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SBD/December 1, 2011/Media
Syracuse Post-Standard Explains Why It Did Not Give Davis Tape To Police In '03
Published December 1, 2011
HELD TO THE SAME STANDARDS: THEPOSTGAME.com's Jay Hart noted ESPN and the Post-Standard held onto the taped conversation for eight years and asked, "If the media are rightly aghast that Penn State football coach Joe Paterno kept quiet about Jerry Sandusky's alleged molestations, shouldn't news outlets be held to the same standard regarding Bernie Fine?" And even if "they did not have enough corroborating evidence to publish a story, shouldn't they have turned the tape over to law enforcement authorities?” ESPN said that it did not notify authorities of the allegations because Davis “had gone to the Syracuse police in 2002 and been told the statute of limitations had expired.” Now ESPN and the Post-Standard “find themselves in a situation eerily similar to the one that got Paterno fired and earned him a visceral beating from the media -- including ESPN.” There is certainly “a separation between journalistic responsibility and moral obligation.” In the case of Fine, neither ESPN nor the Post-Standard “felt they had enough information to publish a story that would effectively change a man's life forever.” Hart: “A distinction must be made between the standard for reporting a story and the moral obligation to report a potential sex crime against minors. Still, if we, the media, are going to hold the likes of Joe Paterno to a certain standard, then we'd better hold ourselves up to the same standard. We may be a part of the 'media,' but we're people first” (THEPOSTGAME.com, 11/30). CBSCHICAGO.com’s Dan Bernstein wrote under the header “ESPN Must Explain Itself, Soon.” With every day that goes by “since it became clear that ESPN preferred to protect [Syracuse basketball coach] Jim Boeheim, Syracuse hoops and their valuable programming property, the purported Worldwide Leader looks worse” (CBSCHICAGO.com, 11/30).