March 9, 2023

698: The Death of Journalism - A Deep Dive into the Penn State Scandal

@Zigmanfreud & Penn State Scandal - Uncovering the Shocking Truth About Joe Paterno, Jerry Sandusky, and the Future of Journalism

Are you ready for an episode of The Brian Nichols Show that will leave you questioning everything you thought you knew about the Penn State scandal and the current state of journalism? Look no further!

In this episode, Brian Nichols sits down with special guest, John Ziegler, to discuss the fallacy of the Penn State scandal and how it relates to the current COVID-19 pandemic. Get ready to have your mind blown as Ziegler reveals the shocking truth behind the Joe Paterno, Jerry Sandusky scandal and how it was all based on false accusations.

But the conversation doesn't stop there! Ziegler also shares his thoughts on the current state of journalism and why he believes it's at a crossroads. From the impact of COVID-19 to Donald Trump's conspiracy theories, Ziegler provides a no-holds-barred look at the state of journalism today.

If you're someone who's interested in uncovering the truth and gaining insightful knowledge about two of the most controversial topics in recent history, then this episode is a must-watch! Get ready to be captivated by Brian Nichols and John Ziegler as they dive deep into the Penn State scandal and the future of journalism. Don't miss out on this must-see episode of The Brian Nichols Show!


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Brian Nichols  0:00  
It's time to talk football. Let's talk about that. Instead of focusing on winning arguments, we're teaching the basic fundamentals of sales and marketing and how we can use them to win in the world of politics, teaching you how to meet people where they're at on the issues they care about. Welcome to The Brian Nichols Show. Well, hey there, folks, Brian Nichols here on The Brian Nichols Show. And thank you for joining us on a horse. Another fun filled episode. I am as always your humble host. Joining you live from our B and C Studios here in lovely Eastern Indiana. Don't let a outdated prospecting methods put your company at risk. Guys, we are heading to a recession. So learn effective messaging and sales skills today from Brian Nichols. Let's talk football. Yes, joining us on the show once again, the one and only John Ziegler. Welcome back to The Brian Nichols Show.

John Ziegler  0:52  
I'm traveling me Brian, you've

Brian Nichols  0:53  
got a John. How you doing, man? Good to have you back.

John Ziegler  0:56  
Always good to talk to you.

Brian Nichols  0:57  
Good to have you on and let's talk football. But first, John, do us a favor. reintroduce yourself here to The Brian Nichols Show audience who are Yeah, what the heck has you so focused on? I guess the world of football specifically, we're going to talk about Jerry Sandusky and Franco Harris today.

John Ziegler  1:14  
Well, it's a long answer, but the answer is that I currently host a podcast called the death of journalism. I previously did a podcast called with the benefit of hindsight, which deals with the entire Penn State Joe Paterno, Jerry Sandusky scandal with a co host by the name of Lizzie V, who was a sportscaster at the fox affiliate here in Los Angeles. And that's where I got to know Franco Harris. As far as specifically with regard to football. I never played football in my life. But I did coach high school football in two different states, two very different time periods. And I've covered college and high school and pro football for television back in my original career, which was as a television sports caster. And so I've always been very interested in football and I think football is at a crossroads. In fact, I wrote a book about high school football team in Ohio called dynasty at the crossroads back in the mid 1990s. And I think it was a little bit before its time because I believe that football as we know it is in great peril. And I think that the Sandusky story, while it doesn't directly deal with football, being in peril, I think is is somewhat related to that. Because I believe that that entire fiasco which people 99% of the of the population has a completely grotesque misunderstanding of what really did not happen. There is a in my view, a classic example of where football was targeted for destruction, even though football did absolutely nothing wrong. And that one of the the greatest, if not that absolute greatest college football coach in history, Joe Paterno was destroyed over something that did not happen, for reasons that had absolutely nothing to do with child sex abuse, which is the perception of what occurred in that story. And we go into it in epic, great detail in our podcasts with the benefit of hindsight, which everybody who cares about the truth and loves an amazing true crime story really ought to check out, but be prepared. Once you get involved in it. It's a big commitment, because it is absolutely epic in every possible way. And once you start, it's going to be very difficult, if not impossible to stop. Yeah, I've

