Ethics The Media

CNN is Horrible

Mallory Ortberg of Gawker nails CNN for their coverage of the guilty verdict in Steubenville, Ohio.

For readers interested in learning more about how not to be labeled as registered sex offenders, a good first step is not to rape unconscious women, no matter how good your grades are. Regardless of the strength of your GPA (weighted or unweighted), if you commit rape, there is a possibility you may someday be convicted of a sex crime. This is because of your decision to commit a sex crime instead of going for a walk, or reading a book by Cormac McCarthy. Your ability to perform calculus or play football is generally not taken into consideration in a court of law. Should you prefer to be known as “Good student and excellent football player Trent Mays” rather than “Convicted sex offender Trent Mays,” try stressing the studying and tackling and giving the sex crimes a miss altogether.

This is what Ortberg was responding to.

At 1:10

I’ve never experienced anything like it Candy. It was incredibly emotional, incredibly difficult, even for an outsider like me, to watch what happened as these two young men that had such promising futures, star football players, very good students, literally watched as they believed their lives fell apart. One of the young men, Ma’Lik Richmond when that sentence came down, collapsed in the arms of his attorney Walter Madison. He said to him, ‘My life is over. No one is going to want me now.’ Very serious crime here, both found guilty of raping the sixteen-year-old girl at a series of parties back in August.

They literally watched as their lives fell apart? Just like they and other boys watched as the girl was violated? Isn’t your heart breaking for the lives of these convicted rapists being shattered?

I realize CNN has perfected the shtick of seeing both sides of every issue, even if it means purposely obfuscating the truth, but in the case of the rape of this girl — there is only one side.

These young men, who carried the girl around by her wrists and ankles from party to party (there are photos of this which I won’t link to), violating her in multiple locations, do not deserve the benefit of your ‘View From Nowhere’ doubt.

You can have a conversation about the merits of being placed on a registered sex-offender list for your entire life for something you did when you were a self-absorbed, anointed football star in high school, but what was completely absent from this segment was any discussion at all about the victim of the attack. What are the consequences of these events for her?

This white washed coverage by CNN which focused on the “promising futures” of these boys rather than the future of the victim paints her as the offender, and I have no doubt that some viewers who were watching this felt more sympathy for the boys than they did the girl that was raped.

  • Guest

    bravo bob

  • lovely liberal

    Thank you bob cesca ~

    For taking CNN’s irresponsible journalism that fosters “rape culture” to task.

  • mrbrink

    Last time I tuned in to CNN they were on the steps of the Supreme Court reporting that the Affordable Care Act was ruled unconstitutional. Haven’t been back since.

    Their heart goes out to the rapists. Journalism with a heart. How reassuring.

    Moral to the CNN story, don’t get raped, look at the lives you’ll ruin.

  • D_C_Wilson

    I’m sick of hearing how this verdict has ruined the lives of these two. No, what ruined their lives is that they raped an unconscious teenage girl. The courts didn’t just grab them off the street and drag them in front of a judge and jury at random. They put themselves in that position. Yes, colleges and future employers will see that their names are on the sex offender registry. That’s part of the price you pay for committing rape.

    And to CNN: I realize part of being a TV reporter is finding the “human angle” to every story, but the human angle is two promising futures brought down by tragedy. It’s the fact that they raped an unconscious teenager! How about spending one second contemplating how this incident is going to affect her life?

    Oh that’s right, you can’t give her name or air clips of her emotional reaction. It’s not “good TV” without the wailing and crying. Thank God the two defendants obliged you, right? Bullshit! You can show their reactions without expressing sympathy for those twerps. And if it’s such a great tragedy that they’re going to have to explain to every prospective employer for the rest of their lives how they dragged an drunk teenager around town and sexually assaulted, maybe they’ll serve as a warning to other teens:

    Hey, want to get into a good college? Get a football scholarship? Have a career/life after high school?

    Then don’t rape anyone!

  • Victor_the_Crab

    Feelin’ mighty proud of yourself, Jeff Zucker?

  • Nefercat

    I am getting fed up with the fools who yammer about how “these guys were on trial and so the story is about them” so we should lay off CNN because the story was about the verdict. No, you morons, the story was about the verdict in a trial about whether these two young men RAPED a young woman!

    They weren’t on trial in a vacuum. The verdict was about whether they RAPED another person!

  • IrishGrrrl

    CNN in their rush to produce pablum have simply perpetuated the rape culture in this country. But fairness and balance!

  • kushiro -

    Sure, you might say that about your average young offender, who would
    doubtlessly be to blame for throwing away some unremarkable and
    pedestrian future. But these are high school athletes. The world is going to be deprived of their
    exploits on the football field. Ain’t nothin’ more noble and
    aspirational and American as football! It’s a tragedy!