Two high school football players in Steubenville, Ohio were found guilty of rape in a juvenile court over the weekend and CNN chose to frame the story in a very disturbing way.  Instead of just relaying the facts of the situation, CNN repeatedly focused on what a difficult time it must be for the two convicted young men, Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond.


Raw Story linked the video of CNN’s over-the-top coverage. The core of the story is framed within the context of how the lives of these “two promising young men” are now ruined.



Editorializing or having a spin (whether subtle or more blatant) is nothing new for news programs, but this particular angle is dangerous. It promotes rape culture. Such a focus on how “awful” it must be for the boys makes it seem like something happened to them as opposed to them being punished for their actions.  Taking the slant CNN took erases the real victim.


The real victim here is the 16 year old girl who was sexually assaulted by these boys and was victimized again via social media/technology as videos and pictures of her from the night in question were passed around amongst her peers.


She is the victim. If you are to have a sympathetic angle, let it include her.  The rape and subsequent trial/sentence did not “happen” to those boys.  That’s not to say that we shouldn’t take a good look at everyone involved in this crime.–the victim, the perpetrators, the people who stood around and did nothing, etc.  We, as a society, should absolutely take age and home life and all of those things into consideration when dealing with juvenile crimes. These young men are teenagers and should be treated as such.


However, we must never treat rape like it’s a condition that someone catches.  Rape is a crime that has long lasting psychological, emotional and sometimes physical effects.


CNN, do better.

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  • Fantastico

    Please correct me, if I’m wrong. Didn’t one of the many people involved in this drug the girl’s drink in the first vehicle involved in this crime? I’ve read in past articles that she was drugged on her way to the party with her “friends” who participated in and or organized the multiple rapes of the girl.

    That’s my understanding so it really pisses me off that her use of alcohol is being emphasized when she was drugged then carried around to be raped at various parties.

    I know I heard she was drugged on Democracy Now and other news sources. I hate how she is being blamed for this. Where is the responsibility of the rapists ,organizers and enablers?

    I want the investigation to uncover the people who drugged her and all the other people involved. I truly hope justice is served for all!

  • EL

    Oh yes of course, those poor, poor rapists.

    I cannot even believe how oblivious the newsreader is being, CNN is bullshit anyway, but I cannot even believe they had the audacity to portray the situation this way. The arrogance of both of these so-called “boys”. He ain’t crying about what he did, he’s crying ’cause he’s branded. It’s easy to see that none of them have any real remorse about what they did, they are feeling sorry for themselves about going to jail.

    3 (including myself) of the women in my family, that I know of, have been raped and/or sexually abused. So, the cases that have been gaining national attention over the past few months have been seriously enraging me because it shows me how people really think about rape and sexual abuse. It seems that most people, even including other women!, think that the victim holds some kind of blame each time. People who haven’t been raped or abused seriously don’t get the long term effects that happen to a person, they can be, and are, devastating and disturbing beyond belief and they are crying about their lives being ruined?

    I can’t even express the rage I am feeling right now. And what I felt when I saw the picture of her being carried is indescribable, my heart stopped.