UPDATE: It turns out MSNBC and CNN also did not bleep out the victim’s name when showing clips of Trent Mays’ statement in court yesterday. I’ve changed the title of the post to reflect that and my ire at Fox News in the text below is now directed at them as well. Additionally, I have pulled the video from my previous post about CNN for the time being, as I believe at one point in the eight minute segment, you can hear Mays use her name. I’ll try to replace the video with a version where her name is bleeped out ASAP.
To quote my good friend Ice T, Fox News can eat a hot bowl of dicks. The conservative news network has rightfully come under fire today for airing the name of the accuser in the Steubenville rape case, which concluded yesterday with a guilty verdict for both of young men accused. During yesterday’s sentencing, both Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond were given the opportunity to apologize and plead for leniency. “I would truly like to apologize to [redacted], her family, my family and the community. No picture [of the rape] should have been sent around, let alone even taken.” Those who were watching the proceedings on the live feed could hear the name, but TV news networks are typically expected to bleep out a rape victim’s name, as it is considered journalistically unethical to reveal the identity of those who have come forward with sexual abuse and assault allegations, given the stigma associated with such crimes. This is particularly true when the accuser is a minor, as Jane Doe in the Steubenville case is. Print news outlets have followed the same protocol.
Yet in a segment today, Fox News [UPDATE: And CNN and MSNBC] showed Mays’ apology and did not bleep out the victim’s name. Jane Doe has already been the target of harassment in her community — revealing her identity on national news opens her and her family up to further harassment and threats. It is absolutely unconscionable that Fox News would expose Jane Doe’s identity, adding further injury to what has already been a deeply traumatic experience, one that the teen has faced with more bravery than I could imagine.
What’s more, an AP story on the trial that ran on FoxNews.com had the the accusers’ names edited out. And editor’s note at the end of the piece read, “The Associated Press named the minors charged due to the fact they have been identified in other news coverage and their names were used in open court. FoxNews.com will not name the defendants.” That Fox News showed such undue respect to these convicted rapists, and then felt free to destroy the privacy of their accuser, is reprehensible. [Alternet]