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March 18, 2013
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Trigger warning: 
This will probably make you angry, but if it does - share it and speak your mind to those who matter.

Disclaimer:
I would like to remind the readers of this article that it is my opinion, and that my complaint is with the COVERAGE of this news story. I do not know enough about the actual crime to comment on it and would therefore prefer not to. My issue is with the coverage of this news story and many others like it across the globe. I hope you will share this article, or your own thoughts on irresponsible journalism today, preferably with the broadcasters themselves if you believe that responsible journalism should take priority over entertaining journalism.

Share this article: 

Where I complained to CNN:

Petitions worth considering:
CNN: Apologize on air for sympathizing with the Steubenville rapists
CNN: Apologize for your disgusting coverage of the Steubenville Rapists


* These petitions are for this example of irresponsible journalism only. If anyone knows of a general petition for media outlets to become more responsible for an anti-rape message then please let me know in the comments and I will add it here. Thank you.



Today CNN broke news of two boys being convicted of rape. See their coverage here.


What they said:

:bulletblue: "two star high school football players"
- positive adjectives attributed to the perpetrators the victim however is only given one adjective 'teenage'

:bulletblue: "it was incredibly emotional, incredibly difficult... 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"
- what about the victim? what about her life falling apart?

:bulletblue: "he collapsed. he collapsed"
- elicits sympathy. he collapsed? what about her?

:bulletblue: "alcahol a huge part of this"
- detracts blame

:bulletblue: "he took a photograph of the victim laying naked on the floor that night"
- casual language, when in fact they took a photo of a girl they raped. In my mind this makes me think they also probably had control over their thoughts, but thats personal opinion and an aside from what im point out.

:bulletblue: "the two young men"
- young. detracts blame.

:bulletblue: (played the apology and the perpetrators crying to elicit sympathy for them)
- elicits sympathy

:bulletblue: "very difficult to watch" (his apology)
- elicits sympathy

:bulletblue: "father former alcaholic, lot of trouble with the law, been in prison before"
- elicits sympathy. detracts blame.

:bulletblue: "he hugged him and whispered in his ear"
- language of comforting. he is not the victim.

:bulletblue: he never told his son he loved him
- elicits sympathy. detracts blame.

:bulletblue: "incredibly emotional day"
- to watch them get sentenced? Not to hear about how this girl was raped and photographed ?

:bulletblue: "these two juveniles"
- detracts blame.

:bulletblue: "a 16 year old crying in court"
- implicit youth detracts blame.

:bulletblue: "sound like 16 year olds"
- implicit youth detracts blame.

:bulletblue: "whats the lasting effect though on two young men being found guilty in juvenile court of rape essentially"
- whats the lasting effect of being raped?

:bulletblue: "a courtroom drenched in tears and tragedy"
- the tragedy was the rape. not the conviction.

:bulletblue: "across america scenes like this happen all the time"
- um, not enough, because rape culture means a HUGE amount of rapes go unreported.

:bulletblue: "always that moment of lives being destroyed"
- what about HER life?

:bulletblue: "the most severe thing with these young men is being labelled as registered sex offenders. that label is now placed on them by ohio law"
- the most severe thing is this girls trauma.

:bulletblue: "that will haunt them for the rest of their lives"
- as will being raped for her.

:bulletblue: new employees / neighbours will know in the future
- elicits sympathy

:bulletblue: "its really something that will have a lasting impact, much more of a lasting impact than going to a juvenile facility for one or two years"
- but less impact than the permenant scars of traumatic rape.




My complaint to them:

"I saw your coverage of the Steubenville rape convictions and I am disgusted that the story focused on the lives "falling apart" of two "promising" "star football players" "very good students".

That you made a point to mention that the boys were under the influence of alcohol, that you referred to the photo as being of "the victim laying naked on the floor that night" rather than the fact that they brutally raped a girl and took pictures which shows no remorse for their actions at the time. You broadcasted their apologies which raises empathy for them, and not the victim, and your broadcaster said how 'difficult' it was to watch the apology. How about how difficult it was to endure being raped by two men? You made a point to mention how the father comforted the boy, and how emotional the day was when talking about the apologies made, regardless of the fact that they are the perpetrators NOT the victims in this scenario.