Brian Nichols  3:25  
heard you dissect this story quite a bit. And there's just there's so many layers to this proverbial onion. So just do us a favor, John. I mean, I know there's a lot dig through but give us a SparkNotes right. I mean, you mentioned it everybody has a preconceived notion that you're Jerry Sandusky, they instantly think he's, you know, doing dirty things to young boys in the locker room, Joe Paterno, he's he's covering it all up. And there's that's just that's that's what everybody was told. Right? And that was the narrative. And we know narrative becomes reality. So talk to us about what is the truth behind that the falsehoods and then also, I mean, really help us understand how we got to where we are today with all this.

John Ziegler  4:05  
Well, again, incredibly long story, incredibly fascinating story, but here's the very very bottom line of it. The best way for me to describe what happened really with the Penn State Paterno Sandusky story is to use COVID as an example. Now COVID is real the the Sandusky scandal was not. But we have a panic cut which causes the news media to jump to conclusions. They get invested in those conclusions, the story itself becomes too big to fail. And there are too many powerful entities who have a self interest in the story being promoted. It's not a conspiracy. I am an anti ardent anti conspiracy theorist. I do not believe that conspiracies in large scales can exist especially in the modern era. Human beings are simply not smart enough or proficient in have to pull that off. But basically what happened here is that, that all of the good guys in the story were actually the bad guys. And all the bad guys were actually the good guys. Wow. And, and I really think that maybe another way to look at this if it's not through the lens of COVID is through the Catholic Church scandal. I think the Catholic Church scandal set everyone up to believe that they had already seen this movie before that and the casting was perfect. Joe Paterno is the Pope. The Penn State Administrators of the Cardinals covering this all up Jerry Sandusky is the pedophile priest, and the Penn State football fans are the Catholic parishioners who are looking the other way to protect their sacred institution of football that all fit especially to the news media. And it fit to a lot of people. So Oh, yeah, we just went through this thing with the Catholic Church. And by the way, it was a big story in Pennsylvania, which I think influenced the prosecutors in this case dramatically. I think they thought this was a replay of the Catholic Church scandal, when all it really happened was the Catholic Church scandal set them up to be duped by a fraud and the frauds not even. It was not even a good fraud. The most amazing part about this story is not only that it's completely untrue. It's so obviously untrue. It is preposterous on its face. That's really the most amazing part of the whole thing. I always say, Yeah, believe it or not, folks, not only is Jerry Sandusky innocent, it's not even close. But it can't be fixed. Because much like we saw with COVID. Once the media gets into a narrative and they become invested, you can't go back because then you have to admit you're wrong. You have to admit all this damage occurred because of you. And no one wants to do that. And so we'd rather just wash our hands move along and pretend nothing actually happened. And that's what happened with the Sandusky and Penn State story,

Brian Nichols  6:55  
Man that feels like it hits home so much after COVID I'm glad you made that comparison, John, because like we just talked about this recently here actually is over on our good buddy Dan smart system is down podcast. And you see this the sunk for sunk cost fallacy. There we go. Sunk fat foster calici as I was trying to say there, the sunk cost fallacy where people have gone down so far this rabbit hole because they can't they can't get themselves out if they acknowledge that they're wrong. Now, that means they have to acknowledge all the negative, just disastrous things that they have done over the past now three years, which is hard to imagine. Let me

