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All over social media sites like Twitter and Facebook there has been a growing outcry at CNN’s coverage of the Steubenville Rape Trial. During the recent six minute news item, most of the time was spent commenting on how distressful and emotional the trial was for the two criminals.
CNN first addressed the two rapists, Trent Mays (17) and Ma’lik Richmond (16), as star football players and as the report progressed the praise grew. Poppy Harlow, who sat in the court room during the trial, mentioned how these “two young men with promising futures, star football players and good students watched as their lives fell apart.” To add to this, she mentioned how emotional it was to sit in the court room as the two rapists were found guilty of raping an intoxicated 16 year old girl.
Only a few comments were made about the young victim, and not one of them was about how vicious the offence inflicted on her was. The two men raped, videoed and took pictures of the young girl but instead, Poppy Harlow chose to focus on Malik crying when he heard his sentence.
And then viewers watched as the two men stood and apologised to the family of the young girl, their family and to the community – again Poppy Harlow mentioned how hard it was to watch the scene.
The report ended with Paul Callan, CNN’s legal contributor, talking about how hard life will be for the two men and how the consequences of their horrendous actions will follow them for the rest of their lives, without a single mention of how this is justified.
Rightly so, many people became angry from the report and voiced their outcry on Twitter, Facebook and other social networking site. But some went a step further. Gabriel Garcia started an online petition to have CNN apologise on air for their report. On the site he wrote:
That CNN decided to paint the tears of the convicted Steubenville rapists in a sympathetic light and say how their lives were ruined — while completely ignoring the fact that the rape victim’s life is the one whose life was ruined by these rapists’ actions — is disgusting and helps perpetuate a shameful culture in which young people never understand the concept of consent and in which rape victims are blamed and ostracized. Changing that culture must be done brick by brick, and it can start by heaping public shame on this major cable news network and forcing them to admit that they are wrong. Publicly.
Around 230,000 people have signed it some of them including their own reasons for doing so including Danielle Hauck, Huntingdon, PA who wrote:
These boys were rapists. They knew what they were doing. To say that their poor little lives were ruined for RAPING SOMEONE? They deserve far more than serving a year in Juvie and being registered as a sex offender for life. Disgusting, CNN. That poor young woman who was assaulted… and then made into the perpetrator rather than the victim? Absolutely foul and inhuman.
TheWrap have allegedly been told by two insiders at CNN, that Poppy Harlow is aware of the outrage and has been badly affected by it. They state that “Poppy is taking this extremely personally as a woman,” said one executive. “She’s outraged that someone would think she’d do such a thing” as slant her coverage toward rapists. “It’s gotten so out of control.”
Poppy Harlow has said nothing publically and CNN has yet to respond to the demand. But if they are hoping that this issue will simply go away they should think twice. People interested in justice will continue champion for the victim in this trial and all cases of sexual assault, even when News programs such as CNN let us down.
Image Courtesy : Marsmet523