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Like many of you I've read the diary about CNN's coverage of the verdict. I honestly don't know what the tone of the coverage was like (I don't watch CNN - I get my news from more reliable sources like The Daily Show), but those who did suggest it was sympathetic to the convicted rapists.  Their statements of what these Kossacks witnessed and the plain language of the reporter's comments announcing the news of the verdict comes across as callous and damning, in my opinion. Here's a link to a CNN video report of the announcement of the conviction of Mays and Richmond.  Watch it and decide for yourself.  It does focus on the convicted young men.  Nothing is said about the feelings of the victim or her family.  The reporter, Poppy Harlow does not mention in this report whether she asked for comment from the victim's family or if they refused comment at that time.  However, CNN did release this video of an interview of the victim's attorney by Poppy Harlow later in the day.

Which got me to wondering: Did CNN cover any of the reported testimony by the rape victim on the stand, a 16 year old young woman (one year younger than my daughter)?  Testimony such as this reported by Reuters:

Prosecutors displayed to her some of the pictures that circulated on social media, including one that showed her naked with what prosecutors say is semen on her stomach.

The girl started crying as she looked at the photo, saying she had never seen the image before.

"Who is that in the photo?" prosecutor Marrianne Hemmeter asked.

"Me," the girl answered.

"How does it make you feel?" Hemmeter said.

"Not good."

The girl also testified that when she finally went to the hospital, after seeing a video in which classmates joked about the assault, she was reluctant to identify her assailants.

When Hemmeter asked her why, the girl replied: "Because honestly, I was praying that everything I heard wasn't true. I didn't want to get myself into drama because I knew everyone would just blame me."

I don't know the extent of CNN's coverage of the trial testimony, though there is this link I found which has video that I assume was played on air at some point.  The byline to the CNN article credits Chelsea Carter and Poppy Harlow for the report.  As I said, I'm not generally a consumer (stupid word in this case) of cable news shows whether on CNN, Fox or MsNBC, the CNN video does not mention the trial, and appears to have been aired prior to the trial.  

Here's another link to a story about the trial which has video by CNN attached to a story about the victim's testimony.  It's a video of a porn star claiming she was raped in Steubenville when she was a teenager.  Unfortunately the video doesn't refer to the trial testimony in the written article at the CNN website.

The Reuters report specifically mentioned that two teammates of the convicted rapists were granted immunity and testified about the sexual assaults by Mays and Richmond they witnessed.  Those young male witnesses testified that they had video recorded two acts of sexual assault upon the victim, one by each of the convicted young men.  One occurred in a car in which Mays was the perpetrator, and the other one occurred in the basement of a house, this time by Richmond. Videos the witnesses said they subsequently deleted.  Both these eye witnesses testified the victim was unconscious and unresponsive while she was sexually assaulted by Mays and Richmond.

Other news outlets did report on her testimony, though most did not give many details:


ABC Link

Another ABC video

NBC Nightly News - The best coverage I've found of her testimony so far.

Those TV reports focused on the text messages, but nothing much regarding the direct testimony by the victim quoted in the Reuters article.

Here's a video report by the website Newsy and local station WTOV regarding the testimony by May's and Richmond's teammates.

Here is the CNN video regarding the testimony by May's and Richmond's teammates.

CNN Link.  This is the best report by CNN about the testimony by their teammates against Mays and Richmond.

Overall, of the videos I've seen, the CNN videos of the teammates' testimony, and of the victim's attorney after the conviction was announced appear to me to be fair to the victim and her family.  But again that's my opinion.  I wish I could have found a video from CNN reporting on the victim's testimony at trial.  

For those of you who want to know where the investigation goes from here, this article has the statement of the Ohio Attorney General after the verdict:

Let me turn now to where we go from here. As I have indicated, we have been involved in an extensive investigation seeking to learn if any other individuals committed any crimes. While we have interviewed almost 60 individuals, 16 people refused to talk to our investigators. I have reached the conclusion that this investigation cannot be completed -- that we cannot bring finality to this matter -- without the convening of a Grand Jury. Therefore, I am asking the Jefferson County Common Pleas Court to convene a Grand Jury to meet on or about April 15, 2013. My prosecutors will present evidence to this Grand Jury for it to determine if other crimes have been committed. I anticipate numerous witnesses will be called to testify. The Grand Jury could meet for a number of days, and, I should point out, that the convening of a Grand Jury does not necessarily mean that indictments will be returned or that charges will be filed. However, indictments could be returned and charges could be filed.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (13+ / 0-)

    "If you tell the truth, you'll eventually be found out." Mark Twain

    by Steven D on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 03:41:36 PM PDT

  •  seemed fine to me. Wasn't in depth, but (0+ / 0-)

    I saw no problem with the coverage.  

  •  The Victim's Mother Also Offered Relevant (3+ / 0-)


    The alleged victim's mother, who was the prosecution's sole witness Thursday, said her daughter has been humiliated by what transpired on and since Aug. 11, the night of the alleged crimes. The girl has been ostracized by friends and has become reclusive, attempting to avoid school and rarely leaving her room.

    "I hear her crying at night," the woman said of her daughter. "She tries to stay very brave in front of her father and I, but she'll go into her room and I'll hear her cry."

    The girl and her family also have been the target of threats, the girl's mother continued, which has required the constant presence of a police cruiser in their neighborhood.

    I don't watch CNN either but no viewer should have to watch days and days of coverage to get minimal balance in a report on the  verdict in such a high publicity case generated by social media involving Anonymous and alleged official cover-ups.

    Once CNN decided to go beyond straight reporting, into impacts, they had to know that victims and victims' advocates would notice an absence of coverage of the impacts on the victim.

    In this particular case, whether the victim or her family were willing to be interviewed, the victim needing police protection maybe warranted a mention or an interview with police about how long they'd be protecting the victim.s too significant to leave out.

  •  Didn't see CNN. MSNBC was disappointing though. (6+ / 0-)

    I saw several reports on MSNBC about the verdict and most of the focus was on the sad consequences for the convicted perpetrators.  Little to no focus was on the victim, her family, or how they were feeling about the verdict.  I often found myself frustrated that so much attention was being given to the young men's feelings and reactions about their fate.  Where are the tears and concern for the young girl who has to live with what happened to her for the rest of her life?

    "You must be the change you wish to see in the world." -Gandhi

    by Triscula on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 05:47:42 PM PDT

  •  Wow. I watched both CNN and MSNBC (0+ / 0-)

    and in both cases

     - There were comments made about the light sentences each boy received, because they were juveniles.

     - Comments made about the fact that had they been adults, the punishment would have been way more severe.

     - Reporting that each boy would have to register as a juvenile sex offender.

     - The statement the victim's mother made (on tape) in court was covered, verbatim, along with each boy's appology.

     - That there were huge protests in support of the victim outside the courtroom every day.

      - Extensive coverage of Atty. Gen. Mike DeWine's comments and announcement to open a Grand Jury on possible conspiracy to protect the perpetrators because of the lack of cooperation from students, school officials and other parents.

    I thought, overall, the coverage was quite fair.  Furthermore, Joy-Ann Reid, guest hosting for Melissa Harris-Perry on MSNBC, spent ONE HOUR on the case.  She interviewed experts on men's violence, rape and she even let a rape victim who had appeared on Sean Hannity earlier in the week give the full statement that Hannity had interrupted.  They flipped the script on the coverage by asking "how do we stop boys/men from raping girls/women instead of asking why girls/women put themselves in that situation?"

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