the YEAR in which the episode took place (another fact which the media has almost universally ignored, proven by the numerous examples from the verdict coverage where reporters still incorrectly referred to the incident having happened in 2002).
Even more significantly, his actions made absolutely no sense. He made no effort to stop whatever was actually happening. He didn’t even bother to identify the boy (who, again, it is very important to point out because the media has also ignored this fact, does not exist as far as anyone knows). He didn’t go to the police. And he continued to actively participate in public events sponsored by Sandusky.
It is quite possible that McQueary observed something horrible that day, but in many ways he was a terrible witness and the evidence that Paterno had to go on regarding his FORMER employee was meager/vague at best (it is important to understand that McQueary’s testimony only screams “rape” when we have far more information about the real Sandusky than Paterno apparently did at the time). People seem to forget that Sandusky was a local hero who ran one of the largest charities in the state. A false allegation against him would have had devastating consequences for many people.
Paterno himself said (in what was misinterpreted as some sort of a confession) that knowing what he knew at the time of his firing that he “wished he had done more.” But at the time this was not nearly as easy a call as it seems today with the benefit of hindsight. There are literally hundreds of people who should feel the same way and many of them had far more information than it appears an aging Paterno did and none of them have suffered remotely similar consequences.
Did Joe Paterno deserve a medal for how he handled the Sandusky matter? Absolutely not. It is also probable that we will eventually learn more about his involvement in the case (personally, I have also felt Paterno forced Sandusky to resign in 1999 and when confronted with McQueary felt as if this was a problem that was no longer his to deal with). But to this date, if there was a fair trial of Joe Paterno on the question of whether he deserved to have his reputation/legacy destroyed in what amounted to a virtual death sentence, the verdict would still be a resounding not guilty.
I am sure that most of the news media would be quite shocked by such a judgment, but even a jury seems to care more about the real truth than they do these days.
Things Most People Still Don't "Get" About the Jerry Sandusky Scandal
One of the most interesting phenomenon about the biggest news stories of the modern age is that the larger a story is, the bigger the gap seems to be between what people think they know about what happened and what really occurred (this is how most Americans think Bill Clinton was impeached for having oral sex with an intern) .
Having communicated, from a contrarian point of view, with literally hundreds of people about the Jerry Sandusky case, I have been struck by how true this is regarding the horrific narrative which has captivated the sports world since last November. Because at one point I was preparing to produce a documentary on it for a major network (one that will be made, but without my participation) I have made it my business to know all of the facts about this case.
In my experience there are many important elements which, thanks in large part to poor media coverage, are not just lost on the general public, but which the average person simply refuses to accept as reality, even when they are directly told about them. Most incredibly, I have found that this is even true with a lot of Penn State supporters who, seemingly out of guilt and fear of being seen as not accepting reality, have bought into largely suspect narratives.
To be clear, I am totally convinced that Sandusky was guilty and that the verdicts were, for the most part, completely justified (though the process was clearly rushed). I just strongly believe that many people have come to unfair conclusions about the now deceased Joe Paterno because they simply don’t have a clear picture of all the facts.
Here are the most important things that, at least in my experience, most people just don’t "get" about the Jerry Sandusky scandal.
Without a doubt, the number one item on this list is that there is no known victim from the episode witnessed by Mike McQueary, which got so much of the media coverage and which ultimately resulted in Paterno’s firing. When I tell people this fact they think that I am either joking or that I simply mean that the victim just doesn’t want to be identified.
Neither is true. Despite worldwide media coverage and the likelihood of a huge civil case paycheck, no one has ever come forward in any way to say that they were raped or abused by Sandusky in the Penn State showers on the day McQueary says he saw something awful. This doesn’t mean it didn’t happen, but it should have at least raised important questions which were mostly never asked.
Not only is there no known victim from the McQueary episode, incredibly, the only known witness to the event got the date it happened wrong. McQueary didn’t just get the day of this seemingly momentous incident wrong. He also got the month wrong. And the even the year! The only thing more remarkable than this inexplicable lapse in memory (how do you forget the year in which something like that happened unless you only thought it was extremely significant years later?), was that the very same media which covered the initial McQueary allegation as if it was a presidential assassination, barely even mentioned this startling revelation which came to light just before the trial.
Two other facts about McQueary, which have been lost in the avalanche of information about the case, are that he told a doctor friend that he never saw any sex and that he went out of his way to participate in at least two events hosted by Sandusky after the scene in the shower. Both of these issues came up at trial (the jury even asked to have the doctor’s testimony read back during deliberations) and probably played a role in one of the verdicts.
Now that the verdicts are in, also making the list of things most people don’t realize about the Sandusky case is the significance of one of the three not guilty judgments. It turns out that, after all of the coverage of the McQueary allegation and the resulting ignominious ending of a 60 year era at Penn State football and the death of a legend, Sandusky was actually acquitted of the rape charge from that allegation.
This was hardly ever mentioned on any of the television coverage of the verdict and is more than just an interesting and ironic footnote to the trial. The reality is that this verdict proves that the grand jury report should never have described what McQueary witnessed as an “anal rape.” That one phrase dramatically altered the narrative of the entire saga. Without it, I honestly believe that media firestorm is greatly diminished (no one to my knowledge has ever pointed out that the first edition of Sports Illustrated after the grand jury report came out had exactly zero hard news stories on the scandal), Paterno and Penn State are not the only focus, and Paterno at least survives long enough to get the hearing he deserved.
Most people, even in the news media, are also unaware that there was only one other allegation of actual rape (interestingly the mother of that victim does not blame Penn State or Paterno at all) in the grand jury report, which is probably why the prosecutors stretched too far on the McQueary incident. All of the other most egregious allegations came about because new victims came forward after all of the initial publicity. All of the many accusers at trial created the misimpression that there was a mountain of evidence at the time of Paterno’s firing. This just wasn’t the case.
Similarly, people I speak to have a very difficult time separating what we now know about what a monster Sandusky is and what information Paterno apparently had at the time when he decided all that he had to do was notify his superiors. Based on the current evidence, all Paterno knew was that a graduate assistant had sort of witnessed Sandusky engaging in highly inappropriate contact of a sexual nature in a Penn State shower. There is no existing proof that Paterno knew of any other allegations and certainly didn’t have the full context of Sandusky’s actions we all unfortunately have now.
This leads to the next misunderstanding surrounding how easy it would have been for Paterno or anyone else to pin a child molester label on Sandsky. Not only were there no other concurrent allegations (as far as we currently know, Penn State football was unaware of the 1998 investigation into an incident which prosecutors deemed unchargeable), but Sandusky was a local hero and ran a huge charity on which thousands of people relied. A false charge of child molester would have been devastating to many people and irreversible. It has been presumed that Paterno and others at Penn State looked the other way on Sandusky out of fear of damaging their precious program, but there are other rational interpretations of their hesitancy to go public.
It is also important to point out that, while he didn’t go public with McQueary’s story, contrary to widespread perception, Paterno did indeed go to the police (the head of the campus police) and his superior, just as the law required him to do so. Most people are as unaware of the basic fact as they are that Sandusky was a FORMER Penn State assistant at the time McQueary came to him. In Paterno’s mind Sandusky was no longer his responsibility.
Most people I speak to about this presume that Paterno took part in a cover up and placed the reputation of his football team over the well being of defenseless children. But just to be clear, as of today, there is zero evidence to back up this allegation. While numerous email are being made public which indicate other Penn State officials may have participated in a cover up, there is not even one relevant mention of Joe Paterno.
If people still want to think that the crimes of Jerry Sandusky were really the fault of Joe Paterno or someone else, that is fine with me. People are entitled to their own opinions. They just should have all the facts before they come to their conclusions. Unfortunately, in this case, very few people, even in the news media, are aware of all of them.
Why Rev. Wright Still Matters
In a series of developments that have transpired at lightning speed even by the modern “twitterized” standards of communication, news has broken today that: a Super PAC is planning an effort to make president Obama’s connection to Rev. Wright a major issue in the campaign, Mitt Romney has repudiated the plan, and the major donor behind the proposal has apparently backed away from the idea. All of this occurred before lunch time.
As someone who has made a major documentary film which goes into more depth on the Wright issue during the 2008 campaign than another other video entity, who has broken the story (which has been verified by others but largely ignored) about how Matt Drudge helped contain the Wright brushfire during the Obama/Clinton battle, and who knows some of the key players in this story, I may have some insight about these important happenings.
First, let’s stipulate that many Americans (including myself) will never “get over” the notion that an inexperienced and unaccomplished first-term senator who promised not to run for president in 2008 because he likes to “know what I’m doing” before he applies for a job could possibly have gotten elected president with a close association to an anti-American racist like Wright. Even more frustrating is the reality that, thanks to incredibly biased media coverage of the issue, many Americans either didn’t even know about the issue or certainly didn’t understand the full magnitude of it.
Quite simply, for any other presidential candidacy in American political history, having gone to Wright’s church for twenty years (long after even Oprah Winfrey left because it was too controversial), been married by the guy, written a book whose title was inspired by the man, and having praised him while on the campaign trail, would have faced instant destruction. But Barack Obama was allowed to play be very different rules than anyone else who ever pursued the most powerful office in the world.
I also understand those who say that this issue is “old news” and will have no positive impact on the 2012 election and I completely “get” why the Romney camp instantly and strongly repudiated the idea of a Super PAC making Wright the issue that John McCain was afraid to make it (it is important to note that while McCain was indeed a wimp in 2008, it should have been the media’s job to make the Wright association a factor in that campaign).
