Movies, even documentaries, are never perfectly true or factual. The same could be said for news stories, although responsible journalists strive to make their reports as neutral and complete as possible.
We have not seen the documentary “Happy Valley,” so we can’t opine on its veracity. We might advise anyone who still feels raw about the Jerry Sandusky case — or anyone who was close to the situation — to consider avoiding the film. No sense reopening old wounds.
At the Centre Daily Times, we are aware that we sometimes make it hard for local folks to heal. That’s because the Sandusky case still generates news — ongoing legal controversies, court hearings and such — that we are obliged to cover and that we think the community should know about, hurt feelings or not.
What we won’t do, however, is print the kind of gratuitous nonsense that was published elsewhere in Pennsylvania this week.
When former radio-show host, filmmaker and ardent Sandusky defender John Ziegler asked CDT editors to publish Dottie Sandusky’s critique of “Happy Valley,” we declined, and the decision was easy.
First, we are aware that Dottie Sandusky believes her husband is innocent. She has said as much over and over, and her opinion has appeared in these pages before, which means it’s not news.
Second, her “critique” of the movie and defense of her husband are an insult to the victims, the prosecutors, the court system, the university, the community — really everyone with an emotional stake in what happened.
Third, of course she doesn’t like the movie and insists she’s not delusional. We doubt, as she says twice, that “almost none of this ‘documentary’ is based in the truth.”
The “truth” is that Jerry Sandusky was convicted by the American justice system, which generally does a good job of separating truth from falsehood and which bends over backward to protect the innocent.
The folks who published Dottie Sandusky’s views claim their guidelines “prohibit commenters from accusing Jerry Sandusky’s victims of fabricating their experiences and testimony.”
But they decided to ignore that rule because of the “inherent news value” of the piece.
Jerry Sandusky was convicted in 2012. The movie debuted 10 months ago. If that’s news, maybe we’re the ones who are “delusional.”