Generally, when a person is found guilty on 45 counts of child abuse stemming from the serial molestation of minors, they are absolved of the opportunity to plead their case to the public. After all, that’s what the jury of your peers is for, and – as it stands – people have a low tolerance threshold for convicted pedophiles and child rapists.
But this time-honored adherence to common decency took a gigantic blow Monday when the (ever-radical?) Today show finally aired their *exclusive* interview with convicted child molester – and Creepiest Man of The Century – Jerry Sandusky.
Following a riveting segment about IRS employees using taxpayer money to create Star Trek spoofs, the morning show cued the “Sandusky Speaks” interview — which, as it turns out, was just a sit-down between Matt Lauer and the (ostentatious) radio-host-turned-filmmaker, John Ziegler.
Ziegler, a controversial conservative commentator, is making the media rounds to promote his new documentary, The Framing of Joe Paterno. According to Ziegler, the movie is a response to his analysis of the media’s propensity to “rush to judgement” and their “agenda” regarding Sandusky and the Penn State scandal. Though Ziegler (somewhat reluctantly) submits that 69 year old Sandusky “was guilty of many of things,” he nevertheless attempts to refute key prosecutorial evidence during the grueling eight minute interview.
Though he recieved “no compensation, and no thought of compensation” in his pursuit of the project, Ziegler claimed his efforts were focused on redemption for the legacy of former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno. Despite extensive evidence to the contrary, Ziegler insisted that the media “railroaded” Paterno, whom he claimed had no knowledge of the events. His argument disputes findings outlined in the Freeh Report that suggest Paterno was made aware of Sandusky’s inappropriate (vile, repulsive) behavior as early as 1998.
Ziegler’s truther-esque documentary is one thing; he is known for capitalizing on provocative and controversial material, especially when it coincides with criticizing the mainstream liberal media. And Ziegler even went to great lengths to ensure that he remained one step ahead of his critics, writing an open letter last week entitled, “How to Do a Hit Piece on John Ziegler.”
So, when Ziegler sits down to conduct three and a half hours worth of interviews with a convicted child rapist, fine. When he calls for examination of the “due process problems with the trial,” and cites testimony that has already been scrutinized in court as evidence of those problems, fine. When he blasts rhetoric about the inherent bias of the news media, and the inherent bias of our judicial system, and the inherent bias of facts, fine. That’s what zealots do.
But when Today conducts an interview with a zealot, thinly veiled as an “exclusive” one-on-one with a convicted child molester, the question is no longer about players in the Sandusky truther movement. Instead, the question is: What the hell was NBC thinking?
People are mad. Maybe, it’s because the network pulled the bait-and-switch in their marketing of the interview. Maybe it’s because truthers like Zielger make everyone – including, apparently, Matt Lauer – a little uncomfortable. Or maybe, it’s because no one at 7am wants to hear Jerry Sandusky say (with an incredibly off-putting laugh) that if he had walked in on a man showering with a young boy in the Penn State locker rooms, he would have assumed they were “fooling around,” not having sex.
A funny thing happened in the studio when zealot Zielger started on the “incredibly important things” he knows about Victim 2 – including the witness’s name. Lauer abruptly interrupted him, convoking “NBC standards” to remind the filmmaker that the Today show will not partake in disclosing the name of the victim.
Well, it’s nice to see some evidence of standards coming from 30 Rockefeller. Because nothing else in this “NBC exclusive” – not the guest, not the subject, and certainly not the conversation – measured up.