CNN’s Sympathetic Coverage of Steubenville Football Stars Convicted of Rape, and The Onion’s Sage Prediction

Take a look at these two sad, sympathetic faces. CNN’s Candy Crowley is on the left, and CNN’s Poppy Harlow is on the right:

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Did that girl not think of the effects of her getting raped by these two fine young men would have on them?

They’re reporting, quite sympathetically, on the Steubenville, Ohio rape case in which two high school students, Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond, sexually assaulted a 16-year-old girl and in which photos of her naked body, post-rape, were taken and circulated on the internet. The report is chock-full of sympathy and concern for lingering effects on reputation, psychological well-being and future aspirations…for the rapists.

Watch and be amazed. These are two women reporting?

Crowley starts the segment with an interview with Harlow, who covered the story at the scene. Harlow, greatly moved by the plight of two young men whose lives are ruined because they were convicted of raping a girl, says it was “incredibly difficult” to watch the proceedings. “These two young men,” she reports with a look that asks, Is this what our society has come to?, “who had such promising futures — star football players, very good students — literally watched as they believed their life fell apart.”

trent mays and ma'lik richmond

Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond, the two young men whose lives were ruined because they were convicted for, of all things, raping a girl and posting her post-rape photos on the internet. Where’s the justice?

There’s even a human interest angle with Richmond who lives with foster guardians because his alcohol father is unfit to raise him, and how his father, who attended the trial, told Richmond “I love you,” which is something he’s never been heard to say before. Harlow sadly recounts Richmond’s reaction to the verdict: “My life is over; no one is going to want me now”.

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“Won’t somebody please think of the rapists?”

Crowley then talks to CNN legal correspondent Paul Callan, asking him about the lasting effects that a rape conviction would have on May and Richmond. “That will haunt them for the rest of their lives,” he replies. There’s no talk of the effect their actions will have on their victim.

For the entire segment, CNN’s focus is on the boys and the effects that this conviction will have on their lives. There is talk of the boys, elliptical references to the crime, but not one mention of — and certainly no concern for — the person upon whom the crime was committed.

Suddenly, this parody news piece by The Onion from two years ago, Athlete Overcomes Rape, in which a star basketball player tries to put the rape he committed behind him, seems downright prescient:

4 replies on “CNN’s Sympathetic Coverage of Steubenville Football Stars Convicted of Rape, and The Onion’s Sage Prediction”

I was horrified to learn of this: I hadn’t realized that sexism is so pervasive in our society that even women enforce it. Now it’s obvious how brain-dead I was, since I’ve long understood that to be the situation in *other* societies (I have a South Asian background and was fortunate to be raised by parents who broke with tradition), yet I assumed that ours would be different.

You’re right for pointing out this coverage – unfortunately no one else will blink an eye.

this is ridiculous. They raped a 16 year old girl, no sympathy should be shown to them. You don’t just accidently rape someone. Just because they had “promising lives” ahead of them doesn’t mean they should be treated with more respect. People who rape others are LOWLIFES and nothing else.

I wonder if these two women would be talking same way about this two guys if the victim was their daughter or themselves! Hey! these innocent kids raped a girl, took pics and posted in internet also!

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