How Penn State Protesters Targeted the Media (Video)
Amid a sex scandal and the firing of Joe Paterno, students lashed out at on-scene reporters – even tipping a local news van.
In the wake of longtime Penn State football coach Joe Paterno’s controversial firing, students quickly lined the campus streets united in their fight against a common enemy.
As chronicled by the campus blog Onward State, hundreds of rioters flooded College Avenue chanting “Fuck Sandusky,” “Fuck the police,” and “Fuck the media” on Wednesday, Nov. 9. Enraged students not only engaged in destruction of school property, but also went so far as to smash all the windows of a news van belonging to local CBS affiliate WTAJ and eventually tip it over.
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Luckily, no WTAJ staffers were injured and police quickly moved in to disperse the crowd with pepper spray. In the video below, students can be heard chanting “flip it, flip it” before the group swarms the truck.
“At first, the students were just milling about peacefully, but, as time went on, the crowd grew more unruly and more destructive,” WPXI’s Courtney Brennan told TV Spy. “I don’t know why, but the crowd’s anger over the firing of Paterno… quickly turned into hatred of the media.”
“Students kept shouting threats at us and kept saying they were going to tip our satellite truck next,” Brennan continued. “My photographer, Mike Drewecki, was pelted with bottles, rocks, mud and other objects.”
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WJAC reporter Brittany Boyer described the events as “insane.”
“Going to Penn State and seeing riots in the past, I thought I was prepared,” Boyer said. “But I could not believe all the blame and focus on the media. There were multiple times I was concerned about our safety. I kept telling our other reporter it felt like we were reporting in another country. You never expect to be concerned about your safety and students wanting to harm you or your car so it was something I never experienced before.”
The university announced that college football’s winningest coach, Paterno, would be fired on Wednesday, following an ongoing sex scandal involving former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky and eight young boys. Paterno and University president Graham Spainer have both been criticized for failing to reporting the suspected abuse to police.