However, there are at least two very good reasons why it would be a mistake to once again take a pass on the Rev. Wright story.
The first is that, as I document in “Media Malpractice” the Wright issue has never been properly framed. One of the ways that Obama and the media “conspired” to help him escape this political death trap was to make the issue one of “race.” When Obama gave his much praised (and grossly misunderstood) “race speech” after the Wright issue exploded on the scene, the media decided it had its excuse to quickly move on.
But the real issues regarding Wright and Obama have almost nothing to do with race. Instead, the focus here should be on honesty, integrity, the authenticity of the Obama narrative.
Obama has sold himself as a “post partisan” “post racial” leader who disdains traditional politics. But the reality is exactly the opposite and his handling of the Wright connection clearly proves this.
First, he decided to pick his church based primarily on its ability to give him much needed (for a half-white Harvard grad with a weird name) “street credibility” in the black community of Chicago. Then, when the story broke nationally, he blatantly lied about what he knew of Wright’s sermons and directly contradicted himself in his famous “race speech.” Then he threw Wright under the bus the instant that he became politically expendable and used his own race as an escape hatch.
In short, a proper telling of the Wright story reveals Obama to be a fraud. This is obviously potentially incredibly powerful because if the American people are able to better understand that they have been sold a bill of goods regarding who Obama is as a person/politician, then it will be far easier for them to see the light when it comes to evaluating his presidency as a whole.
Secondly, a proper attack on the Wright issue could provide a strong defense, or at least a deterrent, on the “Mormon issue” regarding Romney’s religion.
The media has already made it clear that they intend to make Romney’s religion a campaign topic, either overtly or covertly, whenever possible. By making Wright a major campaign subject this puts the media/Obama campaign in a rather tough spot. If they condemn the Wright attacks, then it makes it extremely difficult for them to “go Mormon.” If they don’t, then at least the issue is neutralized as very few undecided voters are going to view Romney’s Mormonism as more of a negative than Obama’s Wright connection. My gut tells me this is a good trade for the Romney forces. At worst, it is a wash.
My source at the epicenter of this effort tells me that, thanks to today’s developments, the Wright plan is almost certainly dead. This is a shame. The fact that the full truth of this story has never been really widely reported is a damning indictment of the state of our media and our politics. It also increases the chances of the Barack Obama being a two-term president.
An Electoral College Tie: Far More Likely Than You Think
While, from the perspective of the calendar, it is obviously very early in the presidential race, the outcome may be far more set in stone than most observers are willing or able to admit. I have said during the primaries (while making the case for Mitt Romney), that a presidential election is far more like a poker game where most of the cards have already been drawn, than like a sports contest where, theoretically, anything can happen after the start of play.
For all intents and purposes, the only cards yet to be dealt in this 2012 race are the VP pick, the debate and the economy cards. Frankly, there is a very good chance that Romney’s VP pick will purposely not move the needle, that the debates will be a wash, and that the perception of the economy (no matter how hard the media tries) will remain pretty much what it currently is. Given these assumptions, it is quite possible to make an educated prediction about how the election will turn out.
What is most amazing about all of this is how incredibly likely an Electoral College tie currently appears to be. Last night I went to www.270towin.com and predicted the election state by state. Without concern for the overall outcome my map resulted in a 269-269 tie. Remarkably, my map doesn’t contain anything close to a massive upset and makes perfect sense as a broader narrative for the election (in other words, there are no results which contradict one other like Romney winning Pennsylvania but somehow losing Virginia, which wouldn’t make a lot of sense).
This is not to say the map I came up with doesn’t need some explaining.
The most “surprising” outcomes I predicted are probably Romney winning Iowa, Nevada, and New Hampshire, while also losing Virginia. Each has a logical rationale.
Romney has campaigned heavily in Iowa twice now and the people there know him fairly well. Obama only won Iowa in 2008 by nine points and there is little doubt that he could easily lose five points off his vote total in any given state. That would make Iowa a true toss up.
Nevada has a heavy Mormon population and Romney has won it easily twice in primaries. Meanwhile, the state has been hit as hard as any other economically and Obama has twice made damaging statements about businesses not going there to visit. Romney has a real shot here.
New Hampshire is Romney’s second home and neighbors (with lots of its refugees) the state he governed. While its motto “Live Free or Die” is somewhat overrated, there is still an anti-government bent there. Obama only won the state by nine points in 2008. Per Electoral College vote, I think New Hampshire is the most important state in 2012 as many of Obama’s paths to 270 are blocked without him winning it.
The most significant state overall will likely be Virginia, and here I think it will be very close with Obama ultimately prevailing. The reasoning here is that the intensity of the federal workers in the northern part of the state to come out and vote against Romney will be stronger than the urge by the heavily evangelical southern section to vote for a Mormon. If I were working for the Romney campaign, I would urge them to buy at least a couple of houses in southern Virginia.
So, as you can see, an Electoral College tie is hardly far fetched. It may even be likely. If this scenario were to transpire it would mean that the newly elected House of Representatives would chose the president (assuming the media didn’t convince a Romney elector to bolt to Obama) in a state-by-state vote, which would almost certainly mean that Obama would be sent packing. Interestingly, the Senate would chose the vice-president, which could mean chaos if the Republicans don’t take over complete control.
Again, this is an early, though educated, predication. No ones knows for sure what will happen, but barring significant and surprising events, this particular scenario is far more likely (as well as potentially dangerous) than anyone seems to currently realize.
The Death of Andrew Breitbart
Like a lot of people, I was once "close" to Andrew Breitbart. Andrew was a very popular guy and had a ton of "friends," but at one point I thought our relationship was at least somewhat unique.
We appeared to be kindred spirits and fellow Los Angeles-based warriors against media bias and we had worked hand in hand on several big stories. I had him on my old radio many times, he "starred" in my first documentary and I helped him debut his Big Hollywood website with their first big story, the exclusive excerpts of Sarah Palin's only post-2008 election sit down interview. He was one of three people with whom I spent my 40th birthday.
We had a very complex falling out a couple of years ago, the details of which, while interesting and publicly relevant, I will not get into at this time out of respect for his passing.
However, there are several important elements to his death that I wish to eventually address because I am likely the only one in a position to do so. Earlier today, I wrote a long piece (most of which was very positive) about this subject, but have since decided to delay its publication out of respect for his family.
For now, I will just say this:
If there is one tiny bright spot in all of this, the Andrew I knew would have been absolutely thrilled, surprised, touched and amused by all of the attention his death is getting. His hero Rush Limbaugh started his show with a tremendous monologue, his nemesis Glenn Beck devoted much of his show to the story, Drudge (belatedly) prominently led with it, the AP send out over ten different versions of it, and many prominent admirers (including some he really didn't like at all) and detractors tweeted their admiration and, at times, biased disparagement. There has even been some unfounded and irrational conspiracy theories how he may have been targeted for death. Man, he would have loved that.
In death Andrew Breitbart has finally gotten what he truly wanted (but knew he was highly unlikely to ever receive) in life: mainstream media acceptance. Nothing in his career would have ever made him more proud.
I just hope he somehow got a chance to experience it.
Penn State vs. Syracuse Equals Massive Media Double Standard
It is early yet, but from here it seems pretty clear that the media has decided that the allegations of sexual abuse against a current Syracuse basketball coach are not going to be treated with nearly the gravity as those against a former Penn State football coach. This double standard is particularly obvious when it comes to the scrutiny of the two head coaches "involved."
While in the media's world the Penn State scandal is far worse (Sports Illustrated, which didn't even do a news story on the grand jury indictments last week, suddenly called it on this week's cover the worst in college history), a look at some of the facts might tell a very different story.
Here is a starting tale of the tape:
Number of known victims who are accusing Jerry Sandusky of engaging in overt sex acts with them: 2
(Learning this fact has confused quite a number of people, including some in the media, who have not carefully read the grand jury report. The reality is that, at most, depending on how you interpret "sex acts," only two witnesses currently claim Sandusky engaged in such activity with them and one of those could be open to interpretation. What has led to this confusion, other than the sensationalistic media coverage, is the fact that the two most talked about allegations do NOT currently have victims attached to them.)
Number of known victims who are accusing Bernie Fine of engaging in overt sex acts with them: 2
Number of Sandusky sex victims to go public: 0
Number of Fine sex victims to go public: 2
Number alleged Sandusky victims directly connected to Penn State football program: 0
Number of alleged Fine victims directly connected to Syracuse basketball program: 2
Number of years Sandusky was on Penn State staff after the school became aware of allegations of inappropriate behavior: 1
Number of years Fine was on Syracuse staff after school become aware of allegations of inappropriate behavior: at least 8 (and still going)
Number of audio tapes in the Syracuse case from the suspects wife admitting to a victim she knew her husband was assaulting him which ESPN sat on for several years: 1
Number of victims publicly called a liar by Joe Paterno: 0
Number of victims publicly called a liar by Jim Boeheim: at least 1
Number of times Paterno has publicly asked for prayers for the victims: several
Number of times Boeheim has publicly asked for prayers for the victims: 0
Number of positive statements sent out by Joe Paterno supporting Jerry Sandusky after the allegations became public: 0
Number of positive statements sent out by Jim Boeheim supporting Bernie Fine after the allegations became public: 1
Number of libraries at Penn State built by Joe Paterno: 1
Number of libraries at Syracuse built by Jim Boeheim: 0
Number of national championships won by Joe Paterno:2
Number of national championships won by Jim Boeheim: 1
Number of times Penn State football has been on NCAA probation: 0
Number of times Syracuse basketball has been on NCAA probation: 1
Number of major media calls for Paterno to be fired: infinite
Number of major media calls for Boeheim to be fired: 0
Yes, there have been indictments in the Penn State scandal (getting an indictment is notoriously easy) and yes there are far more anonymous accusers of “misconduct” (not sex) and one more apparent witness, but the similarities in the two cases are far more than the differences.
