Sunday, March 17, 2013

CNN Has Loads of Sympathy for Poor Convicted Rapists in Steubenville Case

 photo tumblr_mjtyf2tIB11qjxb8to1_500.jpg

The way some media outlets covered the Rape conviction in Steubenville, Ohio on Sunday:

BBC News
Two high school football players in the US state of Ohio have been found guilty of raping a 16-year-old girl.
Trent Mays, 16, and Ma'lik Richmond, 17, attacked the girl after a drunken party in the town of Steubenville. Both wept as the verdict was read out.
The case came to light via text messages, online videos and social media posts made the morning after, attracting nationwide attention.
The two were sentenced to at least a year in juvenile detention.
Mays was sentenced to another year for taking pictures of the naked victim, and the judge said both might stay in detention until they reach 21

On the fifth and final day of a long and emotional rape trial recounting a drunken and violent evening, Judge Thomas Lipps delivered a guilty verdict on all charges Sunday morning in the Steubenville rape trial, calling the situation "profane" and "ugly" as the boys cried aloud and were handed the maximum sentencing. The Ohio attorney general said a grand jury would convene around April 15 to "bring finality" to a case that captured the attention of a nation — and that "additional charges could be filed" after 16 people, most of whom were students at the post-football game parties last August, had refused to talk to his investigators.

Trent Mays and Ma'lik Richmond — stars on the Steubenville High football team and 17 and 16 years old, respectively — were found "delinquent," which Lipps informed the boys in front of him was "similar to a finding of guilty in an adult court." Richmond was sentenced to a minimum of one year in a juvenile rehabilitation facility and a maximum of until he turns 21 on a juvenile charge of rape; Mays, who was also found delinquent on a charge of illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material, was sentenced to a minimum of two years and a "consecutive" sentence that could last until he turns 24. As the lead prosecutor said there was "no remorse" for the victim from the convicted, Mays cried out in the Ohio courtroom and frequently returned to his handkerchief as his attorneys consoled him. Lipps said the boys "might be dealing with emotions" since the consequences "were now dawning on them."

Dan Wetzel on Yahoo Sports
Rape, experts say, is a crime of power and control more than sex. Underlying all of that is arrogance, and in Steubenville it was taken to the extreme.
Throughout this trial, the two defendants and a parade of friends who wound up mostly testifying against the defendants, expressed little understanding of rape – let alone common decency or respect for women. Despite the conviction, the defendants likely don't view themselves as rapists, at least not the classic sense of a man hiding in the shadows.

"It wasn't violent," explained teammate Evan Westlake when asked why he didn't stop the two defendants as they abused a non-moving girl that Westlake knew to be highly intoxicated. "I always pictured it as forcing yourself on someone."
That was part of the arrogance.
Arrogance from the defendants. Arrogance from the friends. Arrogance within the culture.

And the way CNN chose to cover the Rape Conviction in Steubenville, Ohio, on Sunday ~ by sympathizing with the perpetrators who assaulted a young girl:

From CNN Transcripts:

CROWLEY: Again, this case was played out in juvenile court, that is why there was a judge, no jury. He decided on the verdict, as well as, you heard there, talking about the sentence.

We want to go now to CNN's Poppy Harlow. She is in Steubenville, and has been covering this trial.

I cannot imagine having just watched this on the feed coming in. How emotional that must have been sitting in the courtroom.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I've never experienced anything like it, Candy. It was incredibly emotional -- incredibly difficult even for an outsider like me to watch what happened as these two young men that had such promising futures, star football players, very good students, literally watched as they believe their life fell apart.

One of -- one of the young men, Ma'lik Richmond, when that sentence came down, he collapsed. He collapsed in the arms of his attorney, Walter Madison. He said to me, "My life is over. No one is going to want me now."

Very serious crime here. Both found guilty of raping this 16- year-old girl at a series of parties back in August, alcohol-fueled parties. Alcohol is a huge part in this.

But Trent Mays was also found guilty on a second count and that is of felony illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material because he took a photograph of the victim laying naked on the floor that night. Trent Mays will serve two years in a juvenile detention facility. Ma'lik Richmond will serve one year on that one count that he was found guilty for.

