CNN covered the sentence hearing of two high school football players who were convicted of rape. However, the news reporter,Poppy Harlow, took a very unusual angle when covering the story. She actually sympathized with the rapists and barely mentioned the victim. Ma’lik Richmond, 16, and Trenton Mays, 17, raped a 16-year-old girl in Steubenville, Ohio and even took naked pictures of the victim naked and posted them on the internet.

Richmond and Mays were two of the best players on the Steubenville High School American football team. Because the town took such pride in the team and these two players in particular, it has been said that local authorities had tried to cover the crime up at first. Richmond was sentenced to 1 year and Mays was sentenced to 2 years.

CNN is being criticized for how they approached the story. Many people believe that there was far too much emphasis on how the young men’s lives would change forever because of the conviction instead of sympathizing more with the victim. Harlow focuses on how the two football players had had such promising futures and now everything has fallen apart for them. Poppy brings up the following points in her report:

  • The rapists’ impressive resumes
  • Alcohol was a huge factor in the crime
  • Suggests that they were brave for apologizing to the victim
  • Tries to make us feel bad for them and sympathize with them
  • Makes only as passing comment about the victim
  • How their lives will be much harder because of this conviction
  • States that sex offenders are registered as sex offenders

Not only this, she shows a clip of the young men apologizing, and they do not bleep out the victim’s name. Her name had not been released to the press because she is a minor, however, they failed to respect her privacy. There is a petition that demands the broadcaster apologizes and has gathered more than 20,000 signatures.