CNN is coming under heavy fire for its appalling coverage of the Steubenville rape trial over the weekend in which the network was outrageously sympathetic to the two teen athletes who were convicted of raping a 16-year-old girl.
“Incredibly 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 believe their life fell apart,” reporter Poppy Harlow said after the verdict was handed down Sunday.
Anchor Candy Crowley then turned it over to legal contributor Paul Callan, asking him about the lasting effects on the lives of the two young men who had just been found guilty.
CNN’s reporting of the breaking news event was so bad it led to this Change.org petition that accuses the cable channel of sympathizing with the convicted rapists. The petition has already gotten 75,000 signatures.
Even more telling about the network’s coverage is that it’s garnering comparisons to a segment that aired two years ago on The Onion’s short-lived Comedy Central sports news satire program “Sportsdome.”
The story, titled “Athlete Overcomes Rape,” was posted to YouTube on Sunday by writer Krister Johnson. “This is one of the stories we did. ... It could have been produced by the CNN team covering the Steubenville rape verdict,” Johnson wrote.
You can watch both videos below. They are clearly labeled by network so there’s no confusion whether you’re watching CNN or The Onion.