Poynter: CNN’s Steubenville coverage called too sympathetic to teens found guilty

By — March 18, 2013

Poynter published this piece by Mallary Jean Tenore today after the verdict in the Steubenville rape case.

Journalists took to Twitter Sunday to criticize the the media’s coverage of the two teenage boys who were found guilty in the Steubenville, Ohio, rape case.

Lauren Wolfe, Xeni Jardin and others called out CNN’s Poppy Harlow and Paul Callan for sympathizing with the men and highlighting that the woman who was raped was “allegedly drunk.”

“What I’m so furious about, after the act perpetrated on this young woman, is our media’s take. Mainstream media, of course, reflects society — so in this case, they reflect rape culture. But shouldn’t we expect more from the media? Aren’t there such things as news judgment and context and analysis?” said Wolfe, director of the Women’s Media Center’s Women Under Siege project.

“Why is nearly no outlet … bothering to ask what’s wrong with masculinity in this country, with the arrogance of those defending a football team rather than a young woman who was violated? How could the media possibly be putting the emphasis on that the girl drank? Did the boys not drink?”

Wolfe also criticized Nightline for saying the Steubenville debacle is a “cautionary tale for teenagers living in today’s digital world.”

“As if the problem was what the boys did online, not that they raped a 16-year-old girl and then bragged about it publicly,” Wolfe said.

Please click here to read the entire story.

And here are some of the tweets Poynter highlights, saying, "Women Under Siege's Lauren Wolfe was especially vocal. She tweeted her reaction and offered resources for covering rape":