The Sandusky non-interview
The formula that any good journalist follows to get the complete story behind a news event is "5 Ws and 1 H" -- who, what, where, when, why and how.
With respect to the Jerry Sandusky "news story" broadcast on Tuesday on NBC's "Today" show, the points are covered, with one glaring exception.
Why give a national platform to a convicted pedophile like Sandusky, who used it merely to proclaim his innocence and to impugn the testimony of at least one witness to his brutal crimes against children.
Lest anyone forget, Sandusky, a former assistant football coach under legendary Penn State coach Joe Paterno, was convicted last June of sexually assaulting 10 boys over a period of several years. He is currently serving a 30- to 60-year term in state prison.
The case led to the firing of Paterno, who has since died, and that of the Penn State president at the time.
Moreover, the NCCA fined Penn State $60 million and banned it from bowl games for four years.
With Sandusky being tried, convicted by a jury of his peers and carted off to prison, his story might have been expected to fade away.
But NBC resurrected the story by broadcasting Sandusky's phone conversation from prison with documentarian John Ziegler.
NBC did this apparently without asking itself why. Why go ahead with the interview? Is there new information? A fresh angle? New evidence? Proof of Sandusky's innocence? Any other "exclusive" details?
Not from what we can tell.
Sandusky used the broadcast merely to assert that Paterno would not have kept him on the staff if he KNEW he was a pedophile. (Had Paterno suspected as much, Sandusky could not speculate as to what the coach might have done.)
Moreover, Sandusky questioned the veracity of damning testimony by former assistant coach Mike McQueary. What McQueary saw was not something "extremely sexual" in the locker room shower, but horsing around, Sandusky insisted.
So, if NBC can't explain publicly why it pursued the story, that leaves the only other possibility: a ratings grab, an appeal to the lowest common denominator to attract viewers.
If that's the case, that's despicable.
The Sandusky "interview" was a wasted effort by a network that once prided itself on its investigative reporting.
More importantly, it was a grave disservice to Sandusky's many victims, who no doubt were appalled to see his face on national TV once again.
NBC did this apparently without asking itself why. Why go ahead with the interview?