Special Guests: Jason Maloni - Levick Strategic Communications SVP
NEIL CAVUTO, FBN HOST: Well, Penn State, boy it's in a real state right now, right? Former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky not the better of that media interview with Bob Costas, and a situation that was already bad that many argue he made worse.
And for beleaguered Penn State, a battered brand, even more battered. Now the only question is how battered? And is it now irretrievably battered? Marketing expert Jason Maloni says Penn State is looking at a very long road to recovery. How long do you think, when all is said and done, Jason?
JASON MALONI, MARKETING EXPERT: It is going to be years, Neil. And Penn State needs to take some aggressive action right now to start that process.
CAVUTO: Like what?
MALONI: Well, they have already started to clean house. They have got to keep firing people. The sooner they do that, the sooner they get good folks in who don't have a background in Penn State, who are seen as outsiders, the sooner that road to recovery will start.
What they can also do -- and I and others have called for this for at least a week now is start a victim's compensation fund. Just take a page from the BP Oil spill, take the advantage. At some point, BP is going to have to write a check -- pardon me, Penn State is going to have to write a check in this matter. Better to do it now before a judge orders them to.
Start a fund -- start it with 10 million dollars worth of seed money and match every contribution ten to one. That is the kind of leadership move that really is needed right now.
CAVUTO: You know, I talked to a number of Penn State alumni, Jason. They have a different view of this, that the media is making a far bigger deal of this than is warranted. They have taken down Joe Paterno. They've taken down the coaching staff. They're going after top university officials, and on and on.
Leaving aside just the obvious criminality of what could have occurred here, and the abuse that could be staggering her, this is a core group of Penn State loyalists for whom that isn't the issue. It's tarnishing of their sacred alma mater and the media pile on is. How do you get that changed?
MALONI: Well, first of all, the reputation of the alma mater will be decided far more by what actions Penn State takes now, by what its alumni do now, than what happened previously. One would argue Joe Paterno has done enough damage to himself and took himself down.
Already, Penn State has lost the advantage. Alumni are raising money for the victims because right now, that is where the focus needs to be squarely. There are people out there who are damaged. There are people out there who are hurting. And Penn State the university would be well served by finding them, getting the care and counseling they need, and not allowing the alumni to do it for them. They're missing a leadership opportunity.
CAVUTO: You know, this reminds me in a lot of ways -- I know slightly different, but the delayed response, as it was, in the Catholic Church and all these archdiocese when the abuses came to light. Eventually the church tried to grapple with this problem, be direct with it, but it was many, many years after the fact. And it just sort of hung over the church like a pall.
And I am wondering if this delayed response -- it is still early at Penn State -- could cost not only contributions going forward. We don't want to be so mercenary about this, but this is really a moneymaking institution. But in the great view of public opinion, not a place where a lot of parents want to send their kids or kids want to come.
MALONI: Well, this week, that is what the response is, and frankly, appropriately so. My firm, Levitt (ph), counseled the Catholic Church during some of tragic times. And there is that example and others that Penn State ought to learn from.
Sure, those charges shook the face of Catholics across America. But then there were others whose face was solidified, whose resolved was steeled. And the institutions -- they remain a part of the faith because they want to make it better and live their lives by example.
I think the -- I think that is what is going to be the future for Penn State, that the leadership is going to come to solve -- the repair is going to come from greater Penn State Diaspora.
CAVUTO: Real quickly, though, I was exploring this on Fox News Channel earlier today, Jason. But I think there is a correlation between corporate whistle blowers, those who look at abuses more of the financial type, how they're treated normally. They're threatened. Normally they're ignored. Normally they're ostracized.
In the case of those involved in Penn State, their lives are threatened. But the commonality is this, that there is great harm that comes to those who challenge the sort of sanctity of the institution. How long does that take to fix?
MALONI: Well, again, all the facts are not known in this case. And there's more yet to come. Those individuals who came forward, frankly, we can credit them for being brave and honest and doing what they did at the time they did it. The people who are going to suffer the most are the biggest brands involved, Joe Paterno, of course, and the university.
How long is it going to take? Many, many years. But the healing starts as soon as Penn State takes some clear leadership action. They have an independent investigation going. Sometimes those investigations are more aggressive than other times.
They would be smart to make some very quick decisions, to make some more firings, and to move forward, because that is when the healing starts, as soon as they have new blood in place and as soon as they have new leaders moving forward.
CAVUTO: All right, good advice all, Jason. Thank you very much.
MALONI: Thank you, Neil.
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