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  1. #1
    Boring old fossil Night's Avatar
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    Default CNN controversy over Steubenville rape coverage

    Here's the original case:

    Two teens sentenced for raping a 16-year-old girl.

    CNN has recently come under fire for the direction of its news coverage following the verdict, with sources claiming the focus was less about the victim and geared instead towards the impact the verdict will have on the two teens convicted of raping her.

    CNN Criticism #1
    CNN Criticism #2
    CNN Criticism #3

    CNN's coverage has generated so much controversy that an online petition has been created, calling on the network to issue an editorial apology in light of their apparent focus.

    What's your take? Are the sentiments justified?

    If so, what could this suggest about the direction of mainstream news coverage on sensitive social issues, like rape? Does this point to a larger problem in American culture that fundamentally misses the importance of victim's rights, while concentrating instead on the accused and the result their crime/s have on their respective lives?

    If not, why do you believe there's been such a significant outcry? Is this simply an example of manufactured controversy?

  2. #2
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    News coverage should focus on the crime. The victim should be spared from the media spotlight and left to try to recover in privacy, with her family. The culprits warrant no sympathy. Discussion of the penalty should emphasize that this the legal consequence of imposing oneself on another through rape. It is sad that these boys showed such poor judgment, but not sad that they were caught and held responsible. In any case, the media should concentrate on reporting the facts, and stop fomenting emotionalism and trying to sway public sentiment one way or another.
    I've been called a criminal, a terrorist, and a threat to the known universe. But everything you were told is a lie. The truth is, they've taken our freedom, our home, and our future. The time has come for all humanity to take a stand...

  3. #3
    Blah Orangey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coriolis View Post
    News coverage should focus on the crime. The victim should be spared from the media spotlight and left to try to recover in privacy, with her family. The culprits warrant no sympathy. Discussion of the penalty should emphasize that this the legal consequence of imposing oneself on another through rape. It is sad that these boys showed such poor judgment, but not sad that they were caught and held responsible. In any case, the media should concentrate on reporting the facts, and stop fomenting emotionalism and trying to sway public sentiment one way or another.
    This is really key.
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  4. #4

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    In a sense, I understand what CNN did. As a minor and a rape victim, there are virtually no details about the victim publicly available to build a story around. Of course, that doesn't leave them blameless for the tone of the reporting about the culprits. This is not something that happened TO them, this is something they DID.
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  5. #5
    Boring old fossil Night's Avatar
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    My rub deals more with the flaccid prison sentence paid to these two. I've read some who categorize this (single..) case as evidence of a wider discriminatory penal base paid to women in our "rape culture".

    Is this term an appropriate assessment of contemporary American culture? Are we guilty of buying into a culture that makes it innately acceptable to subject women to sexual violence, as some have claimed?

  6. #6
    Member Guy V. Malaxia's Avatar
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    From what I've heard about the coverage (I tend to shy away from mainstream news outlets), it was in very poor taste. I know there's that tendency to brand journalists as hungry for ratings as the family dog is for dinner scraps, but I don't think the anonymity of the victim helped in this context. It's hard to really empathize with someone who is consciously witholding details about herself (and for good reason).

    Ultimately I don't think there's any excuse for the coverage, but I know that if I were in any position on a news station, seen by millions daily, I'd say some pretty stupid stuff from time to time.

    ...I sound like a CNN apologist.

  7. #7
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Night View Post
    My rub deals more with the flaccid prison sentence paid to these two. I've read some who categorize this (single..) case as evidence of a wider discriminatory penal base paid to women in our "rape culture".

    Is this term an appropriate assessment of contemporary American culture? Are we guilty of buying into a culture that makes it innately acceptable to subject women to sexual violence, as some have claimed?
    I think the law constrains the punishments that can be imposed on juveniles. The alternative would be to try them as adults. I don't know whether that was an option in this case.

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy V. Malaxia View Post
    From what I've heard about the coverage (I tend to shy away from mainstream news outlets), it was in very poor taste. I know there's that tendency to brand journalists as hungry for ratings as the family dog is for dinner scraps, but I don't think the anonymity of the victim helped in this context. It's hard to really empathize with someone who is consciously witholding details about herself (and for good reason).
    The victim can remain anonymous without the crime remaining so.
    I've been called a criminal, a terrorist, and a threat to the known universe. But everything you were told is a lie. The truth is, they've taken our freedom, our home, and our future. The time has come for all humanity to take a stand...

  8. #8
    Blah Orangey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Night View Post
    Is this term an appropriate assessment of contemporary American culture? Are we guilty of buying into a culture that makes it innately acceptable to subject women to sexual violence, as some have claimed?
    Yes.
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  9. #9
    morose bourgeoisie
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    ^^+1

  10. #10
    Senior Member lowtech redneck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Night View Post
    Is this term an appropriate assessment of contemporary American culture? Are we guilty of buying into a culture that makes it innately acceptable to subject women to sexual violence, as some have claimed?
    No, that would be hyperbolic. Some subcultures are more conducive to sexual violence than others, but few sizable groups or localities could reasonably be described as having a 'rape culture' where sexual violence is considered socially acceptable.

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