Despite that, there seems little doubt that the media will not presume Jim Boeheim had the same knowledge as they have with Joe Paterno and won’t hold him to a brand new standard that they have seemingly made up after the fact in order to justify an obsession with a very juicy story during a slow sports week.
Both Paterno and Boeheim might be “guilty” and both might be innocent. We just don’t know yet. But we do know that one is getting the benefit of the doubt that the other did not.
My Night With Herman Cain and Why He Isn't Finished Yet
I have seen a lot of strange scenes in my life and career, but few could ever top the Herman Cain event I attended Monday night for its pure “Alice in Wonderland” feel.
I was among about 300 conservatives who attended a private speech the presidential candidate had been scheduled to give for weeks. When dinner was delayed awaiting his arrival, some of us wondered if Cain was going to cancel due to the obvious firestorm surrounding the numerous allegations of sexual harassment which came to an apparent crescendo earlier in the day with a Gloria Allred sponsored press conference. As it turned out, the delay was only due to typically bad LA traffic from Jimmy Kimmel’s studio to the hotel.
Any doubt about how supportive this group would be of Cain was erased immediately when he finally walked in the door and received an extended and nearly unanimous standing ovation as he tried to make his way to his seat through the adoring crowd. While this reaction did not surprise me (as proven by the testimony of even O.J. Simpson, accused celebrities tend to get notoriously positive reactions in person), I found it to be sad, pathetic and politically dangerous.
Cain was treated like a rock star throughout his address receiving numerous standing ovations, including when he promised that the next day’s press conference would be a “smackdown…only we are going to be doing the smacking!”
It was almost as if we had entered an alternative universe where reality had no power. I am honestly not sure if Ronald Reagan had risen from dead whether he would have been treated as enthusiastically as Herman Cain.
To be fair, he was an absolutely hilarious and fantastic speaker. But to say his words were wafer thin for a leading presidential contender would be an insult to the width of wafers.
There was only one moment when reality briefly reared its ugly head. That was when, after at first appearing be the first guest speaker ever to not take questions from this group, Cain returned to the podium and said he had time for two questions.
As fate would have it, I got the chance to ask the second question.
After joking with him that we might be able to get rid of the national debt by putting a debate between him and President Obama on pay-per-view, I reminded him that many of the voters who will determine the winner of the next election don’t know who he is yet and warned him they will be educated by a media more than able to destroy him like they did Sarah Palin. I then asked him to please convince me that in such an inevitable atmosphere that he could possibly defeat a media darling like Obama.
His answer basically boiled down to a delusional hope that conservatives could go around the media to educate voters to the truth. He then slipped into bombastic platitudes and left the stage to yet another standing ovation (which at least gave me the chance to slip out the back and get to the front of the line for the valet).
It was very clear to me that what I witnessed was strong evidence that while he would need a miracle to win the nomination and absolutely would get crushed in a general election, that Herman Cain is not going to fade away immediately. His supporters simply want to like him too much and are way too invested in is success to let the truth get in the way of their fairy tale.
Then came Tuesday’s “smack down” press conference and Cain certainly didn’t disappoint his supporters when it came to standing strong. The visual setting and the audio were perfect. Cain’s new southern lawyer was commanding. Cain himself was eloquent and defiant during a statement that was neither overly read nor memorized. His answers to the remarkably tame/softball questions were all well executed. He emerged without a new mark on him.
At least for now.
However, his strategy seems to be to not just “double down” but go “all in” that each of his many accusers are flat out lying and that only he is telling the truth. This is not only dangerous because it practically invites even more accusers, but also because you can make a very strong argument that Cain’s campaign has already lied (or, to be extremely charitable, radically changed their story) at least twice during this saga regarding knowledge/nature of the settlements and who is behind the stories.
In short, only those who have already drunk the Kool Aid are going to believe Cain’s story, but those who have, probably will.
But if you were going to throw a Hail Mary pass, Cain’s was a least a spiral and Fox News (by far the most important out let in a Republican presidential primary) was more than willing to try and catch it. The panel of buffoons known as “The Five” which followed the press conference gave Cain rave reviews with only the lone Democrat giving his performance just a “B” instead of an “A.”
Meanwhile, the Drudge Report (the second most important outlet in a Republican presidential primary) once again clearly took Cain’s side, benignly highlighting his nonsensical conspiracy charges and attacks on his accusers.
I continue to point out that the conservative media has a profound financial/ratings self interest to prop Cain’s candidacy up and that they have been incredible soft on him to date. You can decide for yourself if those two facts are connected.
So we are now in a situation that is beyond bizarre. A guy who is not qualified to be president and who can’t possibly win a general election is leading the Republican race and his supporters don’t seem to care that he is at best a fraud (for reasons that have nothing to do with his treatment of women) and, at worst, a “monster” as one of his accusers has now called him.
The reasons Cain’s base of support (I am guessing at least 10 percent of the Republican primary voter population will stay with him no matter what) isn’t going to completely leave him are as fascinating as they are frustrating.
First, they desperately don’t want to nominate Romney and they see Cain as that last viable alternative. Second, they have a startling lack of understanding of (or simply don’t care about) the harsh realities of a general election against Obama. Thirdly, they understandably hate the news media so much that they refuse to believe anything negative about their guy (especially when Gloria Allred is attached), even when they would buy the very same allegations about a liberal in a heartbeat. Fourthly, the conservative media has kept their customers largely in the dark about many of Cain’s most blatant vulnerabilities. Fifthly, the fact that he is black acts like a Teflon shield easily deflecting any doubts from conservatives who instinctually fear attacking a person they so desperately want to be the man they hope him to be. Finally, the desire of conservatives to have their own Obama or Clinton is so great that it overwhelms their rationality and prevents them from accepting that the rules (written by liberals in the media) simply don’t allow for that.
The whole thing is beyond depressing and makes me further question the entire movement. What is most wretched personally is that I am quite sure that, just like with Sarah Palin, I will be further unfairly attacked for simply pointing out the obvious truth about a presidential contender whose nomination would certainly lead to four more years of President Obama.
I am beginning to believe that this result may be exactly what we deserve.
John Ziegler on Herman Cain's Campaign and Why the Conservative Media is Not to be Trusted in their Coverage of Him.
An Open E-mail to Sarah Palin
The following is an actual e-mail "Media Malpractice, How Obama Got Elected and Palin Was Targeted" Filmmaker John Ziegler sent to Sarah Palin's personal e-mail address after she announced she was not running for president.
Dear Governor Palin:
Wow. So, is this really how your political saga is going end? By letting down your remaining supporters and telling them, with a straight face, that you can do more to impact change as a Fox News Contributor than you can as President of the United States?
I was almost positive you would run because it appeared that your brand demanded it from a career maintenance perspective. I had even written a long letter blasting you for being either selfish or delusional in making a decision to run which could help President Obama get reelected. While I applaud you for making the right decision, thanks to the way you made it, I must also question your real rationale.
One of the many reasons (other than the conversation I had earlier this year with Todd about working on your campaign) I was so sure you would give it a shot was that I figured you were way too smart to go this far with a blatant tease without a legitimate exit explanation.
While you have used the “I don’t need a title to impact change” line before (to justify your politically inexplicable resignation as governor of Alaska), I never figured you would actually try to float that as a last minute reason for not pursuing the most important job in the world. It is hard to believe that even the most crazed of your fans will buy that, but I am sure at least some of the remaining lemmings will.
Of course, there is no way you actually believe it yourself. First of all, how is this “issue" new information? You mean to tell us that in the last year since you started talking openly about running for president that this never occurred to you before? If it was a decisive factor now, why wasn’t it that way several months ago before you started acting like a candidate? Why did you selfishly put your supporters through the long wait and stunt the process for the actual candidates?
Secondly, exactly what change have you impacted since resigning from office? Being generous, you raised legitimate questions about a healthcare bill which ended up passing, you may have helped energize a base that assisted in winning back the House, and you were heavily tied to three senate candidates who lost otherwise very winnable races (btw, if “titles” are so unimportant, why did you even bother trying to help those campaigns to begin with?).
Finally, what change do you think you can possibly “impact” in the future now that everyone knows there is no chance of you ever having real political power and your base of current support is sure to wither away? You do realize (as I warned you about after your resignation) that people/media will stop caring about what you say/write once they know for sure you are never going to be president, right? If you still don’t believe me, just ask any promising athlete whose career is cut down prematurely by injury (as yours was by an unfair kneecapping by the media) how they are treated once a comeback is no longer achievable.
It is certainly possible that you may not accept this premise because you are under the understandable delusion (thanks to the media’s obsession with you) that you are somehow special and not bound by the same rules which govern mere mortals. After all, if you didn’t think you deserved extraordinary consideration, you would never have had the audacity to even float the idea of a presidential run after resigning office in a way that was clearly designed to get rich and stay famous.
If this is indeed the case, you are finally in for a rude awakening.
The only reason the liberal media has been obsessing over whether you might run for president is that you would have added to the entertainment value of a Republican race with which they are already getting bored. As you recently accurately (and, given your family’s penchant for participating in such endeavors, rather ironically) observed that they see the whole thing as a “reality show” in need of a new wacky character to spice things up. Plus, they would love for you to have somehow been the nominee to insure Obama’s reelection.
