Monday, March 4, 2019

An Unscrupulous Prosecutor's Best Friend: A Stooge In The Media

By Ralph Cipriano

At the Feb. 25th press conference in Happy Valley, reporter Gary Sinderson asked me a leading question about prevailing narratives in the media that turn out to be wrong.

Sinderson and I were both lamenting how in high profile sex abuse cases, the media often gets it wrong. It was Sinderson who pointed out that the prevailing narrative in the Penn State case has become the permanent narrative. Because the mainstream media stubbornly refuses to reexamine what they originally got wrong. Even though that involves having to join an official ongoing cover up by the trustees at Penn State. And having to willfully ignore reams of startling new evidence that's finally seeing the light of day.

If you want to see the exchange, it happens at minute 15:30 in the clip below about an X-rated comic book. That's my term for the accusations of the 36 alleged victims in the so-called Penn State sex abuse scandal that would merely be laughable if that X-rated comic book hadn't cost Penn State a total of $118 million.

The reporter's question gave me an opportunity to sermonize about how a prosecutor wins a high-profile media case before it ever comes to trial. This is something I can give a seminar on, sadly, because I've watched it successfully practiced over and over again in Philadelphia, as well as at Penn State.

It's called controlling the narrative. And prosecutors are very good at it. All they need is a little help from their friends.

 Here's how it's done.

Step one for a prosecutor: find a stooge in the media who's willing to carry your water. It helps if they're an uncritical thinker wedded to a particular point of view. [To make this easier, I've included  photos of a few well-known media stooges, so the species can be more readily identified].

Step two: feed your stooge until the cows come home, and fill the front pages with shocking headlines that carry your narrative.

Whether it's true or not.

And whether you have to break grand jury secrecy law to do it.

Because there is no risk; prosecutors typically are immune from prosecution. And nobody in the court system gives a damn about prosecutorial leaks. It's long ago been accepted as a dirty but necessary part of the "criminal justice" system, designed to insure that prosecutors win almost all of the time.

Step three: Now that you've permanently tainted the jury pool by repeatedly leaking lurid material to your stooge, hopefully, when your case comes to trial, you've got a non-sequestered jury to deal with.

A non-sequestered jury is perfect for your goal of continuing to control the narrative, until you win a high-profile conviction. So you can mount a high-profile trophy-head on your wall, which is all that prosecutors live for.

When the trial starts, play constantly to the themes you've previously fed your stooge that have already made front-page headlines, and have been accepted as gospel by the rest of the mindless media pack.

Because nothing in America today is more uniform and monolithic than the mainstream media. Reporters typically are all card-carrying Democratic liberals and committed social justice warriors who think and act in lockstep. So if you're a prosecutor singing a few bars from your hit song, it won't be long before all the reporters in the front row will be nodding their heads and humming along.

In journalism today, nothing succeeds more than a familiar story line showcasing the sins of a familiar villain. As any reporter knows who has worked the trenches as long as I have, you're OK as long as you're telling your fellow journalists something they already know or believe to be true.

Such as:

-- Every Catholic priest is a raging pedophile.

-- Every alleged victim of sex abuse is a paragon of virtue who never lies.

-- Donald Trump is a combination of Hitler, Stalin and the Antichrist.

The trouble starts when ever you dare to tell them something different.

In the video clip, I talk about how easy it is for a reporter to fall for a prevailing narrative and become just another media stooge. In the Billy Doe case, I fell for it at first.

Two priests and a Catholic school teacher were accused of repeatedly raping a helpless young altar boy. It sounded credible, because of the widespread sins of the Catholic Church against children, which I  have sadly written too much about.

But after I did some digging, I discovered the shocking truth: none of the allegations were true; the altar boy had made up the entire story, and sent four innocent men to jail, one of whom died there.

Let's get back to the formula for controlling the narrative.

If you're a prosecutor willing to break the rules by shamelessly leaking to your media stooge, you can count on a couple of allies in your battle to maintain control of the narrative -- namely the judges, who typically are former prosecutors themselves, as well as the entire court system.

You see the people who sit on benches and work in the courtrooms all purport to believe in a fairy tale from a bygone time of buggy whips and horse-drawn carriages -- that a juror can screen out news reports in the era of the 24-hour news cycle, the internet and social media.

I sat through five months of the Vince Fumo trial back in 2008 and 2009. And watched as the judges and the lawyers and the clerks all played along in pretending that the saturation media coverage had no effect on jurors.

