Monday, March 18, 2013

Observations 3.18

I can't say I want to write about rape but something is just freaking me out a bit. First off I have a problem comprehending why some in the media can't seem to grasp three words, rape is rape. See it's a fairly easy concept to grasp. Personality doesn't come into it, nor does the fact that you were 'allegedly' drinking. Rape is rape.

Yesterday Trent Mays and Ma'lik Richmond, 17 and 16 year old Steubenville, Ohio high school football players, were found guilty of raping a girl who they literally carried from party to party. The boys' only defense was the usual one of her consenting because she didn't positively say no. The main evidence against the boys consisted of videos and photos that were posted on Twitter and Facebook that night and over the next few days. Richmond was sentenced to a minimum of one year in a juvenile detention center and Richmond to a minimum of two because he was also found guilty of using the victim, a minor, in pornographic material. With good behavior both will spend less time locked up than the typical drug offender. I have more than one problem with the reactions to this verdict but for now I have a question.

What the hell is the matter with CNN?

Immediately following the verdict announcement Candy Crowley's main thought was of the poor boys whose bright futures were ruined by the verdict. She added that they would in all likelihood be traumatized for life. Crowley said "these two young men, who had such promising futures, star football players, very good students, literally watched as they believed their life fell apart." Very little mention of the 16 year old victim of the rape.

Not to be outdone Poppy Harlow, CNN's correspondent on the scene, added "One of the young men, Ma’lik Richmond, as that sentence came down, he collapsed. It was very hard to watch." I'm torn between wanting to ask Harlow how difficult the rape video they posted on Facebook was to watch and wanting to kick Richmond a few times as he collapsed.

Crowley finished by asking CNN's legal expert what the lasting effects of the verdict are for the men. "But in terms of what happens now, 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. That will haunt them for the rest of their lives," answered Paul Callan. It should haunt them as I'm sure it will haunt their victim.

I'm not sorry if their lives are ruined, if the town of Steubenville's reputation is ruined, if the boys' "promising futures" as football players is gone forever. They raped a 16 year old girl as their friends took pictures and video than posted them on Twitter and Facebook. I really don't care if they are on a sexual predators list for the rest of their lives, that's exactly what they are. They have nobody but themselves to blame for their ruined lives.

To be fair CNN wasn't the only source reacting this way but one expects more from a serious news source. But than between this and the poop ship chronicles I'm not so sure CNN should be called that any longer.

3/19 update - I saw this yesterday on CNN's website in an opinion written by Ric Simmons, a guest writer from Ohio State's College of Law. Granted he doesn't specifically work for CNN but they published it. In his opinion Simmons said; "A few decades ago, this behavior would probably have been considered inappropriate or 'ungentlemanly.' Today, it brings protesters into the streets and creates a nationwide outcry about sexual abuse." Again we are talking about rape here.