The conservative media has been going along with this charade as well because they see their own ratings as more important than the cause of beating Obama and because they fear offending your fans who are some of their most important customers.
Now that you aren’t running you have made yourself almost totally irrelevant. Unlike with Chris Christie (did you notice how much more passionately the media pined for him than you?), no one with an actual chance will want your endorsement. Once the nominee and the new VP candidate are chosen you will be very old news, and with no elected office (or, thanks to you’re your incredible lack of popularlity in Alaska, even the theoretical chance of one), you will have no opportunity to alter your narrative or make any news.
My guess is that you won’t even end up speaking at the convention because you are too big for a minor slot and too dangerous for a prime one.
If the Republican ends up winning you will no longer have a purpose at all (unless you go really rogue and decide to be the chief conservative critic of the new president) and 2016 is obviously not an option, especially with no way to significantly enhance your resume. If they lose, by the time 2016 comes around a whole new wave of Republican superstars will be ready to take the plunge and you will have already shown yourself to be afraid of getting in the water even when people were still begging you to get in. By 2020 your name will be almost as remote as Dan Quayle’s and you will have been out of office for almost five times as long as you held it.
About the only way you could retain any semblance of political potency is to become the conservative Ralph Nader, constantly threatening a third party run. This would be roughly the “fall from grace” equivalent of Tiger Woods being reduced to doing a dating reality show for attention.
Now, if you realize all of this, then I praise you for making a selfless decision for the betterment of the cause. There was a time not long ago when I truly believed you when you said you were letting your principles guide you and, “If I die politically, I die.” You are now, clearly, about as politically dead as someone of your celebrity could possibly be.
However, based on my personal experience, I have lost my faith in your ability to correctly perceive reality or to be totally honest with yourself and the public. Therefore, I question whether this realization was truly the motivation for your decision not to run.
For instance, on several occasions you have gone out of your way to boldly state, in the face of a mountain if evidence, that you could beat Obama. Pretending for a moment that you actually think that is true, then why in the world would you not even give it a try when the stakes for the country are so high and you claim to have the fire in the belly? Given that your family has already been through far more unfair scrutiny than any other in American history, there wouldn’t seem to be anything left to lose on that front.
The funny thing is that since I told you both personally and publicly that you can’t possibly beat Obama, just about everything you could have possibly asked for has happened. Obama’s approval ratings have dropped dramatically and the economy has stagnated. Michele Bachmann has faded and Rick Perry appears to be following that same path. Chris Christie has made it clear he isn’t going to get in.
And yet you still decided to disappoint your supporters and give up perhaps your last chance to show the American public that the media was wrong about both you and Obama during the 2008 election.
It seems to me you made this decision because you are more than smart enough to realize that, despite the wind blowing strongly at your back and field opening up perfectly, you really can’t win either the nomination or the general election. The facts show that you simply don’t have following that the media has projected, and it seems you don’t want that to be exposed.
The documentary about your resignation you essentially commissioned grossed a shockingly meager $116,000 despite unbelievable free publicity from both ends of the media spectrum desperate for you to get in the race to help their own bottom line. Your PAC’s fundraising numbers have never been spectacular and just before your decision they put out a fundraising letter all but asking supporters to show how much they want you in the race (now that you have decided not to run, are you going to return the money?). Evidently, the response was not nearly what you had hoped or expected.
Finally, your poll numbers (when you say polls are “for strippers” it makes me nervous that you really don’t believe in science) are anemic even among Republicans and you consistently do worse against Obama than almost any other candidate. You also have to know that your two biggest weaknesses (organization and electability) are also the two most important qualities in a protracted nomination battle, the only type of contest you could have even theoretically won in such a crowded field.
The bottom line is that it seems to me that you have made the right moral decision for all the wrong reasons. Ironically, you think you are preserving your political career by not exposing yourself to a potentially embarrassing loss, but in reality you are ending it. This is the exact conclusion for which the seeds were sown during your resignation. As you recall, my warnings about such an inevitability began a rift between us that ultimately resulted in the end of over two years of colorful and consequential contact.
As someone who attended your spectacular convention speech and who put their fortune, career and reputation on the line in your defense, this is a very sad day for me. There is no doubt that you were dealt a horrible hand by a media determined to destroy you because you were once a threat to Obama. You made choices in dealing with your situation which have secured your family’s financial future and insured that you will always have a gig on television, but these decisions have also extinguished a flame which had the potential to light the conservative path for a generation. I still believe that had you stuck it out and remained as governor of Alaska things could have been very different today.
I certainly never could have imagined that things would have turned out this way when we met at your house for the most extensive interview you have ever done about the 2008 election. While I don’t regret my efforts to set the record straight about what happened to you, I do wish I had never taken up your cause and made the mistake of thinking you wanted honest and truthful counsel.
While I have made many mistakes and suffered greatly during this finally ending “Palin chapter” of my life, but at least I sleep well knowing my intentions were always pure. You once stated that in politics you are either eating well or sleeping well. Given the state of your life I wonder if your nights are nearly as restful.
About that Sarah Palin Cover Story in Newsweek..
I read with great interest the glowing article in the current Newsweek which features a rare "mainstream" interview with Sarah Palin. This was hardly just because the take away line from the story is "I can win," though I will address that first.
Sadly, Sarah Palin, as I have written extensively before at great personal cost, is dead wrong in such an assertion. I have no doubt that she really does think she can win as I have learned that she usually is not prone to saying things she doesn't actually believe, but in this case her sincerity is no virtue. I would actually feel better if she was lying like most politicians do.
While the interview appears to have been done before either of the two newest polls from Alaska came out showing her losing to Obama and with deeply under water popularity there, it is currently hard to see how she even wins her home state.
This seemingly shocking (to those who haven't been paying close attention) reality is not just devastating because it is the state where she was governor two years ago and one where any conservative should easily defeat Obama. The real significance of this is that Alaska is way ahead of the curve on the issue which would easily bring down any Palin candidacy in a general election: her resignation.
While the rest of the nation has largely forgotten about her quitting, Alaska obviously has had a far more intimate experience with her decision which, at least to the average person, can only be understood when seen as a bid to get rich and remain famous.
When I get ripped by Palin fans for having the gall to raise this perilous issue and its obvious consequences in a 2012 general election, I often feel as if I am arguing with the same people who thought OJ Simpson was innocent.
How in the world are we even discussing whether someone out of office, already with 99 percent name recognition, 60 percent disapproval rates, and losing numbers in their home state can beat an incumbent media darling like Obama?!
And yet the stunningly sycophantic Newsweek article (by normal mainstream media Palin standards it makes an average Larry King movie review seem critical) makes no mention of these realities and will surely only feed the delusion that Palin is correct in her electoral assessment.
But despite my well-known interest in chronicling Palin-related media coverage, the remarkably softball nature of the article was not the most noteworthy element of the article to me. Instead, it was that it was written by Peter J Boyer.
After my essay "The Sarah Palin I Know" ran in the Daily Caller, Boyer emailed me and asked me to call him. He wanted to discuss the story of my two years on the fringe of Palin's world, having produced the only film for which she ever did an interview and been an informal advisor to her for a period of time.
Over several days we talked for well over three hours. He never told me exactly what story he was working on, but he strongly led me to believe that the article would focus on my experiences and crusade to tell the truth about Palin (both good and bad). You wouldn't know it from the story he ended up writing, but he seemed to totally understand how absurd it is to think she could be elected president in 2012. Numerous sections of it appeared written by a completely different person than the one I spoke to all that time.
As is almost always the case with reporters, I figured he would eventually either wimp out or screw me, so my expectations for what he would do with our discussions were low (if you wonder why I would bother to even talk with someone I expected to do me wrong, you are obviously smarter than I am). So when he went silent for awhile I figured the story was dead. When he emailed me saturday morning and laughably claimed that my narrative, though interesting, required more space than he had, I chuckled to myself and emailed him back that he was full of crap (I wish people just had the balls to tell you the the truth when they are doing you wrong).
But when I read his article on Palin I was truly outraged (keep in mind, having been treated almost universally horribly by reporters in my career it is almost impossible for me to be outraged by anything these jackals do). Not because my story is not mentioned (who in the world wouldn't ditch my tale after getting a one on one with her?!), but because it seemed pretty clear to me that Boyer had probably secured his interview with Palin at least in part by lying to me.
You see, at the end of one of our very long phone calls Boyer asked me to forward to him the last email I sent to Sarah and Todd before my Daily Caller essay ran. Since it appeared he was doing a feature on my experiences such a request made perfect sense and after several hours on the phone I stupidly started to trust him. When I forwarded the email I did so under the condition that he not use or disseminate their addresses.
While obviously I can't prove in court that he broke this promise (which he agreed to via email), the idea that within a couple of days of getting Palin's email he went from seemingly doing a story on my attempts to educate conservatives on why she can't win and making zero mention of having had any contact with her or her people, to suddenly doing an exclusive interview with her and Todd in Iowa and an extremely positive story on her, would be a coincidence of biblical proportions.
When I called him on it via email (surprisingly he did not return my phone call), he denied it, but absent an alternative explanation I will remain convinced he lied to me, especially since he was clearly deceitful during other elements of our interaction.
I realize that a reporter breaking an agreement and misleading a source to land a big interview is barely worthy of mention in our increasingly immoral society, but I am clearly a dinasour in this realm. Of course the ultimate irony here (or perhaps just proof that couldn't pick the winner of a one horse race) is that after spending most of the last three years of my life fighting against unfair coverage of Palin and paying a heavy price for doing so, I am still getting the short end of the stick even when she suddenly is getting news treatment far better than her increasingly likely presidential candidacy deserves.
