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.
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.