Penn State Student Journalist Criticizes Keith Olbermann in Open Letter for Anti-PSU Segment

A Penn State University student journalist posted a rousingly snarky and fascinatingly detailed open letter early this morning to broadcast blowhard Keith Olbermann.

The massive missive by Kevin Horne — a PSU law student and the managing editor emeritus of Onward State — is a retort to an anti-PSU rant Olbermann aired last night on his show that criticized one of Horne’s articles.

As part of his regular “World’s Worst in Sports” segment, Olbermann went off on Happy Valley’s happiness over the NCAA decision to restore a large chunk of Joe Paterno’s wins — making him once again the all-time winningest college football coach. From where Olbermann sits, this is just more proof that the Nittany Lion faithful are more invested in football glory than protecting children from sex abuse.

At one point, Olbermann displays, recites and rebuffs a recent piece by Horne. In the piece, Horne questions why PSU’s athletic director publicly apologized to a random Internet user who was angry about “409” helmet stickers worn by the Penn State women’s field hockey team. (409 is Paterno’s restored wins total.)

Olbermann closes by telling Horne and other Penn Staters harshly, “Your institution is associated with children’s terror. … If you want this to go away, ever, maybe in 20 or 30 years, sit down, shut up and atone.” Yowza.

A smidgen of Horne’s spirited comeback:

“If the few details that you think you know about the Sandusky scandal are all true, then everything you’ve said about Penn Staters who still support Joe Paterno is correct. If Paterno was involved in an intentional and calculated coverup to protect and enable a child predator, there are no words for that kind of evil. … But here’s the thing, Keith. [Dan note: I love that he calls him Keith repeatedly throughout the letter. It makes me laugh every time.] As much as black and white situations make for convenient two-minute television bits, this thing isn’t so black and white. Surely a Cornell graduate like yourself strives to have the intellect to understand an issue completely before taking such a rigid viewpoint on national television.”


Horne then proceeds to pick apart what he perceives as Olbermann’s uninformed stance. He also challenges Olbermann to a one-on-one #Sanduskyscandal tête-à-tête and even mocks his on-air attire — which appeared last night to sport a purple-ish color.

As Horne closes the letter, “Have your people contact me and we can set up a 60-minute public podcast to debate and discuss the Penn State situation. I know how difficult it is talking about a complex situation for longer than two minute sound bytes, but I know you’re capable of doing it. Plus, at least with a podcast, no one will have to look at your suit.”

5 Responses to “Penn State Student Journalist Criticizes Keith Olbermann in Open Letter for Anti-PSU Segment”
  1. Jay Wadyka says:

    Olbermann is spot on. Penn State is more concerned with restoring Paterno’s legacy than atoning for their transgressions. Paterno was the head of the program and responsible for everything that happens in it. He had no control over his program and let a pedophile work there and abuse children for years. The fact that SMU had to shut down their football program for two years because they paid players and Penn State covered up child abuse for years and got their sanctions revoked shows the bureaucracy and corruption that is rampant in the NCAA.

    • Big Ten Fan says:

      Olbermann is clueless. He simply does not understand the current state of information, nor do you. Simply put, there is currently a complete lack of evidence of the cover up you speak of. There were transgressions to atone for. Do you know that Sandusky was cleared of the only transgression he was accused of while working at Penn State? Do you know his retirement paper work had already been in the preparation phase when the 98 incident happened? I thought so. Much like Olbermann and the rest of the American public who bought into this media fabrication, you have no idea what you are talking about. It has already been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that Joe did the right thing given what he was told, and evidence says he didn’t suspect that a crime had occurred nor did anyone else at Penn State. There was no cover up. Reconcile your misinformed opinion with the facts. Man up and apologize.

    • Steve Masters says:

      Kevin Horne is spot on. Olbermann and you don’t know what you are talking about. Do a little research. There was no sexual assault reported by Mike McQueary in 2001. The NCAA had to walk back their sanctions. The Penn State 3 (Curley, Schultz, and Spanier) will be exonerated.