Top 10 Developments Of the First Week of the New John Ziegler Show
It was an extremely eventful first week of the new John Ziegler Show on KGIL. Here are the top ten incredible developments in order of when they happened:
1. KFI's John Kobylt calls KGIL's owner to whine (while apparently stuttering and stammering) about John Ziegler telling the truth about him.
2. KABC's Doug McIntyre writes John Ziegler three times (twice after telling him he would never write him again) to complain that their freindship didn't prevent Ziegler from calling him on his Obama sellout.
3. Governor Sarah Palin does an amazing 16 minute live interview in which she gives her first reaction to the David Letterman controversey.
4. John Ziegler goes on MSNBC to talk about the Palin interview and the Letterman flap and gets his mike turned off after calling MSNBC out on its bias.
5. Rush Limbaugh (on KFI among hundreds of other stations) spent two full segments on Ziegler's MSNBC appearance, strongly praising him.
6. Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly does a live interview on the show.
7. Video of Ziegler's MSNBC appearence goes viral on the internet.
8. Snippets of Ziegler's Palin interview are used in newscasts nationwide as the Letterman controversey grows.
9. MSNBC's Joe Scarborough comes on the John Ziegler Show.
10. Governor Palin mentions her interview on the John Ziegler Show while live on the Today Show.
Exclusive Sarah Palin Interview
John Ziegler's Exclusive Interview With Sarah Palin
If someone would have told me five months ago that in early January I would pay over $1,400 for an incredibly inconvenient plane ticket and $120 for a 3 am cab fare to get from sunny Los Angeles to Wasilla, Alaska, I would have told them there was a better chance that the Dow Jones would be below 9,000 and a gallon of gas would be less than two dollars.
If they would have told me that I would be glad I made the journey (even with a seven-hour, weather-aided, stop in Seattle), I would have told them Sarah Palin had a better chance to be John McCain’s running-mate. Of course, as well all now know, all that turned out to be true. And even though I still have the flu I got just before the trip, I am thrilled I got to experience -11 degrees in Alaska.
Obviously, I went there to interview Governor Palin for my forthcoming documentary on the media coverage of the 2008 election. My understanding is that the only reason that Governor Palin did this interview (while rejecting hundreds of other requests) is simply because she has a sincere devotion to setting the record straight on what really happened during the campaign and determining why the news coverage was as dangerously slanted as it so clearly was.
Largely because of absurd claims by Democrats that she was violating ethics rules by answering campaign questions on state grounds (one of several ways in which the Democrats there, who used to love her, are now totally invested in the “take Sarah Palin down” industry), we did the interview at the Palin home. At 9 am, without a security guard or handler within sight, Bristol Palin, eight days removed from giving birth, politely answered the door and Governor Palin, not yet fully put together, rushed out to tell me and our crew to make ourselves at home.
One of the things you quickly learn when you visit the Palins is that the legend that has been created around who they are and how they live is no myth. It appears to be absolutely real and everything about them seems 100% sincere. From the stuffed hunting trophies on the wall, to the Track’s military photo by the TV set, to Piper’s crayon school projects on the kitchen cabinets, everything is exactly as you imagine it might be.
What was particularly valuable about the perspective I had was that, I am not Charlie Gibson, Matt Lauer or Greta Van Susteren (who I understand now gets her mail delivered to the Palin home); the conductors of the three most prominent interviews done in the Wasilla house on the frozen lake at the end of the drive that has the sign “Palins” posted on a tree at the entrance. Unlike them, I am virtually unknown nationally and there was absolutely no reason for anything to be done differently as a “show” for us. We saw the genuine Sarah Palin and it is patently obvious that this is the only one that exists. She is the real deal.
As a former TV sportscaster and radio talk show host, I have interviewed a lot big-time “celebrities,” and I can honestly say that, even though you could argue that Sarah Palin was the most prominent I have ever spoken to one-on-one, she was also by far the nicest, most sincere and, seemingly, honest subject that I have ever questioned.
For context, I admit to being a fan of Sarah Palin from before she was ever named John McCain’s VP candidate. I attended her convention speech and consider it to be by far the finest that I have ever personally witnessed. But, being a world-class cynic, I also wondered if maybe there was at least some truth the to the negative media narrative that had been created about her. Maybe she really wasn’t that smart, maybe she was indeed a “diva” or a “wack job.” Well, if anything of those smears are remotely true, Palin should move here to LA permanently because she is a far better actor (not to mention better looking) than the vast majority of actresses in Hollywood.
Our interview started early and ended late (ask Barbara Walters how often that happens at this level). The Governor fully answered every question I asked, even though some of them brought up media episodes that clearly got her upset and, when the subject turned to her kids being targeted, even a little emotional. She then posed for pictures and signed autographs for the entire crew and casually discussed all sorts of topics, including how the local newspaper is absurdly still trailing the “story” that her youngest son is not really hers at all (this while Todd walked around with Trig on his back and Bristol cared for her newborn Tripp in a nearby bedroom; even Trig conspiracy theorist Andrew Sullivan would have had a hard time not seeing the insanity in his own delusions).
The madness of the local paper's efforts to prove that Trig is not really Sarah’s baby was not all we learned in the post interview conversations. Conservatives will be thrilled to know that she immediately “got” and seemed to fully appreciate my joke that Pete Wilson (and not Arnold Schwarzenegger) would go down as the last Republican Governor in the history of California, If that wasn’t enough, when she looked at the back cover of my first film (“Blocking the Path to 9/11” www.blockingthepath.com) and saw the photo of one of the film’s targets, Keith Olbermann, she literally let out a groan and, pointing to his photogragh, declared, “THAT guy is so EVIL! What is wrong with him?”
Beyond the great interview for the film (from which there is still plenty of tremendous stuff yet to come), the most important part of my visit to the Palin house is that there is a big difference between thinking that something is true and knowing for sure that it is. I now know that Sarah Palin is exactly who I thought she was.
I also know now, with morally certitude, that the media assassination of her, her character and her family was one of the greatest public injustices of our time and I am totally justified in devoting my life to correcting the historical record in my forthcoming film “Media Malpractice…How Obama Got Elected and Palin Was Smeared” ( www.HowObamaGotElected.com )
O.J. Finally Cracks and the Goldmans Finally Get Their Day
Over 14 years after he brutally killed two people, O.J. Simpson finally faced some real punishment today as he was sentenced for the armed robbery and kidnapping that came directly out of his attempts to avoid paying the Goldman family the judgment against him for killing their son & brother.
Simpson spoke to the court and, clearly frightened, nearly broke down as he please for the judge to go easy on him. Fortunately, this judge was no Ito (why is it that they only people who have any balls anymore are women?) and she would have no of it; reading Simpson the riot act while sentencing to a stiff prison sentence that finally means the end of his days of golf and casual sex. Hopefully it means that Simpson will die in prison.
As for the Goldmans, they finally got some sense of justice. Make NO MISTAKE, this was THEIR victory even though most people don't think that this episode had anything to do with them. It most certainly did! Simpson was forced into making the mistakes he made in Las Vegas as a direct result of their relentless pressure of justice for him. It was only because they never gave up the fight and never backed off the promise they made to Ron that Simpson was ever caught in the mistake that finally took away his freedom.
The Goldmans finally made that point in dramatic fashion (as JZ has been trying to get his friend Kim to do for over a year now!) today after the verdict.
The two videos below do not make up for the pain and suffering that the injustice that this case has caused, but they sure are nice to watch. The first is Simpson groveling. The second is the Goldmans finally taking in a true victory.
New www.HowObamaGotElected.com Poll Provokes Wave Of Coverage/Criticism
A new poll commissioned by www.howobamagotelected.com for John Ziegler's forthcoming documentary "Media Malpractice... How Obama Got Elected" was released today and the results are provoking lots of discussion.
The poll was done after "popular demand" following the release two weeks ago of a Zogby poll that, for reasons that had nothing to do with bias, included only Obama voters. This new poll, done by Wilson Research Strategies was commissioned after Zogby caved to the left-wing pressure and refused to duplicate the first poll.
The results, which can be found at www.howobamagotelected.com basically show that McCain voters were better at answering simple questions about the campaign (like which party controls congress) than Obama voters, and there appears to be a direct link between the media outlets that voters were exposed to, what they knew (or thought they knew) about the campaign, and, ultimately for whom they voted.
Here are some of the more interesting articles written about this poll.
John Ziegler's op-ed as well as video of his appearance last night is here.
A WND article on the reaction to the polls is here
The Wall Street Journal (whose reporter, in an interview with John Ziegler actually questioned whether Democrats really controlled congress!!) did its best to try and minimize the results of the poll because the poll apparently failed to end world hunger and solve the financial crisis, here
Hot Air's Ed Morrissey writes about Ziegler's "vindication" here
Below are two great videos of interviews done with Ziegler today. The first is with Hot Air's Ed Morrissey.
The second video is a live head-to-head match up with Nate Silver the total fraud who started the criticism of Zogby poll by incorrectly calling it a "push poll." Listen as Ziegler confronts him on that and many other issues . It gets rather heated. This site is guessing that Silver does not post the interview on his blog, lest his blind followers see the light and see that he is indeed full of crap.
John Ziegler Makes Statement on Zogby Poll Decision
It was revealed today on the Rush Limbaugh Show that the Zogby polling company has rejected John Ziegler's attempt to commission a poll of McCain voters to follow up on the poll of Obama voters that created so much controversy this week.
