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You can't indict opinion. Nor should you.

November 26, 2013 - Paul Giannamore
People might just think the “media,” we, the nebulous group that gets cast in one big lump every day because of the activities of guys on FOX or CNN or NBC or CBS or the New York Times relish telling the tales of dirty laundry.

Well, there are, unsurprisingly, those in the press who do relish such crap.

And there are those who are unscrupulous about it.

And now, the “mainstream media” faces a new challenge from the instantaneous Web posters, the bloggers, the Twittersphere, the Facebookers. I actually walked away from the job because of the conduct of these people, bound by no rules of lawsuit or common sense or common decency as they are. But I’ve decided being an old dog at work so I may remind folks that there were rules developed over centuries in America about the press and its conduct for a reason.

Take, for example, the one guy who had posted the salaries of Mr. McVey, Ms. Gorman and Mr. Fluharty before the attorney general’s press conference about their indictments in relation to the Steubenville rape case grand jury was halfway through.

Agenda? Something to grind? Perhaps.

At that point in the day, I had facts to grind out for the breaking story for the newspaper on Monday morning. (I note here that maybe the poster thought better and took the post down because I couldn’t find it last night.)

There will be those who say we’re guilty of complicity to protect because we’re not publishing the salaries out of context an hour or two after the indictments were served in the case. Those become important as these folks are suspended with pay or let go. That was not the case at all on Monday morning, so no reason to smear their salaries about at that point, public record though they are.

And surely there are those who will want blood of others, blinded by football or whatever the motives, blood that couldn’t be delivered by the grand jury, blood that is not the job of actual reporters who deal in what they can prove, not what they “think” or what they “know” in a news story.

It makes me want to issue a two-word verb-pronoun reply to most people much of the time because most people much of the time cannot tell the difference between factual reporting and opinion. And because so much Internet opinion, so easily produced, is based on wildly wrong or out of context facts — if any facts at all — woe be it to the person who just wants to deal with what he can prove, not what he “thinks” or “knows.”

This is opinion right here. This daily online column -- I won’t denigrate my work by calling it a “blog” because I consider that form of media to include too many who deal in just what I’ve negatively described above -- is my opinion. Factual based or just for fun and spun from my mind. But it is not a news story. Not by a longshot.

Do you get the difference? Grand juries have to do the same thing or the rule of law is a joke.

So much of what happened in the Steubenville rape case was blasted about by those who dealt with what they “think” or what they “think they know” in my opinion. In my opinion, the police investigated and issued charges. In my opinion, the grand jury investigated and investigated and has issued its indictments. In my opinion, maybe, just maybe, the public outcry about making sure someone did something in the case had the effect of keeping an alleged cover-up from sweeping matters under the rug. We’ll see as the defenses are mounted.

As for having any responsibility to satisfy the blood-lust for more indictments, I leave that to the opinion of those who didn’t start out with a news reporter background rooted in dealing with what we can prove. Do I think football programs run amok? Absolutely. One needs only to look at Ohio State or Penn State or Ben Roethlisberger to see the evidence.

But my distaste for those fallen icons of my own life is my choice. There was not evidence to indict Mr. Roethlisberger, but that doesn’t keep me from thinking the quarterback of my formerly favorite team is a lout. Jim Tressel lost his job. The Penn State situation is a mess and I’m still not sure what I really think about Joe Paterno, who was beloved in my family’s eyes but may have brushed what he knew off with the old “told the boss” defense. We’ll never know because it’s easiest to blame the dead man.

I am a reforming football addict. I don’t watch a lot of football anymore.

But that’s my opinion and my choice.

And you can’t be indicted for expressing an opinion, especially one clearly labeled.


Article Comments



Dec-03-13 5:04 PM

Since there is no way to agree or disagree; I agree with rsimpson and tingette

I disagree with the writer and tammie

That's it.


Dec-03-13 7:27 AM

If we are going on opinions, how could only six indictments come down?

You mean no one else knew anything and failed to report? Was the volunteer coach the only person to contribute? Were the rapists the only texters it twitters?

