Why I Am Now Very Concerned About the Katie Couric/Sue Paterno Interview
When I first heard that Sue Paterno would be finally breaking her silence with an interview with Katie Couric, I thought that the choice made some sense. Having spoken to her about some of these issues, I was confident that Sue would be a compelling and sympathetic figure who would do a very good job of telling her husband's side of the story. Couric has a large female audience and would be unlikely to attack a popular widow who has never been accused of doing anything wrong.
The only thing I was really worried about was what would happen when Katie inevitably made factual errors and Sue was in the nearly impossible situation of having to either get in a argument with an experienced host or staying silent and allowing the viewers to believe that what Couric said was true. But overall, I felt confident that the entire show would be a net positive for the cause of truth.
I am no longer confident that will be the case.
The reason for my sudden lack of optimism (other than the fact that I am not, by nature, an optimistic person), is that Sports Illustrated's Michael McCann tweeted today that he will be a guest on the show and that he was looking forward to it.
Now, it is important to note that the definition of being a "guest" on such a show is very wide. It is possible that he might only be part of a short taped piece and that the damage he could cause might be quite limited. However, based on what he wrote, it appears that his role may be significantly more dangerous than that. What he wrote on Twitter is consistent with a live appearance (possibly with other "reporters") after Sue's appearance so that Katie could "balance" out whatever Sue says.
If McCann's appearance is indeed closer to the latter scenario than than the former one, this has disaster written all over it.
I say this for a couple of reasons. First, McCann works for Sports Illustrated which, in my opinion, has actually been worse than even ESPN in their coverage of the Sandusky story. Secondly, I have personally confronted McCann on Twitter about some of the blatantly inaccurate things he has written about the case and it is obvious that he is both clueless and incredibly arrogant.
Here is that remarkable exchange which, in a rational world, would have resulted in an apology from McCann:
I wrote about this exchange along with other similar examples of gross "Media Malpractice" here:
It is absolutely incredible (though, unfortunately, not surprising considering the pathetic nature of television) that someone this incompetent as a "journalist" could not only maintain a job at Sports Illustrated, but somehow get asked to appear on the one show where Paterno's wife finally gets a chance to set the record straight.
I will reserve judgment until I see what actually transpires, but, for whatever it might be worth, my level of concern has instantly gone from a "4" to at least an "8."
Update: I have been told by an extremely reliable source that McCann's appearance lasts only 2-3 minutes and that it is not terribly damaging.