John Ziegler originally did not seek to poll McCain voters because he is doing a documentary on the media's impact the election and since Obama won, which stories "broke through" to McCain voters is of no direct relevance to the project. However, after challenging the left (on TV)to commission the same poll of McCain voters (no one took him up on it) and having Bill O'Reilly urge him to do so on his radio program, Ziegler asked the Zogby people if they would do the exact same poll as they did last week. Today they told him that they would refuse to do so.
Ziegler believes that there is little if any doubt that the Zogby company has been frightened into submission by that left-wing nuts that rule much of the internet media. In his most recent statement ,Zogby has made several comments that are both apparently factually inaccurate as well as in direct contradiction to his original statement in which he totally stood by the poll (as opposed to the "half-Obama" throwing under the bus that he is currently performing on his own poll) .
It is rather obvious to Ziegler that Zogby fears that if he were to do the same poll of McCain voters that the results would show a MASSIVE divide in the level of knowledge of THESE issues/questions in comparsion with Obama voters, and that this would lead to even GREATER attacks on him in the Obama-loving media. It is important to point out that NONE of this was the intent of poll.
John Ziegler's statement on all of the attacks on this project (ever-evolving with developments), can be read here.
John Ziegler Releases Statement On Reaction To www.HowObamaGotElected.com
Below is video of the "B-cast" on which Ziegler appeared today to explain much of the story behind all of this.
John Ziegler Releases New Obama Voter Video/Website/Poll On "Hannity and Colmes"
As part of his forthcoming documentary, "Media Malpractice... How Obama Got Elected," John Ziegler released a new web video along with the findings of a nationwide Zogby poll of Obama voters he commisioned. Ziegler appeared on Fox News Channel's "Hannity and Colmes" to give them the exclusive story before Zogby's official release tomorrow..
The purpose of the video/poll was to examine the impact of the news media on what Obama voters knew (or thought they knew) about the campaign.
The Youtube version of the video and Ziegler's appearance on Fox News are below. Please feel free to spread the videos as much as you can!
John Ziegler's Final Election Predictions
In 2004 my day before the election predictions were arguable the best in the nation (right down to predicting John Edwards would come out and try to lay the groundwork for Florida recount part 2, though I got the time of his address wrong by a couple of hours). Here are my predictions for 2008..
Like 2004, the exit polls are going to be gruesome for the Republican side. Then, I think very early on it will look like McCain is holding his own and maybe even going to pull off a miracle.
Unfortunately, I still think the very best that John McCain can do is lose 278-260 in the Electoral College and, because he is being forced to defend such a large map with such limited resources, just a few votes going the other way could alter the final EC significantly. I think it is possible that Obama wins an EC blowout as large as 364-174 without winning the popular vote by that large a margin. There will be a LOT of very close states, but even if McCain runs the table it is almost impossible (without Pennsylvania or at least Virginia, both of which are VERY long shots) to see how McCain gets to 270.
As for the actual result, I am guessing 291-247, but that is very much on the optimistic side. As for popular vote, I say it will be 51.7 to 47.1.
May Tiger help us all.
"Blocking the Path to 9/11" now available on Amazon.com
John Ziegler's film, "Blocking the Path to 9/11" is now available on Amazon.com
The Hollywood Reporter did a front page article on the film here
Daily Variety has come out witha laughably biased review of the film, which can be read here.
This website is considering revealing the bizarre e-mail exchange that John Ziegler had with the person who wrote the review.
Below is a video just released on YouTube of the September 11th double screening of the film in Orange County.The video was put together by orangecountyfilms.net
McCain Waves Flag of Surrender
John McCain waved the flag (not white, that might be racist) of surrender today. Just a day after being dramatically urged to finally tell the truth about Barack Obama, McCain told supporters that Obama is a good man of whom we should not be scared. He was jeered by the crowd and rightfully so. He might as well have conceded the election without even a proper fight.
Incredibly Barack Obama is going to become President without even having to face a real campaign even though he "faced" Hillary Clinton and John McCain who are known for their alleged toughness. The War Hero has lost his nerve and the country will suffer because of it.
Below is a video of some of the key moments at today's event.
McCain Campaign Takes Gloves Off Just After the Fight is Over
The John McCain Presidential Campaign has finally decided to tell (most of) the truth about Barack Obama's radical ties and the Democrat's culpability in the current financial crisis. Unfortunately, they have decided to do so at exactly the worst possible moment.
Now that Obama has been accepted by at least half the nation as a plausible/credible Presidential candidate and the the McCain campaign is finally far enough behind in the polls to look desperate, the long overdo attacks will be easily dismissed by the pro-Obama news media as a way of changing the subject from the "really important story" of the economy (I am sure that if similar charges were leveled by Obama against a McCain team that was winning, that the media wouldn't see them as quite the same "distraction").
As for the Palin-led attacks on Obama's relationship with domestic terrorist Bil Ayers, they are (despite the best efforts of the media to disparage them) dead on. However, the association that they should be concentrating on is the one between Obama and Rev. Jeremiah Wright . Unfortunately, McCain is afraid of being called a racist (despite Obama HIMSELF having called the issue "legitimate") and considering the bizarre fact that Palin has already been called racist by the Associated Press for talking about the Messiah's relationship with a white man, his fears are well founded, if also cowardly.
The bottom line is that if you are going to go after a guy's nuts (assuming Obama has any to begin with) you do so at the beginning so that he is neutered enough to never reach the 50% level. Hillary didn't learn this lesson and niether did McCain. This is what the Republican Convention should have been for, if McCain hadn't been pretending to be so concenred about a hurricane that neverly really happened.
As for finally trying to set the record straight on the Democrat's role in the sub-prime mortgage mess, McCain is being played a little bit like a comic book superhero by the villains who use his better nature against him. McCain couldn't tell the truth about this at the first debate because if he did so he would likely blow up the very fragile "deal" for the so-called "bailout" bill. This delay in telling the truth (for what McCain thought was for the good of the country) allowed the news media, Nancy Pelosi (who was not restricted in her words by such quaint notions of what was best for the nation) and perceptions about Republican Wall Street fat cats to cement the notion that Republicans (and even more tragically) and McCain himself were somehow to blame. Once the perception has been created it is almost impossible to reverse, especially when you are down in the polls and have the media dead set against. you. This will be a classic case of too little, too late.
The first video is classic Palin on the Ayers issue. The second is McCain going to town on the real causes of the economic crisis. As great as they are, they will likely only make for nice items in the museum for losers. Governor Palin and her family (as well as true conservatives everywhere) deserve better than this.
FINALLY!!! AFTER 13 YEARS SOME JUSTICE FOR O.J. SIMPSON!!
Thirteen years to day after having been wrongly acquitted for two murders he clearly committed, O.J. Simpson was finally convicted on all twelve counts in an armed robbery that occurred in Las Vegas last September.
Despite the fact that the judge in the case kept out a lot of the most damaging and important evidence for fear of influencing the jury with elements of the double murder case, the jury was able to figure it all out in just thirteen hours of deliberation before coming back with convictions on all counts.
Though this case could be seen as rather complicated, the jury was able to see the simple fact that O.J. Simpson clearly took property (much of which was never his) with the use of force and wielded guns. While Simpson finally going to prison for a fourth-rate burglary is the modern equivalent of getting Al Capone for tax evasion, the verdict is just and finally brings some closure and healing to to a cultural wound that has been festering for thirteen years.
Personally, the best part of all of this is how and why it happened (and not just because I played a small role in the falling dominoes, which I will be writing about in more detail shortly). This case happened as a DIRECT result of Kim and Fred Goldman keeping their promise to the deceased Ron Goldman that they would never give up pursuing justice for Simpson. Because they kept up the pressure (even when 99% of others would have long ago given up) on the killer, he was forced to deal with the dregs of humanity and take risks that would eventually catch up with him. For those who believe "what comes around , goes around" this situation is a case study. But it never would have happened had Kim and Fred given up.
I know from speaking to Kim that they are both thrilled with the verdict. I told her that she and her father should be very proud of how they have kept their promise to Ron to never stop pursuing justice, and that our nation owes them a debt of gratitude.
Nothing will ever erase the evil that Simpson created the night of the murders, during the trials and in the numerous controversies that came out of them, but the fact that it appears that Simpson will never play golf again and will likely die in prison, gives me some hope that there is still SOME justice in the world.
Some random thoughts on the “shocking” 228-205 defeat for the misnamed “Wall Street Bailout” plan:
-- Thanks to extreme media bias, general public ignorance (stupidity) and Republican cowardice (caused mostly by the first two factors) the vast majority of Americans have no idea how we got here and are blaming all the wrong people. The root of this problem came from too much government-directed socialism and reverse racism in the home mortgage industry. There are no two people more to blame for this than Democratic members of Congress Barney Frank and Maxine Waters (watch the second video below to see why).
-- While I think that the plan is based in the repugnant belief that government is the answer to everything and pushing us far faster than we were already headed down the road to total socialism, I wish it would have passed because I think we are headed that way regardless of what we do and that we might as well go as gently as possible with no deep depression
-- While Nancy Pelosi’s speech on the floor before the vote was totally wrong and inappropriate and in a just world would mean the end of her Speakership, the notion that this caused Republicans to vote against the bill is both overrated and irrelevant.
--- However, while many have understandably mocked the notion that Republicans voted against the bill because they had their feelings hurt, I would ask you to put yourself in the position of a Republican member who hates the bill but has decided it is in the short-term best interest of the nation. You go down to the floor to eat your “crap sandwich” and Nancy Pelosi, whose party you are certain was responsible for the mess and who is doing NOTHING to pressure any of the 95 members of HER caucus (including some of her top leadership and closest allies) who voted against the bill to change their minds, decides that she is going to rub your face in it by blaming you for the crisis. Would you still be able to cast that vote?
