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What the Media Says About Coverage of the Steubenville Rape Case

The media has taken CNN to task for its coverage of the Steubenville rape trial

A debate has erupted over coverage and online reaction to the conviction of two teens in the rape of a 16-year-old girl in Ohio.

Some say the media has driven sympathy for the teenage boys, Trent Mays and Ma'Lik Richmond, members of the celebrated high school football team in Steubenville, Ohio.

Others claim that the lack of coverage of the victim’s side of the attack only enhances society’s improper thinking about rape cases.

Here area a few of the main arguments raging online and on the air:

>> ThinkProgress says that CNN, ABC, NBC, the Associated Press and Yahoo News have all skewed stories and coverage in favor of the two boys: "Stories about the case relied far too heavily on the public details about the defendants, 17-year-old Trent Mays and 16-year-old Ma’lik Richmond, to set up a sympathetic portrayal of two bright young football stars whose lives have been ruined by the criminal justice system."

>> MSN takes to task CNN’s Candy Crowley and Poppy Harlow for their reporting on the conviction, with a headline suggesting that readers watch the video to see how "sad" they are for the two convicted youths. MSN also accuses the CNN reporters of doing a disservice to feminism, "Tweets are accusing the reporters of turning the clock back on feminism with their misplaced compassion and blame-the-alcohol banter

>> Good Morning America showed a photo of the girl, taken on the night of the attack, and spoke exclusively to Richmond about whether he thought it was a "fun" or a "joke" photo.

>> >> Gawker brings its signature snark to the table, offering readers advice on how not to join Mays and Richmond as registered sex offenders: "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." 

>> TheBlaze slams CNN as rapist sympathizers. The article features an explanation of the news report from CNN, which begins: "Candy Crowley probably didn't mean to steal the spotlight on Sunday afternoon, when she reported on the breaking news from the Steubenville courtroom where Trent Mays and Ma'lik Richmond had just been found guilty."

>> San Francisco Examiner accuses CNN of reversing the roles and portraying the rapists as victims: "What CNN failed to mention is that these two athletes raped the unconscious girl multiple times in several different locations and that they filmed the sexual assault. The boys sent footage of their sordid conquest around on Instagram and YouTube for all to see. How thoughtful of these fine students to allow the girl to be re-victimized and humiliated on social media."