Even though the lead media outlet covering the trial, The Philadelphia Inquirer, my former newspaper, had cranked out a total of 714 news stories, editorials and letters to the editor during 2008 and 2009, when the trial was going on. That's a staggering rate of nearly one screaming front-page headline a day.

I was the only reporter in the media pack who, after the trial was over, started knocking on the doors of the jurors, to see if it was true that were actually able to screen out the saturation media coverage of the Fumo trial.

On my initial visit to see Juror No. 1, I had to step over a fresh copy of the Inquirer sitting on her doorstep. The same newspaper that she didn't cancel during the trial. I subsequently learned from interviews with the Fumo jurors that by the end of the trial, every one of them was tuning in to the non-stop media coverage.

But when a court hearing was held over the issue, I watched in amazement as the prosecutors and the judge teamed up to say and write things about me that were provably not true. All to aid in their efforts to keep alive their self-serving myth that jurors can screen out saturation news coverage in a high-profile media case. Even though I had just got through proving they couldn't.

I have recounted all of these adventures in a book I wrote about the Fumo case, Target: The Senator; A Story About Power And Abuse of Power. The title is something of a Trojan horse, because I not only cover Fumo's abuses of power, but also the abuses of power by the prosecution and the media, of which there were many.

In the Fumo case, Craig McCoy of the Inquirer functioned as the lead stooge, but he had plenty of help. Just about all the reporters, editors and columnists at both the Inky and the Daily News bought hook, line and sinker the prosecution's narrative that Fumo was Satan every minute of his life.

Indeed, when I was covering the Fumo trial, and observing the behavior of my colleagues, I had the same sickening feeling that I used to get on the playground as a kid, whenever I watched a pack of young ruffians picking on somebody.

Media bias is a hot topic these days and the latest heretic to testify about it is Lara Logan, a former reporter for 60 Minutes. Here's what Logan had to say:

"Every where I go people tell me they have lost faith in journalism. It comes from all people, all walks of life and all political stripes. Frankly, I don't blame them. Responsibility for this begins with us."

"It is a fact that the vast majority of journalists in this country are registered Democrats," Logan said. "The colleges we come from are similarly dominated by one political ideology. This matters today because the reporting has become so one-sided . . . It is the one-sided nature of this fight that disturbs me. Is this what the founding fathers had in mind when they wrote the first amendment?"

To see a shining local example of what Logan is talking about, I invite you to read the Inquirer's own description of the newsroom, who they are and what they do, in their own words. By definition, they aren't unbiased journalists out there in search of the truth, where ever it leads. No, instead they're proud social justice warriors seeking out stories that prove and uphold the cherished doctrines of their shared political ideology. Or should I say theology?

In the Inky newsroom, they all believe that alleged victims of sex abuse never lie. That's why Susan Snyder, another media stooge, when forced to report on new revelations at Penn State, went the other way and wrote a story attacking the messengers, and saying there's nothing to see here, folks.

At Penn State, there's another media stooge who not only carried the prosecution's talking points for them, such as leaking news about a secret grand jury investigation that basically amounted to placing a want ad for new alleged victims. The want ad served to alert every drug addict and criminal in the Commonwealth, as well as every plaintiff's lawyer, about a pending pay day that was easier to hit than the lottery.

But this particular stooge also meddled with that grand jury investigation by acting as an agent for the prosecution. She did it by carrying a message to the mother of an alleged sex victim, advising her that the attorney general's office was trying to get in touch with her. And if they didn't succeed, why their grand jury investigation of Jerry Sandusky, America's most notorious alleged pedophile, might go out of business because at that point they only had one customer.

So I invite you to watch the video about the X-Rated comic book, as well as the other four videos posted on this site from the press conference in Happy Valley. It's news that the mainstream media won't touch.

It's also news that the trustees at Penn State, the fiction writers in the state attorney general's office, and Louis Freeh, the author of his own fatally flawed $8.3 million report, don't want you to know.

There's one more component to the ongoing media malpractice at Penn State, namely the racial and sexual biases of the prevailing liberal ideology that rules the Inky newsroom as well as the rest of the mainstream media.

The falsely accused attackers of Billy Doe, along with the falsely accused administrators at Penn State, as well as Jerry Sandusky himself who was clearly railroaded at his trial, are all white males.

While males, in the prevailing view of liberalism, are the least valued human beings on earth. They are the oppressor class not deserving of sympathy. Indeed, in the eyes of liberals, white males are villains, the one class of humans responsible for all the evils in the world.