      • Cliff Small says:

        The evidence in the Freeh report strongly indicates that none of the PSU administrators involved in this knew that Sandusky was molesting children. The report revealed that the 1998 incident was investigated by the police, the county DA, and the state child welfare services, who determined that Sandusky was not a child molester. Three years passed with no further incidents, until McQuery came to them in 2001. It was their knowledge of the 1998 investigation that led them to misinterpret what McQuery described to them as “horseplay”. Sexual predators, especially ones with stellar reputations like Sandusky had at the time, are notorious for being able to hide their crimes very well. He had them all fooled. You have to look at what they knew then, and blank out what we know now. To look back ten years and say what someone should have realized or should have thought, isn’t right. At that time, everyone saw Sandusky as a great guy, who dedicated his life to helping disadvantaged kids. The only person who thought Sandusky was molesting that boy, or that the boy was in danger, was McQuery.

        Everyone agrees that what happened was horrible for the victims, and maybe it helps people to find someone to blame. In this case, the only one to blame is Sandusky. The others were duped by him to the point of missing or ignoring, what are now seen as obvious “red flags”. As Paterno said in his first public statement after the Grand Jury report was released, (I paraphase) “…if these allegations are true, he fooled a lot of people, including those who are experts in these things…” Being a compassionate man, he later openly wondered if the was more he could have done, but there wasn’t. Put yourself in his position at the time. McQuery never told him that he thought that the boy was being raped. It was already the next day after the incident, and McQuery had discussed it with his father and a family friend. Apparently none of them they thought it warranted a call to police. This scenario would give Paterno a sense that it was serious, but didn’t require immediate action. If they had thought the boy was in imminent danger, why would the McQuerys have waited until the next day to tell someone. Since Sandusky was no longer an employee, what options did Paterno have? He didn’t want to break any rules, so he followed procedure and reported it to his superiors. He trusted that they would know what had to be done. After they decided not to report it, was he supposed to conduct his own investigation? Should he have called the police and reported an incident that he didn’t witness or know the full details of, and that the people he considered experts obviously didn’t think was serious. He trusted that his superiors had investigated the situation and had made the right decision. You can believe what you want, but that’s really all he could have done.

        The only villain in this case is in prison for the rest of his life. Blaming Joe Paterno is more than unjust.

        This whole incident had nothing to do with football. The NCAA made it about football.

        There are different issues involved in this: the victims, the Freeh Report, the NCAA sanctions, and media led witch hunt of Joe Paterno. They are all related but separate. Celebrating a step toward restoring Joe Paterno’s legacy, doesn’t equate to condoning child molestation,and to say it does is ludicrous.

  2. Elijah Vardzel says:

    Athletics is only one aspect of Penn State, and one that distorts the true purpose of the institution. It is a university, one that has been on the forefront in numerous fields all across the academic spectrum since its inception as the first land grant school. These achievements range from having nationally ranked engineering and science programs to a naval research facility rivaled by none to an on campus research nuclear reactor. Even outside of the sciences the university boasts a nationally leading business college, 23 outreach campuses to allow for essentially any Pennsylvania resident a chance to better themselves, and even the world’s largest student run philanthropy, which this past weekend raised over $13 million for pediatric cancer related research and care. Therefore to say that the university is shamed or a disgrace is a very narrow minded statement. One that fails to account for what The Pennsylvania State University truly stands for. Furthermore, to say that the school is associated with the fears and trauma of children is severely misguided, since 1977 over $141 million has been raised for the Four Diamonds Fund, helping numerous children diagnosed with cancer and their families. So I ask that in the future you please consider all aspects, before you pass judgement based solely on an extracurricular activity, on a show that essentially enables you to continuously analyze an activity many Penn Stater’s only really care about for one day a week, for one season of the year.