Recently, we as Penn State Alumni, Students, and fans have placed a huge amount of blame on the media for their tabloid like coverage of the scandal. I have always been a firm believer of understanding everything about a situation and the complexities that go along with it. That being said this isn't a post about how we were treated unfairly, or a post about what was done wrong to us but a glimpse of what maybe the reasoning behind a media frenzy.
I've done some thinking and some research after the last few days about why this whole mess went the way it did. I think I may have come up with a reason, we the public are to blame. I'll repeat that so that people may understand WE THE PUBLIC ARE TO BLAME. Yes, us, you, me, your mother, your great-granny with the amazing pie; we are to blame. We do you ask is it our fault; I'll explain. As we move along in the 21st century that many have hailed as the "Most informed generation of all time," we have to understand what exactly that means. That means between 3-10 (Depending on your cable company) 24/7 news stations, news ever 3 hours on major channels, and the social networking we are always in "The know," or are we?
When the PSU scandal first hit my immediate reaction was one of disgust and hurt, but I was pleased to see they had apprehended the suspect and he was going to stand trial. From there I let it go and moved on with my day, until of course the next day when my Facebook, twitter, and television was nothing, but a bombardment of "information."
The ultimate question is was this truly information or was it garbage spewed to garner our interest? The answer is both, there was true information that came out that Jerry Sanduskey was the criminal that there were possible witnesses from their though the information gets a little into the realm of garbage all over the place. The media started focusing on a target we all recognize (Joe) and that caught the attention of the entirety of the United States. Truth is we don't know how much or how little Joe was involved, but the media has somewhat taken the fact of unknown and turned it into known factual information based on the belief of HE AS TO KNOW!
The reason the media did this is for us the viewers? I know you are all sitting there shaking your head going I DIDN'T ASK FOR THIS!?! or if your on the other side of the fence IT WAS ALL TRUE HE'S EVIL THEY ARE ALL EVIL THE MEDIA IS WONDERFUL!!! And there is your proof right there, in those two very different opinions that's why they did it. Seriously though, the reason WHY is for us, we as a generation have been asking for quicker, faster, more, more, more, and we haven't stopped. If we don't get the bigger, better, faster, stronger, from one station we will just go to another station who will give it too us. So journalists don't spend as much time researching a subject as they should, but rather going out throwing the subject out and letting the public lead them to the next story, instead of doing the right thing and waiting for the facts to lead them to a story.
Another good reason for the why is that not all journalists understand the subject they are talking about. Journalists are human beings just like all of us and they have interests and subjects they would rather cover, but because we want the media to "know all," we force it to give up having journalistic specialists to just generalized journalists for everything. They have to keep up with so many different topics at such a high rate that situations get muddled and journalists who have no idea what they are talking about (Great example CNN: Does Penn State play on Saturday!?) giving us the misinformation.
Court of public appearance and opinion, whatever your view point on the PSU Scandal I can guarantee you the media doesn't care. Why is that? Well, since they are focused on giving us news as quickly as possible and as often as possible and as much as possible, they just want us to watch. What do they honestly care if we think someone or something is innocent or guilty, right or left, up or down. The fact is that they are in it to make money because when we started asking for more and on demand, they realized they could turn a real profit off of it.
So, whatever your opinion on the situation understand that sometimes when you ask for something, that's exactly what you get.
(By the way folks there are a number of great books on the subject I definitely recommend them)
(I would like to add the term "We" In this opinion is suppose to mean Society as a whole.)