If the falsely accused at Penn State, and in the Philadelphia archdiocese, were minorities, or females, or gays, or transgenders, they would have had more value and would have been more deserving of sympathy in the eyes of the Inquirer, and the other liberals in the media.

This is the pervasive way of thinking in the Inky newsroom, as anybody who has ever worked there knows. If you are a job applicant, and you're a white male, you automatically go to the back of the line, because the Inquirer willfully discriminates against you. At the Inquirer, preferences in hiring are granted to women, minorities, gays, etc. It's a prejudice that permeates the social justice laboratory that is the Inquirer newsroom, and controls their thinking when ever they venture out of their safe space.

When I worked at the Inquirer back in the 90s, they employed a so-called "diva of diversity" who was in charge of recruiting more minorities, women and gays to the newspaper. She was an ideologue obsessed with statistics that showed what percentage of the newsroom was female or minority. I used to call her the newsroom's genetic engineer.

I recall her exulting one day with high-fives over the hiring of a reporter who was a gay Asian woman. She was a prize in the hiring sweepstakes, a three-fer, because she represented three desirable categories.

And I represented three non-desirable categories -- a straight white male.

It's a philosophy prizing so-called diversity that continues to this day. Of the last dozen Inky newsroom hires, there were seven women, a black male who's gay, and four white males.

Of course it never matters if everybody thinks alike.

From years of close observation, I can tell you that the liberal ideology that pervades the Inky newsroom is as iron-clad as any religion I can think of. Or any cult.

All those biases are on display every day on the Inquirer's front page. Those biases are also responsible for the twin journalistic debacles presently ongoing in the Philly archdiocese, as well as at Penn State.

So when people ask what's wrong with the media today, it boils down to a shared political ideology and a pack mentality. That's why they all think and act alike. Because they all have the same blind spots.

And that's why they're all so often wrong. As in their coverage -- or should I say non-coverage and continuing efforts to cover-up -- the scandal behind the scandal at Penn State.


  1. Specimen number one looks very well feed.

  2. Ralph, add to your list of journalists beliefs is the theory that all politicals are crooks and guilty of corruption. If an elected official is accused of a crime they have to be guilty, end of story.

  3. And one other ingredient added into the unholy stew is the jury's Stepfordish, TV fueled belief in the perfect virtuousness of the prosecution. The jury goes into the courtroom believing in a black and white scenario where the prosecution is entirely good and incorruptible and the defendant must certainly have done something terribly wrong otherwise the prosecution would never have brought charges and a jury trial. Even when the prosecutors prove themselves bumbling, inept, corrupt fools the jury refuses to believe the lack of evidence right before their eyes and feels obligated to bring back a guilty verdict on something just to avoid disappointing the prosecution that's done so much work to take another bad guy off the street and/or to avoid appearing to be too stupid to see what they assume to be the obvious guilt the prosecutors see. The jury forgets all too easily that the people on the prosecution side of the table are career politicians with all the inherent corrupt ambition of any politician and would outside of the courtroom be seen by the very same jury as less trustworthy than a used car salesman. In PA you can add the judges into that unholy mix as well...every last one of them.

  4. have insulted Moe, Curly, Larry, and Shep by associating them with these despicable human beings. A Pie in your face! Do not despair. There are many of us who know the truth and will come down as wailing banshees on those who deceive us.

    1. At least the Three Stooges were funny.

  5. You're right, Moe, Curly and Larry [don't know about Shep] do deserve more respect.


    Here we go again

    1. Innocent until proven guilty. And if guilty; there is no penalty that is too severe

      But once again the TV stations and Phila Inquirer front page/lead story this type of charge but have done NOTHING about that the perjury committed by Billy Doe and the prosecutorial misconduct committed by Williams, Sorenson, Blessington, an Co. Where are you Krasner? Too busy releasing convicted killers?

  7. I can say with certainty that MOST journalists are the enemy of defendants. Your life is cheap in America when you have been condemned by the media.

    International Women’s Day is observed annually on March 8th. This global day celebrates the cultural, political, social and economic achievements of women. The day also brings international awareness to gender parity. According to the World Economic Forum, global gender equality is estimated to be achieved by 2133.

    Wondering if by 2133 prosecutors will stop holding wives as hostages to get their husbands to plead guilty to crime that never occurred.

  9. ��where is Sabrina Rubin rdely?


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