Monday, January 23, 2012

Conspiracy theorists...unite!

I saw a tweet or two on Sunday suggesting that Onward State might have been reporting the truth on Saturday night when it stated Joe Paterno had died.

You'll recall the Website's error led to at least two news organizations adding to the rumors of Mr. Paterno's passing. How one mistake quickly spread was examined by Poynter.

In fact, unless you are a conspiracy theorist, Mr. Paterno died Sunday morning. 

If you need evidence, consider the press release from the hospital where he had taken his last breath.
On January 22, 2012 at 9:25 am, Joseph V. Paterno died of metastatic small cell carcinoma of the lung at Mount Nittany Medical Center, State College, Pennsylvania. Joe was surrounded by his family at the time of his passing, and they request privacy during this difficult time.
The leadership and staff of Mount Nittany Health System are saddened by the passing of legendary coach Joe Paterno. Coach Paterno was a tireless advocate for the health system, serving as both a donor and a fundraiser for many of The Foundation for Mount Nittany Medical Center's charitable programs, and was a leader in our community for more than sixty years. His contributions, in time, talent and treasure, have been immeasurable, and he will be sorely missed. Our thoughts are with the Paterno family during this difficult time.
Nevertheless, there were people on Twitter asking whether some kind of cone of silence had enveloped the Paterno family, the hospital, the doctors and others. The general thrust of the inquiries was whether Mr. Paterno had in fact died on Saturday night but that the family wasn't prepared for the release of the information or perhaps wanted to announce the passing on its terms.


A more plausible scenario is that the family began telling people as early as Saturday morning or afternoon that Mr. Paterno was going to be taken off a ventilator within hours, and that his family and closest friends needed to immediately get to the hospital in order to say their goodbyes. Under such a scenario, it's reasonable that one or more people would interpret that message as saying Mr. Paterno had passed away.

I'm all in favor of asking pertinent questions about his health, how he was treated, how the cancer so quickly became untreatable and a host of similar issues. But some kind of conspiracy of silence? Spare me.

Oh, and also spare me those people who think they are being oh-so funny in their demeaning social media posts about Mr. Paterno. Your attempts at humor instead validate your lack of decency.

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