-- The most important and underrated fact of the day is that those 95 Democrats voted against the bill with ABSOLUTELY ZERO pressure from Pelosi or the party, and yet they have the gall to blame Republicans (who had a third of its members vote against their principles and for the bill) for the loss. I urge you to listen to the radio interview with Karl Rove on this topic that is linked below. The facts here are devastating; unfortunately facts don’t seem to matter any more.
-- The most bizarre moment I saw today (even more so than Barney Frank being lavishly praised by Speaker Pelosi at the same press conference) came from Democratic South Carolina Congressman Jim Clyburn. At a press conference of Democratic “leaders” Clyburn had the audacity to claim that “67% of Republicans put their own political ideology over the best interest of our nation.” This of course begs the question; if Republicans who voted against the bill were putting “political ideology” over the best interest of the country, what exactly did the 95 Democrats (including 20 members of Clyburn’s own Black Caucus) put ahead of the United States? Naked cowardice? Clyburn then put the laughable cherry on this insane sundae by immediately calling for an end to “partisanship” (i.e. calling for a total and complete Republican surrender) in the process. You can read more about the Pelosi/Clyburn scam here.
-- Incredibly, all of this has made Barack Obama, who has been the biggest coward of all in this process (he didn’t call a single Democratic congressman to urge passage of the bill he said he sort of supported and was kind of nessesary for thegood of the country!) and has shown no signs at all of being willing or able to handle any of the issues in the crisis, a virtual lock to win the election and oversee the cementing of the feet of our economy into permanent and real socialism.
And today is only Monday!
Make sure to check out the Karl Rove interview below. The now infamous 2004 "Smoking Gun" congressional hearing is below that.
"Blocking the Path to 9/11" Wins Best Documentary at the Valley Film Festival
Tonight, John Ziegler's film (which he wrote/ directed/ produced and narrated), "Blocking the Path to 9/11" won the Best Documentary award at the Valley Film Festival in North Hollywood.
Since, like most film festivals in the LA area, the Valley Film Festival is hardly known for its political conservatism, Ziegler was surprised that the film was even accepted into the festival and shocked that it actually won the award for best documentary against some good competition. Photos of Zig accepting the award and with the film's star Cyrus Nowrasteh answering questions, are below.
In addition to winning the award for best documentary, here is a sampling of other praise for the film:
Joel Surnow, the creator of the smash hit TV show "24," said, "Terrific film. Great job. This movie needs to be seen."
Academy Award nominated actor Gary Sinise said, "I thought it was very well put together. Hard hitting. Pulls no punches and informative. Lots of information that the general public would have no way of knowing. You have done a terrific job and I am glad that you have liberals in there talking about it as well."
Famed film Director Ron Maxwell ("Gettysburg" and "Gods and Generals") wrote to say, "You guys did a terrific job with the film. It was riveting. A case study in cowardice and courage."
Acclaimed writer David Horowitz said, "I thought it was excellent, first rate. It was a very difficult story to tell and you did a superlative job. I actually have not a single critical comment to make. I wouldn't change anything."
Academy Award Nominated writer Lionel Chetwynd wrote to say that, "I was thoroughly engrossed. I think you touch on a lot of new ground here. You did a good job. Well done."
Mike Gallagher Radio Show Broadcasts "Blocking the Path to 9/11"
In an extraordinary development, the nationally syndicated Mike Gallagher Radio Show commemorated 9/11 by using their entire broadcast to playing John Ziegler's film "Blocking the Path to 9/11"
On tomorrow's show, Mike is scheduled to interview many of the primary players in "Blocking the Path," including John Ziegler.
John Ziegler has written this column for Fox and Realclearpolitics.com about the film for the 9/11 anniversary.
Ziegler also did an interview with FrontPage magazine that can be read here.
The Media Research Center did the first of several scheduled stories about the film, which can be read here. Their second is here.
Fox News did an extensive article on the film's revelations here
The WashingtonTimes and realclearpolitics.com ran a column that praises the film at the end here
The New York Post ran a story in their famous Page Six column here.
Zig is Lone Voice of Dissent at Republican Convention
John Ziegler attended the Republican National Convention as part of the official California delegation and to screen his new film there.
While there, Ziegler was one of the very few who were brave (stupid?) enough to speak the truth about the absurdity of canceling one full day of the convention because of what turned out to be a rather minor hurricane that Monday.
He also did many national television interviews on the subject that aired on CNN, NBC and ABC.
But without a doubt, the interview that got the most reaction was the one that appeared as part of a rather funny (and far more accurate than they realize) piece that the Daily Show did on the cancellation of the first day of the convention.
The snippet with John Ziegler which caused the Daily Show crowd to groan and boo comes in at about the 53 second mark in the video below.
Trailer and Clip For John Ziegler's Movie Released
I am not sure what is the most amazing part of the latest attempt by the Messiah to insert race where it isn't and shouldn't be.
Is it that he made even more explicit/absurd/outrageous comments a couple of weeks ago and that hardly anyone even noticed?
Is it that Obama called the McCain campaign racist with less than zero evidence and the news media declared itself unsure if Obama really "played the race card" and blamed McCain for taking the "low road" when he simply defended himself from the worst charge a white man can face in modern America?
Is it that Obama's campaign laughably tried to claim that the Messiah wasn't REALLY talking about race when he suggested (three times in a day!) that Republicans would remind voters he doesn't look like all the other Presidents on our currency, and not being called on that?
Is it that much of the Messiah's entire campaign is built on the totally fraudulent notion that he is "above race," when his career and and candidacy has been built entirely around carefully (and brilliantly) using his race to his advantage?
Or is it that this guy is still favored to be our next President?
Its a tough call. Watch the clips and decide for yourself. The first is the most recent race statement. The second is from the first episode a few weeks ago and is even more unfreakingbelieveable because it includes CNN "news" people falling all over themselves to congratulate Obama on blatantly playing the race card
The False Messiah Reveals His True Self Yet Again
Those of us (sadly only about 25% of the adult population) who have been paying close attention to the real Barack Obama have almost become numb to the level of insanity and stupidity that the Chosen One spews on a consistent basis and yet, thanks to the love-struck news media, avoids criticism with shocking regularity.
However, today's candidate in what will inevitably be a very difficult Top Ten (Top 25?) list of "Most absurd things Obama has said and almost no one noticed" to pare down, was still startling because of the importance of the issue and the ease with which the average American idiot should be able to understand it.
The issue is the gasoline crunch and Obama's brilliant idea to fix it. The Messiah has discovered that if we all just pumped up our tires and got our cars tuned up more often we wouldn't have to drill for oil. The truly remarkable thing is that he really meant it.
Also, amazing is that this is the same guy who lamely claims drilling is a bad idea because it won't impact the price of gas today. Even if we accept that potentially faulty premise, that logic is much like parents deciding not to save for their child's college education because it won't help them pay for the European vacation this summer.
Sadly, though predictably, thanks to being once again given cover by Matt "I'm so far in the tank for Obama I can't see the surface" Drudge (who briefly linked to the Obama statement and then quickly took it down), the news media has almost totally ignored what easily could have been a game changer, or even ender, for the Messiah.
Watch the video below and be amazed.
Best weapon against Obama: How about fellow Liberals?
My greatest fear in this election is that Republicans are so afraid of being called racists that they run a wimpy campaign. While McCain's aversion to using the Reverend Wright issue (which should be a game ender), indicates those fears are warranted, this Internet ad from the Republican Party gives us some hope that the forces of evil will not be able to continue with a completely free pass.
In this video is one of the most important (and by far the most underrated) statements of the campaign was when Hillary literally "endorsed" John McCain over Obama at least four times in one week. I have always felt that, if used properly, this statement is devastating to Obama and probably required him to keep Hillary off the ticket, which gives McCain an opening with the white female vote..
THIS is the guy were supposed to be so frightened of:
The level of fraud that is Barark Obama may have no bounds. One of the many areas where the myth does not meet reality is that he is somehow extremely intelligent and an amazing speaker. Sure, with a huge crowd of people ready to faint at the mere mention of "hope" and "change," and a TelePrompTer filled with a speech someone else wrote (and is often plagiarized) he is awesome, but strip him of those props and he is quite ordinary.
Witness these two clips (especially the second one where the Messiah gets totally lost on Iraq) and ask yourself if this is a guy that can really continue to con the American people (even with the media's help) for the next five months.
BTW, I spoke to an Obama supporting friend of mine in North Carolina today and he was talking to be about the damage McCain's Vietnam torture had taken on his "cognitive abilities." I asked him if he was referring to times like when McCain had boasted on the campaign trail that he had visited "57 states" and "only had one more to go." He laughed and said that he had not heard about that, but indicated that he was not surprised that such a thing would come out of McCain's mouth. When I let him know that it was Obama and not McCain who had made such a remarkable gaffe, it seemed to have lost most of its significance.
The Obama Kool Aid is strong indeed.
Hillary Concedes, But Why?
I never thought I would see the day when I felt sorry for Hillary Clinton, but that day has come. Even though she has won just as many votes, won more states and delegates over the last three months, and is clearly the stronger general election candidate, she was forced to get out of the race well before history would ordinarily dictate she should. But of course, when the Messiah, Barack Obama is involved, history, as well as logic and facts, seem to be rendered meaningless.
