Penn State : Students disgruntled by ‘unfair’ coverage of Paterno

first_imgUNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. As the sun finished setting at 6:50 p.m. and darkness crept in around Beaver Stadium Thursday, the tents of Paternoville remained bathed in light.Across the street from Gate A, countless members of the media filmed stand-up segments on the curb of Porter Road. The light from each camera was an unwelcome reminder for the fourth day this week of the sex abuse scandal that continues to hang over top of Penn State.‘I fully understand that Joe Paterno is media attention,’ Jeff Lowe, a senior broadcast journalism major said. ‘When Al-Jazeera is here I was even interviewed by a Canadian TV station when those guys are here for the story, they’re here for Joe Paterno. And there is no way to sidestep that.‘But at the same time, you wish that there would have been more focus just on Sandusky and the fact that more needs to be done.’It’s the last part of the quote that seems to be the predominant ideology among Penn State students this week in reaction to the hordes of media inundating State College at a phenomenal rate. Crews are stationed outside Beaver Stadium, Paterno’s home on McKee St. and College Avenue seemingly around the clock.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textStudents are very disturbed even angry with the media coverage throughout the week, with some going so far as to say the pressure it inflicted upon the Board of Trustees led directly to Paterno’s firing.‘Is it unfair? Yes,’ said Mark Mularczyk, a junior history major. ‘I’m sure a lot more attention should be paid to the victims, the real victims here, the children and obviously that should be kept in everyone’s mind.’Instead, the media swirled around Paterno and pounced on the fact that after his initial meeting with Tim Curley, the PSU athletic director, he never followed up on the alleged sexual assault of a young boy by former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky after being informed by then-graduate assistant Mike McQueary.Heated debate ensued, as people were split on whether or not Paterno should be fired. He committed no crime, and he did all the he was mandated to do as an employee of Penn State. But even he said he should have done more.Still, though, students rallied around their legendary head coach by rioting on College Avenue following the announcement of Paterno’s dismissal on Wednesday night.Thousands of students filled the streets. A news van was flipped over, two light posts were knocked over and police were forced to use pepper spray to subdue the crowd.But the media’s portrayal of this event was far from accurate, said freshman bio engineering major Paul Kucinski, who attended the protests Wednesday night.‘I’ve never been more upset at the media in general, especially ESPN,’ Kucinski said. ‘ … The way they were covering it was horrendous. They were making it out to appear that Penn State students were doing nothing but rioting for the sake of rioting and they had no real purpose.‘I can tell you first-hand, I was there. Everybody was in full support of Joe Paterno, there was a small minority who wanted bad things to happen. That’s why a single news van got turned over and a couple light posts got torn down.’Doctoral student Peter Buckland said he feels the media worked to create controversial angles that would sell instead of focusing on the victims and what needs to be done to help them.He said the treatment of McQueary and the lack of personal reflection are two of the prime examples.‘People are just making it about the selfishness and McQueary’s selfishness like it was all about his job or something like that,’ Buckland said of why McQueary never went to the police. ‘It wasn’t just about his job. It was about people that he admired and loved. And, pardon my French, but some dickhead on ESPN Radio doesn’t know that.‘That’s just because those f****** people want to make money and they can make a lot of money riling people up,’ Buckland added. ‘If you ask people to calm down and say, ‘Who are you inside?’ that takes time and patience.’And that’s where much of the displeasure of students lies. Many feel that the question of ‘Who is Joe Paterno inside?’ wasn’t examined at all, and people dwelled on the fact that he never followed up with Curley or went to the police with what he was told by McQueary.Instead, it is the belief by Kucinski, Lowe, Buckland and others that the harsh stance taken by the media may very well have played a role in the Board of Trustees’ decision to fire Paterno.‘It might have been the media pressure that made the Board of Trustees make their decision,’ Lowe said. ‘And again, obviously anyone that says that is completely speculating. But that might have been it.’So when Kucinski was asked whether or not the media coverage of this event tarnishes Paterno’s legacy, he sighed deeply before resigning that it was likely the case. That 409 wins and two national championships would be overshadowed for at the very least the next few years.He said he just hopes that Paterno can work to rebuild an image that Kucinski feels never should have been detracted from in the first place.‘At least for the next couple of years it will be tarnished until this is cleared up,’ Kucinski said. ‘I think the way that the media has carried this is awful. And there could have been a much better way to do this as a whole.‘ … Hopefully, he’ll be able to go forward. I don’t think he knows at this point. He’s coached for 46 years. I can’t tell you what is going through his mind right now. I could only imagine.’[email protected] news editor Jon Harris contributed reporting to this article.  Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on November 11, 2011 at 12:00 pm Contact Michael: [email protected] | @Michael_Cohen13center_img Commentslast_img

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