Excellent analysis of the emotional impact when TV journalism shows gripping footage of convicted rapists breaking down in tears while the victim, whose identity is protected by privacy laws, remains anonymous and invisible.
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. —CNN Reports On The Promising Future of the Steubenville Rapists, Who Are Very Good Students.
2 thoughts on “CNN Reports On The Promising Future of the Steubenville Rapists, Who Are Very Good Students”
The Gawker article is questioning CNN for on-air chit-chat between a reporter and anchor, where the convicted rapists were described as “good students,” which seems to have gone beyond the journalists obligation to report “both sides of the story,” and seems to invite the audience to sympathize with popular student leaders who bragged about repeatedly raping a drunk 16-year-old.
My own point is that because TV news (which thrives on dramatic video) cannot show the face of the victim (her identity is being kept anonymous), a journalist who needs to fill air time with dramatic images is going to be drawn to the tearful post-verdict apologies of the convicted rapists.
I find TV journalism very shallow for precisely this reason. The nature of the medium means that it’s not quality TV journalism unless it includes dramatic video, and if there’s dramatic video of any sort, reporters will do whatever they can in order to turn it into news (witness all the “journalism” that simply repeats clips from viral YouTube videos).
Having said that, I was planning on introducing having my journalism students read this article, so when I blogged it, I kind of kept my “here’s why I asked you to look at this article” speech to myself.
Dennis G. Jerz: could you elaborate on your particular point here? I “read” two (opposing) points here. Just want to see the “other” side (if there be one). [FYI: that’s more quotes and parens than I’ve used in years.]