prof. e.

Mass Communication, [multi]media, methodology and much, much more!

The Steubenville Fallout Continues

Posted by prof e on March 28, 2013

The tragic events that took place in Steubenville, Ohio last August are still sending shockwaves through the media. The horrific event perpetrated by two 16-year-old males, while others stood by, resulted in their conviction on charges of rape and child pornography. The two boys might have gotten away with the crime had they not incriminated themselves with pictures, messages and videos shared via social media. Additional arrests of two juvenile girls last weeks resulted when they tweeted threats directed at the victim.

Social media also played a powerful role by focusing public attention on the events after local authorities were perceived as not aggressively pursuing the case. The hactivist group Anonymous got involved and threatened to “out” the personal information of all of those even remotely involved with the incident. Making personal information public, also known as “doxing” is a common tactic used by Anonymous to embarras those who are suspected of wrong-doing.

But the most recent outrage over the Steubenville case is being leveled at the cable news outlet CNN. Anchor Candy Crowley and reporter Poppy Harlow, in reporting the trial and verdict, were perceived as displaying more empathy for the young rapists than the victim. A petition demanding an apology already has nearly 300,000 signatures. Here’s the video so you can decide for yourself.

Clearly there have been several lives ruined by the actions, and inactions, of a great many people. While the two rapists deserve the brunt of the blame and the punishment, there’s plenty of blame to go around: for friends and family members who were passive when they should have been proactive; for the local community and high school that allowed teens to party with alcohol; for an absent father who admitted that he, “wasn’t there for [his] son”; and for the sex-obsessed culture that devalues women and fuels misogynistic behavior by teen males.

And here’s something to consider. If the party that August night resembled something that the teens might have seen on Jersey Shore or Buckwild, does MTV share in the blame?


2 Responses to “The Steubenville Fallout Continues”

  1. Michael said

    Why was this story, tragic as it was, even national news? Why was the story about the photo journalist who snapped photo’s of a man’s murder when he was tossed onto railroad tracks and left to die national news? The answer to these questions is so painfully simple it’s frightening. This culture is cannibalizing itself. Indeed, the zombie metaphor is apt as applied to American media consumption trends. The media system itself is a delivery vehicle for the virus, but it didn’t have to be this way. We can thank president Clinton for the media consolidation which created the dividing wall between the two classes in this country. Inside that wall are the elites who get to decide access based on the exploitable entertainment value of hopeful proletariat entrants. These simple serfs are given try out opportunities with shows like Jersey Shore and Buckwild because they’re still young and capable of generating wealth, but not their own of course – someone else’s. If the faux personalities are raucous or cutesie enough to be made marketable and profitable, then the knaves may just be granted a pass beyond the dividing wall. But the pass and access is usually temporary.

    Underclass anguish is entertainment fodder for a media system that serves the corporate elite. If the media aren’t covering prince William and Kate’s baby bumb, they’re covering the social depravity of the middle and lower class lifestyle. Neither have any bearing on the true state of national affairs with which citizens should be concerned and upon which national news ought be focused, but that’s the point. When the attorney general or his deputies publicly announce that although there are grounds to prosecute white collar criminals involved in alleged multi-billion dollar financial fraud but that to do so might cause “disruption” and genuine national consequence, the media will bury such a story with a segment about that adorable little piglet Honey Boo-Boo and her hog-faced, mouth-breathing idiot mother.

    It’s game over, folks. But do remember the right we still have to languish in free speech.

    An oldie but a goodie!

  2. Rosa Ramos said

    Cases like these happen all the time due to the carelessness of young kids. I understand the sympathy that is seen for the two boys in the report but it is also hard to say that it was their only their fault. Obviously the girl was not doing the correct things as well if she was underage and drinking. I do agree that the girl however couldn’t have done much to prevent this from happening if she was intoxicated.
    I think shows that MTV airs and movies like “Project X” all contribute to young kids trying to have fun and a lot of times incidents like these occur because of the lack of supervision from parents.
    In his book Turow says, “What you have learned here and what you learn in the future may well affect how you relate the media to yourself, how you introduce your children to different media and what you tell parents who ask your opinion on how to think about the media’s consequences for their children.”(147)
    I think it is safe to say that Turow explains exactly how media can affect and cause certain cases like the one of these two males and female. Today kids and teenagers are exposed to a lot more stuff than before and parents can not regulate everything they watch and do. If media becomes their main source to get information and their parents start to fail, then media will make them make different choices and possibly put their lives at risk.

    Turow, Joseph. Media Today: An Introduction to Mass Communication. 4th ed. New York: Routledge, 2011. Print.

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