Penn State media relations people have requested that questions for Joe tomorrow be restricted to the Nebraska game and Senior Day. Seems like that leaves out something pretty big. Wait, I’m thinking…
Anyhow, you can read the request verbatim at Blog, Sweat & Tears. Read it and come back, because I don’t necessarily agree with all that the author says.
Will the reporters avoid mentioning the elephant in the room?
Will the reporters avoid mentioning the elephant in the room? Not hardly. It’s going to happen and it’s going to be very interesting to see how Paterno sidesteps the questions. Will he tell reporters that he can’t answer any questions about it because it is an active court case about which he’s not permitted to speak? That would probably be a lie, because the questions would not be about Curley, or Schmidt, or Sandusky, but about Joe, and he’s not a defendant. Besides, no one tells Joe what to talk about. He decides that. However, one source has stated that Paterno will be a witness for the prosecution, so he could probably get away with stonewalling it and blaming it on the lawyers. Or will Joe just say, “You all got a memo telling you what you could ask about, and if you don’t play by the rules, you’re outta here!” There’ll probably be University police there for handling intransigent reporters. Finally, will he just walk out, declaring the press conference over?
The University would love to sanitize and filter any information pertinent to the Sandusky case through its media relations office. Control of outbound information is of paramount importance to paranoid, power grabbing university administrators. The ivory tower doesn’t like stuff getting out that isn’t approved by the ivory tower. The stuff that does go out, that they want to go out, is generally watered down or released for a specific purpose. At the university with which I was associated, for example, it was typically very difficult for the local newspaper to get certain financial records, even though the “sunshine law” says they have to fulfill such requests. However, when a certain powerful administrator — who just happened to be the Vice President of Finance and Business Affairs — wanted to get the president fired, suddenly, the local newspaper was given free reign over the president’s expense account records and anything related to them. That was the president about whom you might have read my previous mention, the one who made the mistake of paying an out of town hooker with a University credit card. Once the newspaper got hold of that information it was a hasty exit for that ex-president. In Penn State’s case, they can try to suppress information about this sordid episode, but Showergate is just too big a story for media not to use every tool the law provides to scratch and claw for their information.
So, I believe that while Paterno might succeed in restricting tomorrow’s questions to football itself, the Nebraska game, and the players, he won’t get away with that forever. That’s the great thing about the country that we live in. We still have freedom of the press. Remember that it was the press that brought down the mighty Nixon. They’re salivating over this one.