There' were suspicion lies.

How could it be? That only 5 or six people were indicted.

Say it or print what you'd like, I am a nonbeliever, and I think there are many more nonbelievers also.


Dec-02-13 12:02 PM

When will this ever end? When will it end?

Good luck finding the real truth.


Dec-02-13 9:13 AM

spoiled entitled teens attended multiple parties. It's not DeWine's fault those teens carried a young girl around from party to vehicle to party sexually assualting her more than once while other party-goers stood around laughing, taking pictures, and with one even offering money to anyone would would urinate on her. That is not the fault of anyone but those teens and the adults who were present. One of the teens who was more active with the harassment of the victim via Twitter actually had the gall to sue for defamation of character. The head football coach testified on behalf of two rapists, another coach called the victim a liar, and yet another coach's home is where the initial alcohol fueled party was held. Numerous school employees have been indicted as this point, many on felony charges. What makes you think the public doesn't have a right to discuss and share their opinions about this? We're not walking on eggshells b/c it's Steubenville.


Dec-02-13 9:04 AM

I don't feel bad for any of these people. They're adults and chose to do what they did. Any condemnation they face is their own fault and not to blamed on anyone else. First the blame was thrown on Prinnie because of a blog covering the case, then the blame shifted to Anonymous(KY), and now the blame is being put on DeWine. I suppose none of you see why that's the problem. Why don't you put the blame where it belongs? The blame lies squarely on the shoulders of those teens present that night, those teens who engaged in harassing texting/tweeting about the victim, the adults who came into contact with the teens throughout the night, and the school employees who, as of now allegedly, tried to hinder the investigation into rape(s). DeWine was a god-send. The entire county should be forever grateful as I am. I'm embarrassed of my fellow citizens who are making accusations against about DeWine saying this is all for political gain. The man is doing his job, it is not his fault these


Dec-02-13 8:54 AM

Can anyone name one highly publicized criminal case that wasn't mainly discussed on a basis of opinion and.or theory? Steubenville is no better or different than any other town. The rape case was covered nationally therefor the nation discussed it. Nothing more, nothing less. This attitude that Steubenville is head and shoulders above the rest needs to GO! I don't know what kind of journalism degree you have but journalism is nothing near the same as the work a grand jury does. I personally wanted to know their salaries, I think it's relevant, who are you to say it isn't? The school is public not private therefor their salaries come from tax dollars. Tax payers in Steubenville have every right to know where their hard earned money is going, period! These people work for a public school and if they wanted privacy they should have thought about that before allegedly trying to hinder the investigation into rape(s).


Dec-01-13 9:14 PM

That's why a newspaper has op-ed pieces and new stories, Pablo. Because, as much as we would like to think that the readership has the intuitiveness to take available facts and derive an informed opinion, we, as journalists (and former journalists) know that you can lead a horse to water but you can't make them drink. I, too, am with you. Our heroes (athletic and otherwise) are gone.Indictments... facts and figures... those are facts. But gut instincts tell the bigger picture. And those are the real facts.

Nov-30-13 10:23 AM

I agree completely with the point that was made. The rape case has been a terrible tragedy for the individuals involved, especially the victim, and for our city. This awful event just keeps giving pain and it is not the time to gossip or to take glee over those indicted. We can believe that any wrongdoing should be prosecuted and still hope that the facts will show little rather than more wrongdoing. An entirely different issue is the language used in this piece. The author made the unfortunate choice to use an unrefined approach to make his point. It certainly would be better for the Herald-Star to use the richness and beauty of the English language to express a point of view rather than making a reference to the crude and crass "two-word verb-pronoun" expression. Can't we even read material from our local paper without being exposed to this coarseness?

Nov-30-13 2:37 AM

FINALLY! Amen!!! Well spoken! I deal in facts. I want facts. Facts... not gossip or personal agenda or opinion...Facts. Shut the mouth, open the ears and listen for the facts to be disclosed in any matter. Only then can anyone form an intelligent opinion...or not. Anyway, Thank you! I've said enough.


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