CNN, Fox News, MSNBC air name of 16yo Steubenville rape victim

Three cable news networks, CNN, Fox News and MSNBC, outed the underage victim in the Steubenville rape trial by name during reports about the case. The identification of the 16 year old rape victim occurred in the course of a clip in which one of the convicted rapists apologized to the victim and her family. Local CBS affiliate WTRF also aired the clip without editing out the victim's name. [HuffPo]


    1. They may have some serious competition from the teenage classmates who slandered, shamed and threatened the victim online for having the gall to mess up their friends’ lives by getting gang-raped. (And those were the female classmates.)

  1. And it should be noted — Fox News aired the victim’s name but redacted the names of Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond. Because they are apparently the Real Victims here.

  2. These really are the worst people in the world. The CNN clip focusing on the rapists are just astonishing. What kind of bubble do these people live in?

    1. Exactly. I don’t recall if BoingBoing covered this (it was on Reddit and Slate and such), but the I thought the “poor rapists” aspect of the coverage to be just about the most disgusting part of the media coverage.

      Watch the above clip if you want some rage with your morning coffee.

      Edit: folks should sign the petition asking CNN to apologize on air.

    2. What kind of bubble do these people live in?

      Two bubbles hanging in a stretchy sort of sac?

  3. Insular cloistered religious organizations breed and protect abusers.   Big churches?  Big-school-sports?   Different god, same shit.

        1. No one is arguing that either were right…? So your cliche is misplaced.

          Michael’s point was that no one gives a fuck about their wrongs.

  4. So is anyone going to stop watching them because of this? That seems to be the real test. I can’t boycott because I only watch the weather network and whatever channel is showing the Big Bang Theory so…?
    But seriously, this is pretty damn evil. If a group of girls with strap-ons had fed some guy a roofie colada and raped him _and_ bragged it all over the place? Can you imagine the sh!tstorm that would fall on those hypothetical girls?

    1. Well, ravenlunatick, it might be time to take a stand, and cut the cord.  Make sure you let your cable company know why. 

      I do, every time they try to sell me cable service.

    2.  The channel that shows the most Big Bang Theory reruns (TBS) is owned by the same parent company (Turner) that runs CNN.

    3. And I bet you i that had happened and it had gone to trial, there wouldn’t be so many commentators (and the freaking judge) using it as an example of why young people should be careful what they put online! Because you know, raping people isn’t a big deal, it’s getting *caught* that’s the real problem. 

  5. Not sure if this has been posted yet, but I thought this was interesting:

  6. It’s a good thing Cronkite’s dead, because this would kill him.

    Most modern-day journalists couldn’t even spell ‘integrity’.

  7. Sadly companies like CBS have gone to the “As God Is My Witness” and “If It Bleeds It Leads” format and will not air real news stories that need to be told.

  8. I’m playing devil’s advocate here, but when an incident happens within a large high school population that gets this much attention, and essentially every kid in that school has access to social media of some type, how long would her identity be able to remain anonymous? I mean, just a few weeks ago here in town, there was an explosion and fire at a well-known restaurant where one person was killed. The local press did what they could to keep the victim’s name under wraps, but eventually they just gave in and began quoting friends of hers who announced her name on social media channels as credible sources (since regular people on social media don’t have to adhere to any type of official gag order). I mean, eventually you’ll just have to “report on the report,” yeah?

    1.  Whether everyone in the town knows isn’t the same thing as everyone in the country knowing. Regardless of who already knows or has found out, the media should adhere to these rules.

      1.  I’m saying it actually IS basically everyone in the country knowing, if there are no content locks placed on social media channels. I mean, that’s one of the primary functions of the Twitter hashtag – to recombine and organize information outside of traditional information gateways.

        1. I could be wrong, but wasn’t her name outed a few days ago by a FELLOW STUDENT?

          Just because it’s on twitter doesn’t mean it’s “news” or that it should be repeated by “traditional information gateways”. Have you thought this through?

    2. In a situation like this, it isn’t that anybody is arguing that the media’s job is somehow to Preserve The Secret(since, as you note, they don’t actually have a chance of doing so); but to not contribute to a feeding frenzy surrounding a crime victim whose personal information is of absolutely no legitimate public interest whatsoever.

      It’s not that it would be difficult for them to come up with procedurally-legitimate ways to ‘indirectly’ spill the data, it’s that doing so serves no legitimate end and they shouldn’t even be trying to do that.

      If this were a public-interest thing, adopting indirect-reporting strategies(like the ones the in the Israeli media with that secret spy case recently) would be a worthy endeavor; it’s just that this isn’t one of those things.

