CNN Laments Ruined ‘Promising’ Lives of Steubenville Rapists
2 months ago Anonymous, a muck-raking organization, shed light on the town of Steubenville, which was covering up the rape of a 16-year-old girl by a bunch of star players on the local high school football team. A few days ago two of the rapists, Trent Mays and Malik Richmond, were convicted, and CNN's coverage--much like the town--was biased... in favor of Trent and Malik.
CNN can't be accused of lying in this coverage, but the problem with this coverage is not that CNN said untrue things: It really is a bummer for these boys to have to live with being convicted rapists, and it really is a bummer that their football careers are over, and that the boys and their families had to go through the stressful ordeal of a trial at all. All of that is true.
But CNN could have also focused on the embarrassment that the victim must have been experiencing in the trial, and her likely sense of vulnerability to future attackers, and what it must feel like to have a town shame her and implicitly take the side of the players by covering up her victimization. All of that coverage would have been true too.
The problem with CNN's coverage is that they focused almost completely on the tragedies felt by the culprits while glossing perfunctorily over the tragedies felt by the victim. In doing so, CNN effectively sent the message that, while a 16-year-old girl was raped at multiple parties, the real tragedy was that the young men who raped her can't play football anymore.
Many people on the periphery of this rape case were on the side of the rapists. The town covered up the event until Anonymous made that impossible. CNN bemoaned the players' ruined futures. Even the judge seemed heartbroken to hand down the slap-on-the-wrist of 1 year in juvenile prison. It all begs the question: Why is it such a struggle for some people to apply standards for morality and human decency to good athletes?
Change.org has started a petition for CNN to make several on-air apologies for its biased coverage, and the petition has already received more than 265,000 signatures.
If you watch CNN's real coverage above and then watch The Onion's spoof below, you may realize that the two seem uncomfortably similar.