Like many of you (and a growing number of national columnists as well), I've been hugely disappointed by the media coverage of Jerry Sandusky's crimes. The omission of facts, the judgments based on assumptions, and the lenient treatment of everyone but Joe Paterno has done an impressive job of drumming up public outrage and directing it away from the man who committed the crimes that everyone's angry about.
I spent a moment this morning thinking about how the victims might be reacting to all of this. To have this story brought to light, and to see justice finally beginning, must have been a relief. But then I started to think about how Jerry Sandusky has seemed to successfully duck media attention. As our own Ben Jones reported, Sandusky was out and about, working out at a public gym, and no one seemed to pay him any mind. Sandusky's first court appearance had been scheduled for this past Wednesday, it has now been delayed indefinitely. You'd think the public and the media would cry out for swift justice in such a horrific case, but no one seemed to notice or care that Sandusky will be walking free on bail for at least an extra month, and possibly quite a bit more. This was the monster whose deeds have finally been brought to light, and everyone would rather talk about Joe Paterno. I don't pretend to understand the depth and complexity of emotion in the victims or their families, but I can't imagine they feel very good about seeing the public take no interest in the man who brutalized them.
Then I started to think about the Second Mile. This was an organization they trusted--one that was a beacon of hope for troubled children--and because of that trust, their lives were ruined. I am sure the first party they want to see justice done upon is Sandusky, but I would think that the Second Mile would not be far behind. And yet, no one even knows the Second Mile exists--to the public, this is a story about Joe Paterno and Penn State football. With hundreds of reporters in State College, no one seems to be investigating this organization that provided Sandusky with all his victims. The failures of the public and of the media in this crisis are getting difficult to keep track of; I have spent far too much time over the past week trying to stay informed about this matter, and even I'm having trouble spotting all the stories that the media is overlooking for the sake of covering Joe Paterno.
I know a lot of people read this blog, and thanks to Ben Jones, media members have started reading it, too. If you are, please think about the victims for a moment, and what stories are most important to them.