    3.  It’s not about keeping it secret, ala witness protection. Someone who really, really, really wanted to know would undoubtedly be able to find out. It’s about not publicizing it. Journalists sure as hell have the choice not to broadcast her name to all and sundry. But in this particular case, they decided, what the hell. The fact that the victim is only 16 just makes it all that much worse.

    4. I’m playing devil’s advocate here…

      For three devils, no less. I hope you know the victim deserves the advocacy more.

          1. This gets a “Wow. Just wow.” from you, but not the original comment? Nor the original post, which is far more shocking than anything Antinous could have said?

            This is, in fact, your only comment in this thread.

            Wow. Just wow.

          2. How’s this:

            it is the ability to dehumanize another person which allows things like rape or exploitation, or for that matter, large scale things like genocide or slavery to happen in the first place.

            Treat a woman like a human being with her own free will, and rape is out of the question. Treat a victim like a human being with fears and pain, and there’s no excuse to exploit them for ratings. Treat people who disagree with you like human beings with their own experiences, opinions, and reasoning, and there’s a chance that you can understand why they think the way they do, even if you think it’s wrong.

            Once you decide that they are in fact, not a person, but an object to be used, a story to get ratings, or an evil force to be beaten, then there’s simply no good reason not to have your way with them and throw them out when you’re done.

            While it is certainly far less consequential to insult the author of a post on the internet than it is to ethnically cleanse a nation, it is in fact, the same principle at work. It makes no difference whether the object in question is a “good” person or a “bad” person- In fact, I would argue that it is MORE important to consider the humanity of a “bad” person. Once we deny another’s humanity, we lose our own, and can justify any transgression against them.

            Finally, while we can still uphold justice, up to and including the death penalty, even a guilty man deserves someone to speak on his behalf at a fair trial before a jury of his peers. It is only by asking openly whether they were not responsible, were in fact justified- that we can be truly sure if they are not, and see that justice is done.

            The devil’s advocate isn’t evil, they are the living embodiment of the burden of proof, and there is no justice without them.

          3. @boingboing-d3101293897e0f726ece7ea524c4440e:disqus 

            The devil’s advocate isn’t evil, they are the living embodiment of the burden of proof, and there is no justice without them.

            What a bunch of nonsensical word salad, but thanks for the mansplain, dude!  I mean, as a woman who has been raped, I had NO IDEA that a man trying to argue from the point of the RAPIST deserved oh so much validated attention!

            I mean, clearly, next time someone comes in being the devil’s advocate and Just Asking Questions about why oh why we *don’t* pay attention to what the victim was wearing or doing and maybe she’s lying?! and what about the boys who raped her? what about their “ruined” lives?… yep!

            I’m totally going to give a shit about them!!!

            No. Wait. As a rape survivor? FUCK THAT.SHIT The Devil’s Advocate when it comes to rape is already getting way more attention than the victim.  In every fucking case.  Did you even read the original post which you are commenting on? That is the evil devil’s advocate you are advocating for RIGHT THERE.  Oh, those poor boys!  I’m just playing the devil’s advocate. What about those poor boys and THEIR ruined lives?

            Excuse me while I ignore the absolutely saturated level of “devil’s advocate” in favor of ADVOCATING FOR THE VICTIM for a fucking change.But thanks for advocating for the rape apologists.  Because clearly they aren’t getting enough support, amiright?

          4. @boingboing-d3101293897e0f726ece7ea524c4440e:disqus 

            I think this is my favorite fucking part:

            Finally, while we can still uphold justice,

            You seem to be arguing from the angle that rape victims get justice, like, on any kind of regular basis, which is so untrue as to be fucking laughable.

            You seem to be arguing from the angle that life is fair, and that everyone gets a fair shot.

            You seem to be arguing from the angle that when a rape case goes before a trial, the actual accused is on trial, instead of the rape victim.  Which is so untrue as to be fucking laughable.

            Hey, I’m going to sit here in reality, where the “Devil’s Advocate” already gets way more attention than it fucking deserves.

            The devil already has a voice. A loud voice.

            And that voice ALMOST ALWAYS gets heard, and believed, and trusted, while the voice of the victim is drowned out.

            And hey!  Surprise surprise!  Here we are again, talking about the Devil’s Advocate — instead of the victim. You’ve now made two comments and, SHOCK! the focus is not on the victim but rather on the accused. You are focusing on the fail trial THEY deserve. As if their words aren’t already believed more than the victim. You completely ignore the fucking fact that their IS no fair trial because the Devil’s Advocate is the one that will be believed. Not the victim. The victim doesn’t have a CHANCE to get a fair trial.

