Liberal media outlets attacked Fox News Channel for airing the name of a Steubenville, Ohio 16-year-old rape victim during their coverage of Sunday’s verdict, while CNN and MSNBC largely escaped criticism for doing the same thing.
The trial found two high school football players, 17-year-old Trent Mays and 16-year-old Ma’lik Richmond, guilty of rape.
But it wasn’t just Fox News that inadvertently aired the victim’s name: CNN and MSNBC did as well, but have not faced the same scrutiny as Fox.
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But beyond just airing the victim’s name, CNN’s Poppy Harlow has taken heat for playing up the plight of the rapists as she reacted to the verdict during CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday.
“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,” Harlow said. “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 him, ‘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,” she continued. “Alcohol 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.”
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.