Hillary was forced by the media to give in, lest she make life even more uncomfortable for their Chosen One. The media's love for Obama is so great that it (much to my shock) even transcended what has normally been their carnal desire for some sort of contested convention. In 1976, 1980 and 1984 there were candidates who were much further behind than Hillary is and who felt zero media pressure to concede all the way to the convention. But Obama is crippled and, like a fight promoter who owns their boxer's next bout, the news media needed to call the fight so that their guy didn't get even more bruised than he already is.
Still, there is discontent in the Democratic party. Note the boos in the video when Obama's name is mentioned.
How Did Lee Harvey Oswald REALLY Kill JFK?
It has been 50 years now since the first gigantic news event of the television age, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Over a generation later, well over half of the American people still believe that JFK was killed by a conspiracy which was covered up by the government. While at one time I was wholeheartedly in agreement with the majority, I long ago came to the strong conclusion that Lee Harvey Oswald essentially acted alone.
The Warren Commission got it right, but mostly by accident. They got the right man (only because they desperately wanted/needed Oswald to be guilty), but when it came to HOW it happened I believe they were significantly off base. Here is a short outline of what the Warren Commission thought happened on November 22, 1963 and also what I, after extensive thought/research and a dramatic evolution of belief (I used to believe strongly that Oswald was indeed, as he called himself, a "patsy"), think really transpired on that fateful Dallas day.
Warren Commission findings:
-- Lee Harvey Oswald killed President Kennedy by himself (essentially true).
-- Oswald fired three shots from the 6th floor of the Texas School Book Depository Building where three shell casings matching Oswald's rifle where found (true).
-- Oswald's (probably) first shot missed the limousine completely, hits pavement, shatters, and grazes a witness across the road quite a distance away (didn't happen).
-- Second shot hits Kennedy in the back, goes through his throat/neck, hits John Connelly in the back, ribs, wrist, and lodges in his leg, later to be found in "pristine" condition and be called the "magic" bullet (didn't happen).
-- Third shot hits Kennedy in the head, blows out his skull, and kills the President (true).
Here is what I believe the evidence indicates REALLY happened:
Oswald acted alone, possibly inadvertently inspired by wannabe revolutionaries David Ferrie and Guy Bannister (the major characters in Oliver Stone's otherwise totally wrong "JFK" movie).
The Warren Commission concluded that one of Oswald's shots (probably the first) missed badly and hit off the curb of the street (that is quite a dramatic miss!) with a fragment of a bullet which was never found causing a nick on the cheek of a bystander named James Teague. I believe that there is remarkably little evidence to support a conclusion that has had a dramatic impact on all the other analysis of this event. If it was the first shot, I defy anyone to say when in the Zapruter film this shot could have possibly been fired. If it was the second shot, there there is absolutely no way to account for the definitive testimony of both John and Nellie Connelly.
Based on Kennedy's reaction to getting hit the first time (just before the limo is hidden by the road sign) that missed first shot would have had to been fired WAY before there is ANY reaction from anyone at all in the Zapruder film and at a position from which there were way too many people on that sidewalk for it not to be universally accepted that it happened that way.
I also question how Oswald, both mentally and physically, could have missed SO badly on his first shot and then instantly gathered himself and fire two nearly perfect shots in the next 5-6 seconds.
As for Teague, I find it amazing that a nick on the cheek (after the most traumatic event he could ever witness) with no bullet fragments found is enough to dictate everything else about what transpired. Because the rest of the evidence so strongly contradicts this missed first shot theory, I believe it never happened that way.
I think the first shot was fired slightly earlier than the Warren Commission concluded (the entire shooting took closer to 7 seconds rather 6 seconds; a little girl chasing the limo just feet from the President in the Zapruder film suddenly stops on a dime and looks up to towards the 6th floor of the depository building just BEFORE the Commission claimed the first shot that "hit" took place) and was described by the secret service agents and others as sounding like a "backfire." The shot, essentially a "misfire," lodged only a couple of inches into JFK's back and elicited a slightly delayed reaction from the President.
This shot would not have killed JFK and the misconstruing of his reaction to it is the key to many experts coming to false conclusions about the exact nature of the shooting. Contrary to popular belief, JFK NEVER even comes CLOSE to grabbing his throat (because a bullet never passed through there), but rather clinches his fists with his elbows out, which is consistent with a nearly involuntary neuromuscular reaction caused by the bullet lodged in his back so close to his spine.
This first bullet would later fall out of JFK's back at the hospital (a conductor of the autopsy reported sticking his finger in the back wound and feeling the end of the woundt, but finding no bullet) later to be found on his stretcher and be misidentified as the pristine "magic bullet" which had supposedly fallen out of Connelly. This confusion occurred because, in the chaos at the hospital, no one kept track of which stretcher was JFK's and which was Connelly's and there is literally a 50/50 chance that they identified the stretchers incorrectly.
A key fact that supports this theory is that both John Connelly and his wife went to their deaths absolutely POSITIVE that they saw JFK reacting to being hit by the first shot (saying nothing about his throat wound or him grabbing his throat) before Connelly was hit. The Warren Commission chose to ignore this vital bit of information because Arlen Specter (then working as a Warren Commission lawyer before becoming a U.S. Senator) could not make the timing of three shots work to insure that Oswald was the only shooter (which was clearly everyone's goal from the start of the investigation) unless both Kennedy and Connelly where hit by the same bullet.
I believe the second shot missed JFK completely and created all of the many wounds in Connelly while likely getting largely "lost" through Connelly's damaged bones and body with the remnants never being found (which is not unusual in normal crime scenes).
The third shot hit JFK in the head and blew out the contents of his skull forcing his head to go in what appears to be an odd direction when being hit by a shot from the angle from which Oswald would have been shooting. However, there is other evidence to support the theory that the shot came from Oswald's direction. There is a very clear photo from in front of the limo which shows both Kennedy and Connelly reacting to being hit by the first two shots. In that photo there is NO crack in the front windshield of the limo. AFTER the assassination there IS a clear crack in the windshield on the DRIVER'S side of the limo (keeping a direct line from Oswald's sniper nest) and there were two bullet fragments found in the front of the Limo.
As for those who are convinced by the "back and to the left" motion of JFK's head after impact, you have been deceived. His head actually does move forward after impact for one frame of the film and then is pushed in that "odd" direction by the force of JFK's internal matter exploding from his skull.
The lack of a bullet-caused throat wound is the key to the entire theory I have outlined here and why it is that there has been so much confusion leading to false conclusions. A series of coincidences contributed to this phenomenon. First, JFK APPEARS to grab his throat but does not. Secondly, JKF did have a VERY small hole in his throat when he got to the hospital. The hole was much too small to be an exit wound from a gunshot from behind and did not line up with the initial reports of the hole in JFK's back. Thirdly, because of the convenient placement of the small hole the doctors at Parkland opened it up to use as a tracheotomy in an effort to save JFK's life, thus destroying much of its evidentiary value.
It is important to note here that JFK did have VERY small holes in his shirt and tie right at the throat. However, there were NO traces of metal found in any of those holes. So where did the holes come from? Quite possibly, as outlined in the famous book "Six Seconds in Dallas," they came from a bone fragment that was splintered from either the first or the third shots which struck JFK. This theory is consistent with the photo taken from in front of the limo before the third shot.
Of course, if true, all this theory of the case proves is that SOMEONE acted alone in firing three shots to kill JFK and that, theoretically, it could have been someone other than Oswald. However, Oswald was the only bookstore employee who did not show up for role call after the shooting and he was seen coming into work that day with a package consistent with his dismantled rifle which he had clearly purchased and that was found on the 6th floor with shell casings matching the rifle.
Oswald was seen after the shooting on a different floor than where the shooting took place, but he had PLENTY of time to get there before anyone realized what had happened. Also, Oswald's behavior the day of the shooting (before and after when he clearly killed police officer J.D. Tippit) is perfectly consistent with him being the shooter and there is not one shred of evidence identifying anyone else. I defy anyone to come up with a remotely rational alternative explanation for what really happened without Oswald being a shooter (for instance, there is just no way to explain Oswald as a "patsy" for a giant conspiracy when his neighbor, Ruth Paine, was the one who got him the job at the School Book Depository building BEFORE the parade route had been altered or announced).
As for Jack Ruby's shooting of Oswald, the known evidence seems far more consistent with an impulsive act of attempted heroism, then of being part of some grand conspiracy. If he knew he was going to kill Oswald, why was he not there remotely on time and why did he leave his beloved dog in his locked car?
I am still mystified as to why Oswald never took credit for the assassination. Obviously we will never know why that was the case. However, I believe that the theory as to HOW he did it outlined here is the only one proposed that does not conflict with any of the known evidence in the case. This theory has been run by the author of the preeminent work of Kennedy assassination research, Gerald Posner (his book 'Case Closed' changed my mind about the assassination), and he could find no apparent flaws in it. Years after I came up with this theory, Mark Furhman, of O.J. Simpson infamy, wrote a book based largely on a remarkably similar theory.
So why do so many people still believe that JFK was killed by a government conspiracy? I think this is because they WANT to believe that such dastardly act could not have been pulled off so easily by a lone loser like Oswald. Also, for fans of Kennedy his mystique is magnified by the "mystery" surrounding his death as well as the prospect that he was so dangerous to the establishment that he had to be snuffed out by the highest powers. Admittedly, this is an intoxicating premise for those prone to being taken in by it. However, as is so often the case, the reality and the mythology of the Kennedy assassination appear to have very little in common.
Ironically, 50 hours after the assassination the vast majority of Americans accepted the basic truth of what happened on the day that changed this country forever. Fifty years later they do not. Fifty years from now I shudder to think just how off the public perception of that event will be, but if I am still around I will be trying to set people straight.