You talked about how much time they will serve, but not about how long that girl will live with that trauma, or how deeply it will affect her life.

CNN you are contributing to a rape culture. The media has to show a negative response to rape cases, all rape cases, to help establish this sick and violent crime as socially unacceptable world wide. You are perpetuating a system which allows people to thoughtlessly do something horrific because the consequences, the real traumatic horrific consequences, of their actions are not shown to them. Instead we see pity and praise for rapists. I will not be watching CNN or using your various products again, I hope your management takes a hard look at prioritising a bias AGAINST rape culture in future news stories."


A shareable version of my recent blog post.
Add a Comment:
 
:iconkissthesunrise:
KissTheSunrise Featured By Owner Mar 27, 2013
Well written article Kathryn, thank you. It's specific, and easily understandable, even by the media.

My two cents worth.
There is no justifying a crime that heinous. Both those evil photographing boys will soon find out what it's like to have someone forcefully take your will and destroy it with theirs only because they're bigger and stronger. The father too.. what did HE teach his boy except to use a woman as an object of his sexual pleasure? He ought to be doing jail time too. That would at least send a message to parents they need to teach their sons to treat women with respect physically.
Any form of rape needs to be treated by law enforcement, the judicial systems and the media with the harshest of severity. That's won't happen as long as the people who are making/enforcing these laws are predominately men. In some ways being raped can be worse than being killed instantly because you continue living with that memory and whatever side effects of it for the rest of your life. :X
Reply
:icondensity-tmr:
density-tmr Featured By Owner Mar 22, 2013
A well written article - well done.

You know the thing that strikes me when reading this, the news report and some of the responses you have had here from people is the lack of respect of the other people.

I wonder what happened with the friends of this girl and also of her fellow party goers. What ever happened to the attitude of look out to each other even the person who is a stranger. If she was drunk why wasn't someone making sure she was safe. I don't know - these days there does seem to be too much of an attitude of it isn't happening to me then ignore.

And to the people here who were negative of her and in the article - there is no excuse for rape - nothing makes it right. It is all about respecting other people and making a safe place where people can let it go without coming to harm.

In the words of Maxi Jazz (Faithless) - take care of each other, we are all we have.
Reply
:iconlittletenshi:
LittleTenshi Featured By Owner Mar 22, 2013
I have signed the petition. I am shocked.
Thanks for sharing.
Reply
:iconaurora9912:
Aurora9912 Featured By Owner Mar 22, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thank you for bringing this to my attention. I have signed the petition and forwarded the information on. It amazes that still, in 2013, our society allows this attitude to continue. And that is exactly why it has continued-because society has ALLOWED it. Until we make a stand, as you are doing here, nothing will change.
Reply
:iconcreightoninfoethics:
CreightonInfoEthics Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2013
Very well done, Kathryn. Thank you! Your commentary will be used in my class. See [link]
Reply
:iconbloodshotink:
BloodshotInk Featured By Owner Mar 22, 2013
That is too excited. Thank you!
Reply
:iconcreightoninfoethics:
CreightonInfoEthics Featured By Owner Mar 22, 2013
Thank you for doing such a great job of responding to CNN's coverage!
Reply
:iconpopo-licious:
Popo-Licious Featured By Owner Mar 20, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Well said. CNN is trash, but you make excellent points about the general culture of the media and how it portrays rape.
Reply
:iconbeavisjr:
Beavisjr Featured By Owner Mar 20, 2013
all news stations are trash in my opinion.
CNN is just the one that isn't so bad like fox :lol:
Reply
:iconbeavisjr:
Beavisjr Featured By Owner Mar 20, 2013
TL;DR reply ahead:
It seems like a hoax.
Reply
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