Did CNN Steubenville Coverage Favor Rapists? “Crying Make(s) for Great TV”


The Huffington Post accused CNN of “embarrassing and damaging coverage” of Sunday’s verdict in the Steubenville, Oh., calling it curiously weighted by focusing on the effect the guilty verdict would have on the lives of the now-convicted rapists and their families, rather than that of the victim and her family. An online petition protesting the coverage has amassed about 90,000 signatures CNN showed the rapists’ parents’ weeping in court. Footage of Ma’lik Richmond, 16, his mother and father offering emotional appeals to the victim’s family dominated one segment. The effects of the rape on the victim seemed to be an afterthought: “It was incredibly emotional, it was difficult for anyone in there to watch those boys break down,” said reporter Poppy Harlow. “[It was] also difficult, of course, for the victim’s family.” Huffington Post says that, “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 [ ] this tone continued over multiple segments, despite a cadre of tweets and blog posts deriding the network’s earlier coverage.”

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