Friday, November 30, 2007

The Patriot-News: it was worth the 5-year battle

I guess a lengthy 5-year court case and tons of lawyers' fees was worth knowing that Penn State coach Joe Paterno makes $512,664, at least that's what the Harrisburg Patriot-News would have you believe. I would link you to the three page article but I choose not to in defiance to a paper I hate. Suffice it to say, although that number isn't his total compensation, Paterno makes a lot less than most of us previously thought. Frankly, I don't give a damn and I think most Penn State fans don't either but the reason I'm posting about it is the light in which the Patriot wants to cast itself makes me want to puke. The Patriot would have you believe that they are beacons of light in the open records fight.
While some people no doubt see a tabloidish fixation in the quest by the Patriot-News of Harrisburg to unleash Penn State's salary figures, there' something much bigger at stake than gossip over JoePa's contract. It's nothing less than the ability to see what the state government is doing with taxpayer money, how legislation is influenced and written, and who's pulling the strings behind the scenes.
Bullshit. Blow smoke in the direction of someone that's a lot more gullible than me Patriot-News. I agree 100% that Pennsylvania's open record laws are some of the weakest in country and I am whole-heartedly behind opening up the books and exposing some of the shady dealings of our slimy state government but don't tell me the Patriot went after Paterno for that reason. Don't believe me? Go to Penn and do a search for "open records" and see what you get. You'll get very few, if any articles written exclusively about open-records laws. In addition, it's funny - for a paper that is so worried about open-record laws and not the "tabloidish fixation" on Paterno's salary they sure didn't mind writing a three-page (on the internet) article about his salary when it was finally revealed. Yeah, not tabloidish at all. No, this was about selling papers not about righting an injustice, the Harrisburg Patriot is NOT the Batman of Pennsylvania papers.

This is us... no really, it is!

Simply put the Patriot thinks that if it goes after a high profile guy like Joe Paterno, it will entice people to buy its paper. Why else would they pick Paterno and not go after state Senator Billy-Bob Smith? Because Billy-Bob doesn't sell papers but Joe Paterno does. In the end I agree with the court's decision, Paterno was getting compensation (albeit a small amount) from state funds which meant taxpayer dollars but his salary was exclusively paid by the university and not from the taxpayers. It's sad that Paterno ends up caught in the middle of a political fight and is used by a shoddy paper that routinely takes pot shots at Paterno in a feeble attempt to increase its subscribers. Come to think of it maybe I will get a subscription next year – I do plan on getting a puppy.


Rogers Place said...

At $500,000 a year the over $4 million Joe has donated to Penn State he basically coached for free for nearly ten years

Anonymous said...

I think its also worth pointing out here that:

-the state contributes less than 10% of the total PSU budget.

-the athletic department is totally self funded. They say paterno will draw from the state retirment fund, so that is the basis of his salary being public, however if you believe the proficy of the man himself he is going to die on the field (ie not pension required).

Galen said...


That's funny you should point that out, it's a running joke with me - I don't think they should have to release Paterno's salary until he actually draws from the retirement fund because, like you said, he may never retire.