MSNBC debuted its new 12 p.m. hour "Now With Alex Wagner," and featured a panel consisting of HDNet's Dan Rather, New York Magazine's John Heilemann, and Politico's Maggie Haberman.
Seated behind a slightly curved news desk, the panel deliberated over the root cause for Penn State's sexual abuse scandal. "How could this happen?" Wagner asked.
Before turning to the panel Wagner said that, according to her, the financial component of the Penn State story has remained somewhat unexamined.
She highlighted that Penn State's football program brought in $72.7 million during its 2010 - 2011 season, ranking fifth in the nation for college football team profits. The team brought in another $42.1 million from merchandising, sponsorships, etc.
Rather believed that football team's financial profits was crucial to understanding the reason for the Penn State scandal.
"Honey, it's about the money," Rather said. He added that Penn State was so "money-conscious" and said that the school's concern with profits was an "indication of what has happened to the country."
Heilemann disagreed with Rather. Heliemann said the "institutional failure" stemmed from the school's concern with protecting its "reputation, status, and the privilege and power of adults." Heilemann passionately discussed this point and added that institutions are "built to serve the needs of adults," and that "this is one of the problems we have in our education system."
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