John Ziegler  7:29  
add something to that that will put a good context to this. You know, when I tell this story, everyone wrongly thinks that my target audience are people who went to Penn State or associated with Penn State? And I have to tell people, no, no, no, Penn Staters are actually the worst audience for what I'm telling them in large part, not in totality. But I would say about 85% of Penn Staters are the worst possible audience why? Because they are like people who wore masks and forced their children to wear masks for two years or took every possible vaccine and booster shot. They are absolutely positively invested in not having been wrong, they don't want all the suffering, they went through all the trauma, they went through all the aggravation, they went through all the name calling that they endured, for all those years to have been for not been for no reason. And that they would actually have to take the blame, because effectively what happened here was at Penn State through fiber, their very best people under the bus. And so they got duped by a fraud, they panicked, they caused all the damage. And so no one wants to acknowledge that it's far more difficult for a Penn Stater to acknowledge that they went through all this for nothing much like it is for a massacre or a vaccine fanatic, because they're too invested, they've gone through too much. And so my my most fertile audiences, generally people who knew of the story, maybe followed it, but weren't deeply invested in it and thought that they had heard enough and then realized, wait a minute, the real story here makes you know, the story Ziggler is telling makes a hell of a lot more sense than the dark fairy tale that we were told. And I gotta tell you, for those who have followed me, and I think you're probably in this category, you know, I was very much in the category of people who I think was right earlier than almost anybody about the vast majority of elements of the COVID panic. And it's not because I'm a genius. It's because I felt like I had already lived through it. I kept thinking, this is just like what happened at Penn State and I knew exactly what the playbook was, again, not a conspiracy, just horrendous human values, failings and fallacies and the tendency to get invested, especially in the news media, which I No, like the back of my hand, once they get invested in a narrative that fits their agenda, look out

Brian Nichols  10:05  
well, and that right there, it's the death of journalism. Right. I mean, I know that's, you know the name of your show. But like, we have to talk about this. You you been in the world of journalism for a while you you've seen how to actually do journalism. You do journalism. I remember listening to I think you were over on I was a, it was a Brian McWilliams. Oh, no, it was John odermatt. Felony Friday podcast. That's what it was. And you were talking about the case in detail. And I think you're talking about you're sitting at the hotel outside the Philadelphia Airport, remember this in particular, where you're going through the papers, right? And you you're digging through everything, I remember hearing everything that you never would have heard behind the scenes, right? So you're doing the actual work. And you see yet there are people who they do nothing. And yet, they're the ones who get promoted by the three letter your corporate media entities that are out there. So I guess what can we do, John to help salvage some type of journalistic ethics back into our society because it's so necessary right now, when it's obvious that there's corruption running rampant? I mean, every commercial was brought to you buy Pfizer, and I wonder why they're not investigating anything on these corporate news entities in terms of what's happening with the jab and the negative consequences. I don't know why. Brought to you by Pfizer, John.

John Ziegler  11:25  
Well, I wish I had a simple answer or solution to this, I always try to come up with solutions. But this one is very difficult because I I am exceedingly pessimistic. I actually think that it's gonna get worse, believe it or not, as bad as journalism is today. And it has gotten to a point that I never imagined was possible for a variety of reasons. I mean, I think COVID exacerbated it. I you know, as an anti Trump conservative, I think Donald Trump destroyed conservative journalism and the credibility of conservative journalism. By the way, this might piss off some of your audience. But I believe he discredited conservatives on COVID, because that was was was perceiving the Conservatives and Maga were all Trump fans and Trump's a conspiracy theorist. And so therefore, if Trump says that the lab leak theory as credibility, then they're automatically not to be believed. Well, guess what it turned out the lab leak theory was very legitimate. That's just one of many, many examples. But the point, the larger point here is that I actually think that we have some people my age and older who are still in the business to some degree, and those people are going to be retiring and dying. And what's left of institutional memory of the way things are supposed to be is going to be gone up. And and we're going to see what's left of journalism be taken over by the 20 and 30. Somethings who have absolutely no clue whatsoever about anything. They don't understand life, they don't understand journalistic ethics, they don't understand the way things used to be or were supposed to be. And by the way, I'm not looking at the past with rose colored glasses, there was never a 100% Golden Age of journalism. But there were areas that were a hell of a lot better than we have today. And I just think it's gonna get worse. And so I don't have an easy answer to how you fix this. Because I don't think there is one.