I want to let our viewers listen because for the first time in this entire trial we have now heard from the two young men. Trent Mays stood up, apologizing to the victim's family in court. After him, Ma'lik Richmond.



TRENT MAYS, FOUND GUILTY OF RAPINGIN JUVENILE COURT: I would really like to apologize to (INAUDIBLE), her family, my family and community. No pictures should have been sent out or should be taken. That's all. Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anything you'd like to say, Ma'lik?

MA'LIK RICHMOND, FOUND GUILTY OF RAPE IN JUVENILE COURT: I would like to apologize. I had no intention to do anything like that and I'm sorry to put you guys through this. (INAUDIBLE) I'm sorry.


HARLOW: I was sitting about three feet from Ma'lik when he gave that statement. It was very difficult to watch.


CROWLEY: Poppy Harlow in Steubenville, Ohio, for us.

I want to bring in Paul Callan, our CNN legal contributor.

You know, Paul, a 16-year-old now just sobbing in court, regardless of what big football players they are, still sound like 16 year olds. The other one, 17. A 16-year-old victim.

The thing is, when you listen to it and you realize that they could stay until they're 21, they are going to get credit for time served. What's the lasting effect, though, on two young men being found guilty in juvenile court of rape, essentially?

PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, you know, Candy, we've seen here a courtroom drenched in tears and tragedy and, you know, Poppy's description, I think, you know, sums it all up. But across America scenes like this happen all the time.

I know as a prosecutor and defense attorney, when that verdict is handed down, usually it's just the family and families of the defendants and the victims, there's always that moment of just lives are destroyed. And lives have already been destroyed by the crime. And we got a chance to see that.

But in terms of what happens now, yes, the most severe thing with these young men is being labeled as registered sex offenders. That label is now placed on them by Ohio law and, by the way, the laws in most other states now require such a designation in the face of such a serious crime.

That will haunt them for the rest of their lives.
Employers, when looking up their background, will see they're registered sex offender. When they move into a new neighborhood and somebody goes on the Internet where these things are posted. Neighbors will know they're a registered sex offender.

It's 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.


The slant of the day's coverage was revealing in two capacities. First, CNN appears to have bet on the emotions of those it could show on camera -- for obvious reasons, the victim's identity has been protected, and the victim's family was not shown weeping in court. Networks know that people crying make for great TV. Secondly, it's telling that this tone continued over multiple segments, despite a cadre of tweets and blog posts deriding the network's earlier coverage.
Later on Sunday, Whitfield wrapped the first segment of her coverage on the case by describing it as "a heart-breaking case to watch, no matter how you look at it." That CNN can find so many ways to look at a rape trial is perhaps to blame for their embarrassing and damaging coverage.
~ Huffington Post

For readers interested in learning more about how not to be labeled as registered sex offenders, a good first step is not to rape unconscious women, no matter how good your grades are. Regardless of the strength of your GPA (weighted or unweighted), if you commit rape, there is a possibility you may someday be convicted of a sex crime. This is because of your decision to commit a sex crime instead of going for a walk, or reading a book by Cormac McCarthy. Your ability to perform calculus or play football is generally not taken into consideration in a court of law. Should you prefer to be known as "Good student and excellent football player Trent Mays" rather than "Convicted sex offender Trent Mays," try stressing the studying and tackling and giving the sex crimes a miss altogether.
It's perfectly understandable, when reporting on a rape trial, to discuss the length and severity of the sentence; it is less understandable to discuss the end of two convicted rapists' future athletic and academic careers as if it were somehow divorced from the laws of cause and effect. Their dreams and hopes were not crushed by an impersonal, inexorable legal system; Mays and Richardson raped a girl and have been sentenced accordingly. Had they not raped her, they would not be spending at least one year each in a juvenile detention facility.
~ From Gawker

1 comment:

  1. I am doing my best to denounce CNN's trifling behavior as well. I simply had to wait for the shock to wear off so that I could begin to process this!