It is happening again! We only just in February wrote about how mainstream media manage to find extenuation for crimes committed against women by focussing on the offenders’ fall from grace (as a direct result of their misdemeanours- one has to add) when they reported on the “golden boy” losing his “shine” referring to the fatal shooting of a woman by a former Olympic runner.
This time, it is the omnipresent CNN that managed to show sympathy with the offenders of a violent crime against a woman. Reporting on a judgement in a case of rape by two teenage offenders, a journalist decided to focus reporting on the smashed aspirations and dreams of the two teenagers who were convicted of raping a young girl somewhere in the USA.
CNN correspondent, Poppy Harlow, is reported to, after the conviction of a pair of gang rapists to have remarked that is was “(i)ncredibly difficult, even for an outsider like me, to watch what happened as these two young men that had such promising futures, star football players, very good students, literally watched as they believed their lives fell apart.” What is going on? The demise of these two came about as the direct consequence of their criminal violation of a young woman, whose life has been cruelly and ruthlessly disrupted because of these two scoundrels.
Where is the sympathy for this girl? Why could the journalist not unequivocally side with the victim in this story? Why not a categorical condemnation of their crime? What is this sympathising with the offenders?
To many of us – probably especially we living in the developing world, CNN – probably undeservedly – became a standard for journalistic and media ethics. We often try to emulate or to become like the big-brother reporters of that agency – and too often we are probably to ready to overlook
The media – especially highly influential media – does (well…) influence public and popularly-held opinion. In an apparently global social climate where women can so easily be blamed for being raped (she was drunk, she was naked, wrong place at the wrong time, whatever,) this type of reporting adds to the exoneration of criminals who commit crimes against women.
As usual, we will speak out against these conscious or unconscious transgressions against women and other marginalised persons and we want you to join us in expressing your chagrin whenever, where-ever they occur.