Brian Nichols  13:25  
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John Ziegler  15:12  
Well, I've had some interesting relationships in my life. I've lived a bizarre life. I've been involved in a lot of big stories. I know a lot of I guess you call them famous people. But I probably cherish my relationship with Franco Harris more than any of them. I don't want to overstate it. I mean, I only knew him for the last 10 or 11 years of his life because of the Sandusky Paterno, Penn State story and he went to Penn State, he was a big Joe Paterno supporter. And the most fascinating part about my relationship with Franco was that I grew up as a Philadelphia Eagles fan out in the suburbs of Philadelphia, and I hated the Steelers in the 70s. And I particularly had disdain for Franco Harris, because he was known for running out of bounds, something I would chide him about all the time. And he actually has a very, very good explanation for which was I, which I found fascinating. And you know, he could never get a good hit on him. And I just, I just didn't like the guy at all. And then the Paterno story hits and he's the only one standing up for Joe Paterno with anything to lose. And I thought, wow, I gotta get in touch with this guy. And so I spoke with his wife and then him and then we met and we, we we spent a lot of time in foxholes, together, you find out a lot about somebody in a foxhole. And he and I and he and I were in some pretty significant foxholes together. We did events across the country, mostly in Pennsylvania, but not exclusively in Pennsylvania, trying to highlight the other side of the Penn State Paterno story and his fight was about Joe Paterno. But I gotta say, you know, he was one of the key reasons why I came to the conclusion that Jerry Sandusky was innocent. And, and people don't know this, unfortunately, he was working on a podcast of his own when he died just three days before the 50th anniversary of the Immaculate Reception, which I know he was so so looking forward to. And, and it was just so tragic, the timing of his death. But in that podcast, which I thankfully, he and I had talked about before he died. And, you know, he had, I wasn't even sure that it was publicly available. Because the last time I had gone to it, I had to use a password that he had given me. And thankfully, someone had an AED, taken away the password protection just before he died. And so you can you can still find that for yourself. And upon further review That's upon further review And in Part Number three, unfortunately, there's only three current parts. I'm sure he did other parts of this podcast, but I don't know that they're ever going to be made public. But the most remarkable part is in part three, where he discusses what to me. If there's ever a movie about what really happened here is going to be the key scene. And for me, this was the key scene in leading me down a completely different path, because Franco told me this story that he had never told publicly and I put it in my first documentary film the framing of Joe Paterno, which is that so Paterno gets fired and then he dies two months later, and they have his funeral. And at his funeral Franco Harris approaches man to man mano a mano Mike McQueary. The only witness in the case Mike McQueary was the one who supposedly saw Jerry Sandusky assaulting a young boy in a shower and then told Joe Paterno about it and that was the key in the media's mind to the whole thing and prove the Joe Paterno had covered this up and it's and dusky was guilty and that Penn State should be destroyed over the whole thing. And so Franco Harris goes up to Mike McQueary and Joe Paterno, his funeral and basically says, Hey, Mike, what happened? What it what did you see, as the story never made any sense to Franco because Franco was incredibly wise person. And, and so he starts peppering Mike McQueary very politely, respectfully with questions. And basically maclary tells him I didn't see anything. And I didn't see anything that was consistent with a sexual assault. And Franco was like, What the hell is going on here? And it was at that moment that Franco knew knew that a lot of people say well, Franco defended Paterno because of blind loyalty to his coach baloney. He had spoken mano a mano, to the only person who mattered in a situation where McQueary could not possibly lie. Because if you're Mike McQueary and your toe paterna, fennel and Franco Harris comes up, man, the man it says what the hell happened? You're not lying about that. Okay. And McQueary could not lie to Franco and Franco knew. He didn't say Fact, Franco knew that that episode in the shower did not happen and that that episode in the shower did not happen. That means that Joe Paterno was innocent. Penn State is innocent. And by the way, well, Franco never said this publicly, you can obviously get a very straight path from that point to Jerry Sandusky being innocent, because when you look at the rest of the caves, right, it's a bigger pile of crap than the McQueary story was, but no one looked at the rest of the case, because everyone thought that McQueary story was a deadlock since solid proof of guilt. And it was not. And Franco knew that. And Franco fought for me, both privately and publicly in ways that nobody else did, or would, because they didn't have the courage. He was the only man who had anything to risk, anything to lose, who rested for what he knew to be right. And that is incredibly rare in this day and age. And here's a guy and he and I had nothing in common politically, he's a far left liberal. I'm very conservative, libertarian. You know, he's a black guy, I'm a white guy. You know, like I said, I hated the Steelers growing up. But we had that mutual respect. And he basically told me, John, you do what you need to do to find the truth, because that's what Joe Paterno one on his deathbed. And that's what I want to do here, regardless of the political consequences of it all. So that was the Franco Harris that I knew. And for him to die, when he did and how he did it was just so incredibly tragic. And so typical of unfortunately, how things often turn out in this world in which we live. But I will never forget Franco Harris, I still think about him at least once or twice a day, if not more, so. And I hope people will check out his his podcast, especially part three, because it really does tell you everything you need to know about the essence of this fraudulent case.

