Penn State ‘Consumes’ Washington Media

Washington media weren’t about to let one of the week’s biggest non-Washington stories steal their spotlight this past week. Instead, they got busy conjuring up ways to write about Penn State Joe Paterno and Jerry Sandusky—some with more success than others.


  • David Catanese and Alex Isenstadt led the site Friday morning with a story about how the Penn State “scandal”* has not only consumed Pennsylvania Politics, but is some kind of monster with a million tentacles that could eat the whole world, or something. Seriously, no one’s safe: not White House spokesman Jay Carney, not presidential-candidate (and a former Pa. Senator) Rick Santorum… not Justin Bieber, we’re sure.
  • CLICK decided to stay above this whole hornets nest. They brought us, in the words of Politico Editor-in-Chief John Harris, a “nugget” in which we learn that Ed Rendell, the former Pa. governor, likes his Santa Clauses rotund—not scrawny—and in clean suits—not dirty ones—, thank you. Who needs a sordid sex scandal* when you can revive a six, seven-year-old story to grab all that SEO traffic? This one, at least, was squarely sourced to WYNC’s Freakonomics Radio.


  • Daniel Strauss tried, valiantly, to make the story relevant with an item saying that Pennsylvania Sens. Bob Casey (D) and Pat Toomey (R) withdrew their support for a Congressional Medal of Freedom for fired-coach Joe Paterno. What that means is a mystery because the pub never found out more about it. (Politico was more helpful, noting Rep. Glenn Thompson — the one who actually nominated Paterno — won’t say if he plans to withdraw the actual nomination). On the plus side, Strauss didn’t use the term “sex scandal”* once.


  • Writing at the The War Room blog, former Roll Call writer and now News Editor Steve Kornacki told us helpfully that Paterno and Sandusky are both Republicans. We get his point. He was trying, we think, to say how linking a person’s bad behavior with their political affiliation is pretty stupid (he compares it to Rush Limbaugh pointing out that the Times Square bomber was a Dem) but the message was lost and Kornacki had to update the post—twice—and spell it out, saying “any suggestion that Republican politics had anything to do with the awful case at Penn State” is absurd. Glad we got that cleared up.

*No matter the details, sex and powerful people always adds up to sex scandal D.C.  press, no matter that we’re talking about the sexual abuse of children, and not a cheating Congressman.