            We’re talking about how the accursed rapist deserves a fair trail.
            Not one word about how the VICTIM deserves a fair trial.
            How *unusual*, huh?

            Yeah, this isn’t a new discussion.  At all.

            Fuck the Devil’s Advocate.  THE PROBLEM is that the Devil gets way too much attention as it is.

            The post you fucking on that is just yet MORE proof yet you waltz in here acting as if the devil has no voice.

            Fuck the devil.

    5. Any reputable news organization tries to balance so-called public “right to know” with things like “basic right to privacy.” The identity of the victim in this case does not contribute any important information to the public discourse, so there is no rationale for any journalist to repeat it.

    1. If it was a military secret, it would depend on whether it was leaked by someone who was acting in the public interest or “leaked” by someone who was acting in their political interest. If the former, you get years of solitary, trial optional. If the latter, you get a promotion and/or a book contract.

    2. You mean if the “military secret” was a woman who had been raped while in the military, to make the analogy even more relevant?

      It probably wouldn’t have ever ended up on trial.  It would have remained a secret.  No heads would have rolled.

      Happens every day.

  9. After hearing CNN tearfully mourn the fact that justice had done its job for once- very leniently at that- nothing shocks me anymore.

    This whole case has brought out so many unsettling truths about society, it’s just plain scary. At least, the fact that the petition has now over 150,000 signatures and that CNN’s FB page is flooded with angry comments gives me some measure of hope.

    1. “After hearing CNN tearfully mourn the fact that justice had done its job for once- very leniently at that- nothing shocks me anymore.”

      38-year-old here. 20 years of post-high-school adulthood.  When it comes to athletes, nothing shocks me.  We have athletes and celebrities who not only get away with rape, but with murder, animal fights, illegal drug use, violence, you name it.  America’s culture is sick when it comes to the famous and jocks.  Things that send everyday people to prison tend to not touch these people.

      As an example, I know animal lovers who would literally whip someone for abusing a dog, who were nevertheless angry that Michael Vick had to face the music.Where I live, a good chunk of the population is below the poverty line.  We have schools that are literally falling in, 30 year old textbooks, NCLB threatening to close down schools if it weren’t for the lack of other schools to take the kids, and people join their school boards to protect sports.

      1. Yes, the extent of celebrity worship is just baffling.

        That said, I think the thing that puzzled me the most in this case was the friend who was the designated driver for the ‘rape crew’. He cared so much about drunk driving (rightfully so) that he argued for and stole the car keys from his buddy. However, when he walked upon the scene of a naked, passed-out girl being defiled by the same two friends, he just walked away because it was some sort of ‘grey area’ to him.

        It put in perspective how our society can be fairly successful at teaching some rules about proper behaviour (“Friends don’t let friends drive drunk”) but fail at the same time to teach actual empathy (“If I were this person, would I want to be treated this way?”). This guy faithfully respected the rule about drunk driving but could not empathize with the girl’s awful situation, or at least not enough to actually react. He obviously had the will and capacity to stand up to his buddy; he had done it moments before for the car keys, so it wasn’t a case of a guy not being able to stand up to his ‘bros’. It was a case of him being completely unable to relate to the girl’s predicament. That really stands out to me somehow. This is scarier to me than two completely out-of-control morons: a seemingly responsible, sober individual who can’t even identify rape when he sees it.

        1. Very insightful comment! Society has changed how it deals with Drunk Driving. MADD and a lot of work from people affected. Can the same be done for rape? I believe it can.

          1. I think it’s possible, but let’s not lose sight of the fact that it took MADD approximately 30 years to fully ingrain their goals into our culture.  I’d be worth the wait, though, even if it takes 100 years.  Rape culture is a global evil that impedes human progress.

      2. 38-year-old here. 20 years of post-high-school adulthood.  When it comes to athletes, nothing shocks me.

        During the Paterno scandal there were several people commenting on this very site opining that it was a terrible shame that the coach was being asked to retire over abetting acts of child rape… because he had a real chance at bringing his football team to the Rose Bowl that year.

  10. After spending the last couple of days dealing with some of the worst victim-blaming I’ve seen, from the media and from people I thought I respected, including close friends, I have to say, with utmost sincerity:

    Thank you to the BoingBoing community — both to the staff and to the regular commenters.

    Thank you.  Thank you for your sanity and, as a woman, your respect.  You surprised me again today (maybe I’m more cynical than I think I am…). You are fucking awesome.

    This shit reported here, not so much, but I can’t focus on that right now.

