I have been following the fallout from the Northwestern University “hazing” story and its football program. Quite the sensational piece of red meat for the Medill cadets. Did coach know, and if he didn’t, why not? The local media — especially WSCR and AM 1000 — mostly expressed shock.

Then the non-sport news outlets sank their teeth into it. Quickly the initial two-week suspension of coach became dismissal of coach. Some tenured faculty are demanding a proposed upgrade of Ryan Field be ash-canned. Sure. NU’s head coach makes faculty salaries seem like chump change. I wonder why that is?


Right now, no one can say with any certainty — or proof — that coach was aware or not. But sensation sells, as always. And now that coach has hired a powerhouse law firm and arguably its most skilled attorney, the narrative shifts dramatically. My guess is NU will cough up many millions of dollars to make it all go away without going to court, where “innocent until proven guilty” takes over. No way NU dares invite the inevitable lawsuit to proceed.

Whether or not the allegations are true doesn’t matter to me. The story galls me from a different perspective, however. Medill can brag about its journalism program, but where real journalism counts the most, it does not even exist. If it did, it would not have fawned over Donald Trump instead of hounding him into exile back in 2015.

No school of journalism has produced a Woodward or Bernstein since the Post brought down Richard Nixon. We don’t live in that journalistic world any longer. Probably never will again. Real barbarians are at the gate. Print and electronic “journalism” loves it, the truth and facts be damned. Sensation sells while rational thinkers get sold out.

Comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable? Not in Mayberry. Or in Evanston.

Joe Harrington
Oak Park

Join the discussion on social media!