ONTD Political

CNN Reports On The ‘Promising Future’ of the Steubenville Rapists, Who Are ‘Very Good Students’

8:35 pm - 03/17/2013
One way to report on the outcome of a rape trial is to discuss the legal ramifications of the decision or the effect the proceedings may have on the life of the victim. Another angle reporters can take is to publicly worry about the "promising future" of the convicted rapists, now less promising as a direct result of their choice to rape someone.

Reporters at CNN today chose the latter technique. General correspondent Poppy Harlow, speaking to anchor Candy Crowley, had this to say about the verdict:

"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 believed their lives fell apart...when that sentence came down, [Ma'lik] collapsed in the arms of his attorney...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 the sixteen-year-old girl at a series of parties back in August."

CNN also played footage of both convicted rapists tearfully apologizing in court. Harlow went on to describe in detail an emotional exchange between Ma'lik Richardson, one of the defendants, and his estranged father.

Candy asked Paul Callan, a legal expert, to elaborate on the future of the two young men, stressing their youth and emotional vulnerability.

"Sixteen-year-olds just sobbing in court, regardless of what big football players they are, they still sound like sixteen-year-olds...what's the lasting effect, though, on two young men being found guilty in juvenile court of rape, essentially?"

"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. Employers, when looking up their background, will see that they're registered sex offenders. When they move into a new neighborhood and somebody goes on the Internet, where these things are posted, neighbors will know that they are registered sex offenders."

Yes, that is how the sex offender registry works. People who commit acts of sexual violence (rape, for example) and are convicted in a court of law are required to register with the national sex offender public registry, so that future employers and neighbors might do things like check said registry.

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.

It is unlikely that Candy Crowley and Poppy Harlow are committed rape apologists; more likely they simply wanted a showy, emotional angle at the close of a messy and sensationalized trial. Since the identity of the victim is protected, and the rapists obliged the camera crews by memorably breaking down and crying in court, they found an angle to match: extremely gifted young men were brought tragically low by... mumblemumblesomething.

That isn't how rape trials ought to be discussed by professional journalists.

Reporting like this presents viewers with anonymous female victims and dynamic, sympathetic, complicated male figures. It should not, then, be surprising when many viewers come out in support of these poor young men, who were very good at taking tests and playing sports when they were not raping their classmates. That's the angle they're being presented.

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lovedforaday 18th-Mar-2013 12:42 am (UTC)
I read an article about this earlier. CNN ought to be ashamed of themselves.
underlankers Dear Rape-Apologists: 18th-Mar-2013 12:43 am (UTC)
seishin Re: Dear Rape-Apologists: 18th-Mar-2013 04:09 am (UTC)

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kyra_neko_rei 18th-Mar-2013 06:25 am (UTC)
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.

Gee, if only there were someone else who will be haunted for the rest of her life over this, that CNN could engage in some sympathy over.

Oh wait!
belleweather 18th-Mar-2013 12:48 am (UTC)
I can't even with this. Is there somewhere to complain or picket or nuke from orbit or something?
kyra_neko_rei Nuke from orbit!18th-Mar-2013 06:25 am (UTC)
I like your thinking.
kaelstra 18th-Mar-2013 12:49 am (UTC)

A girl was raped, can we please please please think about her rapists futures for a second?!

Edited at 2013-03-18 12:50 am (UTC)
the_glow_worm 18th-Mar-2013 12:49 am (UTC)
Man, it is FUNNY how these articles never pop up in defense of young black men who go to jail!
jayel_05 18th-Mar-2013 12:57 am (UTC)
Not that your argument doesn't have merit in the bigger picture, but one of the boys is black...
sihaya09 18th-Mar-2013 12:50 am (UTC)
Won't someone think of the rapists?
cinnamontoast 18th-Mar-2013 02:39 am (UTC)
jocelyncs 18th-Mar-2013 12:51 am (UTC)
Blah-GAHHHHH!!!! *screams and curses and throws things*

If they were so concerned about their futures, maybe they shouldn't have violated an incoherent, semi-conscious girl for fun, godfuckingdamnit! Why is that so hard for people to wrap their heads around?!
im_an_aaangel 18th-Mar-2013 12:53 am (UTC)
That will haunt them for the rest of their lives.

Yeah it's not like being raped can haunt you for the rest of your lif-- OH WAIT.
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jayel_05 18th-Mar-2013 12:54 am (UTC)
When did CNN become FOX news?
mollywobbles867 18th-Mar-2013 01:02 am (UTC)
a few years ago
cindyanne1 18th-Mar-2013 01:01 am (UTC)
Ugh. They got what they deserved and no one should feel remotely sorry for them. It's disgusting that CNN is approaching the story from that angle.
kittenmommy 18th-Mar-2013 07:15 pm (UTC)

I would argue that they didn't get anywhere near what they deserved. A year in jail? I bet they'll serve six months, max.
blackjedii 18th-Mar-2013 01:13 am (UTC)

Edited at 2013-03-18 01:15 am (UTC)
sakuraberries 18th-Mar-2013 01:27 am (UTC)
I was always under the assumption that if you're convicted of a crime as a juvenile, your record is sealed. Does it differ for sex crimes? Is that why Mays and Richardson will be on the sex offender registry for the rest of their lives?
jayel_05 18th-Mar-2013 01:46 am (UTC)
I was wondering the same thing. I found this on the Ohio Bar website:

"The Adam Walsh Act organizes sex offenders into three categories, or tiers, with different registration requirements based upon an offender’s criminal conviction(s). This law applies to adult offenders as well as juvenile offenders, all of whom are required to register with the sheriff of the county where they live, work and attend school. They also must register with the sheriff any time they change their place of residence"

So I guess there is that...
wikilobbying 18th-Mar-2013 01:41 am (UTC)
wow, fuck them. fuck those guys for assaulting that girl in the first place. fuck them them for trying to get away with it, no less. fuck those cnn reporters for this shit. oh wow, their lives might be ruined boo fucking hoo. what about the girl they raped? who got victim blamed to hell and back after the fact, by the goddamn way. what about her and her life?
kittenmommy 18th-Mar-2013 07:17 pm (UTC)

And you know that everyone in town knows who she is, and will do their best to make her life even more miserable for the crime of "ruining" those "poor boys'" lives.

It wouldn't surprise me if her family ends up having to move away from the area.
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