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Filmmaker hopes to make documentary on unfair treatment of Joe Paterno by media

Frank Schwab
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(Associated Press)

Explaining that the media are "cowardly stupid people," filmmaker John Ziegler told BuzzFeed that he is raising funds to produce a documentary outlining how the late Joe Paterno was unfairly attacked by the mainstream media during the fallout of the Jerry Sandusky trial.

Ziegler is best known for his documentary ripping the media for unfair treatment of Sarah Palin in 2008 (Ziegler later turned on Palin, saying he wouldn't support any Palin 2012 presidential campaign because she had no chance of being elected, and later calling her "selfish, hypocritical, sellout"), and a documentary called "Blocking the Path to 9/11" which criticized ABC's "The Path to 9/11" miniseries.

Now he's taking up the former Penn State coach's cause, or at least ripping the media for its coverage of him.

"I think the Penn State story is one of the worst examples of media malpractice that we've ever seen," he told BuzzFeed. "It was very clear to me early on this was a story ripe for media malpractice, but it was worse than I ever could have imagined."

To Ziegler, the media turned a story that should have been about Sandusky into a story about Paterno at a point when the NBA was on strike and there wasn't much other news in sports. So, he says, the media started to attack Paterno, who was fired by Penn State after the school determined Paterno didn't meet a moral obligation to do more than tell his bosses about allegations he heard about Sandusky from then-assistant Mike McQueary. Ziegler says that Paterno telling author Joe Posnanski that he wished he had done more is "the most misinterpreted statement in the history of man," apparently edging out Marie Antoinette's "Let them eat cake."

Paterno had, and continues to have, many supporters, including Ziegler:

"The idea that there was a cover-up in this case, a concerted cover-up, is absolutely, positively preposterous," he said. "It doesn't even pass the original smell test. It makes no sense, and it didn't happen, and that I'm sure of."

Ziegler, who is also a radio talk-show host, said he has already raised $26,000 for the project.

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