John McQueary Misquote

"I'm NOW in a position to say Gary Schultz did nothing about it."

This was a supposed quote by Mike McQueary's dad, John, during testimony at the December 16th preliminary hearing in the cases against PSU officials Tim Curley and Gary Schultz. This quote, word for word, was used in various news articles summarizing the proceedings. The quote supports the prosecution's cases against the PSU officials and by extension makes Joe Paterno look worse.

Fast forward to about a week later. The Dauphin County Court released the official transcript of the proceedings.

Curley Schultz Hearing Transcript

On page 157 is the following correct quote by John McQueary,

"I am NOT in a position to say that Gary Schultz didn't do anything about it."

One key word is different and it gives the opposite meaning to the quote.

So how did this misquote come to be and why was it used by several media outlets? Well, it appears that the source was a person present at the hearing who was tweeting on behalf of the Patriot News. The person probably made an honest error, mistakenly hearing NOW instead of NOT and texted it in into cyberspace for the world to read. Other journalists took this damning quote and ran with it. In addition to the Patriot News, journalists for the New York Times and the New York Daily News included the misquote in their articles verbatim with no reference of the original source. I'm not an expert in journalism, but I think this is lazy journalism at best and possibly a case of plagiarizing a quote.

The stories with the misquote are linked below. In each story, the quote is located at the end of the article. This is not a coincidence. A quote placed at the end of a story is typically used to sum up a story and leave the reader with a lasting impression.

Patriot News Article

NY Daily News

NY Times Article blog

The ending of the Patriot News article states the following,

McQueary's father, John, bluntly assessed the actions of university officials in his testimony, saying "I was dissatisfied with the process, that it appeared on the surface that the system wasn't doing much about it. I'm now in the position to say Gary Schultz did nothing about it."

There were other live updates from the hearing that provided an accurate version of John McQueary's quote, such as a tweet from Nate Bauer of Blue White Illustrated that stated NOT instead of NOW.

Interestingly, none of the accurate versions of the quote made it into any notable news stories. This lends further credence to the idea that journalists are selectively using the more damning information (or misinformation) against PSU and Paterno.

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