As expected, the Internet lit up after the judge announced the guilty verdict in the Steubenville rape trial. As expected, some reactions were just awful. Unexpectedly, one of them came from CNN.
Candy Crowley probably didn't mean to steal the spotlight on Sunday afternoon, when she reported on the breaking news from the Steubenville courtroom where Trent Mays and Ma'lik Richmond had just been found guilty. After the verdict came in, the CNN anchor turned to correspondent Poppy Harlow, who expressed some strange mixture of emotions. "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 believed their lives fell apart," said Harlow. Crowley turned to legal expert Paul Callan, who sounded almost apologetic when explaining how the rape conviction will mean that the Steubenville rapists will now be registered sex offenders and how that "will haunt them for the rest of their lives." None of these things said were untrue. But the tone was certainly a little off.
The segment, in general, didn't do CNN any favors. While they're not necessarily rooting for the rapists, even the slightest bit of sympathy didn't go over well, especially once it was lumped together with all of the outrageously offensive reactions of true Steubenville rapist sympathizers. Sarcastic example tweet: "The Steubenville story is all too familiar. Be responsible for your actions ladies before your drunken decisions ruin innocent lives." Sincere example tweet: "So you got drunk at a party and two people take advantage of you,that's not rape you're just a loose drunk slut." Of course, cases like the Steubenville rape trial can be polarizing, and we've long known how distorted some notions of justice can be.