Brian Nichols  21:50  
And I thank you for correcting by the way was the 50 year anniversary of the Immaculate Reception. Now his gold jacket, he's had the gold jacket for like, a decade, two decades as he's had for a while. John, this is obviously just the tip of the iceberg for this entire conversation that folks want to learn more about. If they do of course, they can go ahead and check out what was the the podcast you did where you dug into all this.

John Ziegler  22:10  
With the benefit of hindsight, the benefit of my name of the Penn State podcast and in my current podcast is called the death of journalism

Brian Nichols  22:19  
and your book that dug into all this the Joe Paterno.

John Ziegler  22:23  
I didn't write an official book. I wrote a couple of online books, but aren't we have a website called framing and a and a documentary, which is free on YouTube called the framing of Joe Paterno. Now, I'm not particularly thrilled with the title because I named it back at a time period when I didn't fully understand what had happened in this case, but we had no choice but to stick with it. But it's framing and the framing of Joe Paterno mini movie, which you can find on YouTube, and then the with the benefit of hindsight podcast, and like I said, the death of journalism podcast, which I do twice a week currently.

Brian Nichols  22:56  
Cool. Well make sure we include all those in the show notes, folks. So if you are joining us here in the podcast version of the show, do me a favor, click the artwork in your podcast catcher, it'll bring you over to today's episode where you can find the entire transcript of today's episode, all the aforementioned links. Plus, you'll go ahead and continue the conversation with John will have his social media links there. But just in case, John, where can folks go ahead and reach out to you should they so choose?

John Ziegler  23:18  
Well, I'm almost always on Twitter. When you see you can find me on Twitter at Zig man Freud Z IG ma N Freud, which is a terrible Twitter handle. But it's an old college golf team nickname and I didn't think when I created my Twitter handle back in 2011 that I'd be spending so much of my time on Twitter in 2023. But zigman froide is where you can follow me and and communicate with me pretty easily.

Brian Nichols  23:44  
Perfect. Well, folks, thank you for joining us. If you got some value from today's episode, well do me a favor, go ahead and give it a share. When you do please tag yours truly at bead nickels liberty and also go ahead and give John a tag as well. And by the way, we have a video version of the show. If you did not check that out yet head over to Odyssey to rumble or to YouTube, wherever it is. You consume your video content just do me a favor hit that little notification bell and subscribe button so you don't miss a single time we go live with that being said check us out on yesterday's episode, we sat down with Kate Barnett and we talked about interior design. I know trust me, it does make sense especially we talk about how you can do so from a Liberty perspective. I will see you guys over there otherwise, with that being said, Brian Nichols signing off. You're on The Brian Nichols Show for the one and only John Ziegler. We'll see you tomorrow.

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