    1. Yeah, it has really become too much for me. I kind of shuddered when I saw this here. Already the girl has had threats against her.

      I hate this world. I hate being a woman. I’m glad I don’t have children. If they outlaw contraception and abortion in my state I’ll probably burn myself in protest. Why not? In another six months my state government probably would try me as a witch anyway.

      But yeah, nice to see some people who are… decent.

  11. Can’t there be something done for the girl and her family. You know, supportive, and cool. Why can’t all of us donate to send her and her family to Disneyland or something. Just a small token to tell them we support them? To give her a bright spot in all this? To get her out of that fucked up town for a bit. 

    I have no idea how a teen can deal with all this. It’s just horrific the levels of victim blaming, and publicity. 

    1. It’s a tricky question. “Hey, we all felt so bad you got raped that we bought you a ticket to Disneyland” could just as easily seem flippant and out-of-touch.

      1. How about a college scholarship fund? Since her name is in the media she’d have nothing to lose by accepting the money. And why not start a fund to get one girl a year out of that town, or a lesser amount of money to help 5-10? Image the shame and embarrassment to their community that people around the world donate money to get young women out of there.

        1. We don’t yet know if she wants to leave and it would be presumptuous for us to assume so. Maybe she has friends and family in that town that she loves dearly and doesn’t want to abandon just because there are others in the town who are horrible human beings.

          I just hope that any public effort to help the young woman heal from this horrific event takes into account the family’s understandable desire for whatever measure of privacy they can still get.

        2. I like this idea. I don’t like doing nothing. The world around this girl has exploded into a very ugly place. It would be nice to do something to show her there are people out here that don’t agree with the terrible things being said. I feel often silence means the screaming violent voices carry more weight. I don’t want that to be true. 

          1. Maybe a donation in her name honor to a women’s advocacy/services organization? The scholarship might be a good idea if there is a way to ensure she doesn’t get any additional unwanted publicity. In any case I’d try to get input from people who have been through similar ordeals.

      2. That’s possible. I am old, and out of touch, and have no idea who to comfort a 16 year old these days. I’m sure someone has a much better idea. 

        1. I guess I should amend my initial comment:

          “ONE of the best things you can do…”

          Thank you for sharing the link!

    2. What about an ‘it gets better’ -style video/photo series of everyone saying, ya’ know, ‘kudos’ in their own way?  It would respect her privacy but show support.

      The thing I keep thinking is that this whole thing has been seriously good for the country-we got to talking a lot about just how messed up rape culture is, and we got to see/hear a lot of people around us come out and defend the rapists, and I’m glad to know who the fuck they are.  And none of this conversation would have happened if she and her family hadn’t had the backbone to press charges and not drop them.  I would give money, too, but agree that there are issues with that.  

  12. I’d also love to help. If the BB management wanted to get something going I bet there’d be a sizeable response.

  13. I should point out that I have not listened to the full apology, but I noticed this quote:

    “I would truly like to apologize to [redacted], her family, my family and the community,” Mays said. “No picture should have been sent around, let alone even taken.”

    My first thought was “Is he really apologizing for the taking pictures part and not the rape part?!”  I realize that he must have said more after the above, but the quote does give the impression that that was the first thing he thought he should apologize for.

    Slightly related, but something that people might find worthwhile to read:  It discusses how the line of thought that the victim could be your wife/sister/daughter/etc is rather dehumanizing.

  14. The reports I’ve been reading are saying that the police plan on going after more people, like possibly people who witnessed it and did nothing, or people who knew about it and said nothing to authorities.  Hell even the football coach knew about it (suspended them for a game).  That coach should go down as hard as Paterno did if he had any inkling of what his star players were guilty of.  As far as I’m concerned they should punish the football program of that school if the coach knew and did nothing.  Dismantle it just like they did Penn State.  See how that community implodes without their precious Football.

    And everyone should read this account from the woman who exposed this whole thing.  She deserves a freaking medal!

  15. I haven’t been following the news of this case, so I’ve really just got this post to comment on. Isn’t it possible that rather than this being about showing sympathy for the rapists, it’s another example of needing to fill the 24 hour news machine with any possible information? They’ve gone through the case itself and the effect that the rape had on the woman, but there’s only so far you can go with that angle before it becomes old news. You also can’t just keep interviewing the victim for up to the minute accounts of how she’s putting her life back together (and you can’t stop talking about it until people lose interest), so you’ve got to get to the human side of the story in some other way. There seems to be a lot of emotion going on in the courtroom, so why not report on that? After all, being convicted as a sex offender is going to ruin your life too, you know…

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