"Tonight on Evening News Mike McQueary breaks his silence and opens a window for me into his emotions." -- Armen Keteyian on Twitter yesterday late afternoon
At about 4:45 yesterday afternoon, it was this tweet that compelled me to stay at work for another 45 minutes for fear that I would get stuck in traffic and miss the first run of Keteyian's exclusive interview on the CBS Evening News with the current Penn State recruiting coordinator and alleged witness to an episode of Jerry Sandusky's raping a ten-year-old boy.
Of all the players in this most horrific of scandals, we had heard from virtually everyone else, short of the victims -- Sandusky on NBC, Joe Paterno at his back window, Graham Spanier via press releases.
McQueary is the one guy left who was still not humanized. To this point he was just some coach sending in plays on stock footage.
Yeah, there's YouTube and, sure, I could set my DVR, but this was a big enough deal for me to want to see it as it happened, not on tape and not playing out on Twitter.
So I settled in, pen in hand to write down notes so I could discuss the interview on my show. 5:31 hit. The "interview" never made it to 5:32.
What we got was hardly an interview. Hell, it was barely a brief conversation. We got McQueary saying he's really not able to talk, Keteyian asking him what his emotions were, and McQueary saying that things were crazy...like a "snow globe."
And that was it.
Naturally, the Twitterverse began immediately annihilating Keteyian with barbs about Al Capone's vault, windows into emotions, and snow globes. People were killing him, and rightfully so. On the heels of Bob Costas's riveting interview with Sandusky on Monday, CBS and Keteyian came across as totally desperate, flailing at having something, anything that could match up.
And as heightened as everyone's stress level is relative to this story, Keteyian's tweet and the "hype" surrounding this non-event of a piece came across as a little bit sick.
Keteyian defended the piece this morning on 106.7 in Washington D.C., saying the following:
"Criticize or whatever you want, but I can tell you that my job is to stay on the story or in front of the story," the veteran reporter said. "And if ABC or NBC or CNN or ESPN had that moment with Mike McQueary, they would have played it just like we played it."
Yeah, they would have played it, and hell they might have even overpromoted it like Keteyian did, but that doesn't mean it was the right tactic. Guaranteed if Keteyian and CBS had just put together a two-minute update package on "the latest from State College" and embedded that clip with McQueary in the middle of it without exaggerating its significance, plenty of outlets would have picked it up and given CBS credit for its hustle, likely even carrying Keteyian on McQueary's front stoop.
Basically, the same amount of publicity for CBS without the scorn and the eye-rolling.
So that's where we are with this story now from a media standpoint, networks trying to one-up each other with the "exclusive" on the next brick to fall out of the wall. Not surprising, but no less infuriating.
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"I didn't 'hype' anything, exclusive or otherwise. Honest about what we got -- a glimpse into [McQueary's] shaken emotions. What? We don't run it?" -- Keteyian on Twitter an hour after the piece ran
Run it, Armen. Just don't sell it as something it's not. It makes me crazy.
Crazy like a snow globe.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on Yahoo! Sports Radio and 1560 The Game from noon to 3 p.m. weekdays, and follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.