CNN’s coverage of the Steubenville rape trial drew a lot of criticism, much of it focusing on reporter Poppy Harlow, who is reportedly "outraged" by the comments.
Earlier this week a judge found two teenage boys, Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond, guilty of raping a 16-year-old girl at a party last summer. During its coverage, CNN newscaster Candy Crowley interviewed reporter Harlow and asked about the emotions in the courtroom. Harlow responded:
“I’ve never experienced anything like it, Candy. It was incredibly emotional, 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, … When that sentence came down, Ma’lik collapsed in the arms of his attorney. … He said to him, 'My life is over. No one is going to want me now.’ Very serious crime here, both found guilty of raping the 16-year-old girl at a series of parties back in August. Alcohol-fueled parties; alcohol is a huge part in this.”
The controversy around CNN’s coverage sparked an online petition on Change.org demanding that CNN apologize. The petition has received more than 240,000 signatures.
Sources who spoke exclusively with The Wrap say the criticism has affected Harlow.
“Meanwhile two insiders at CNN exclusively told TheWrap that the controversy had hit reporter Poppy Harlow, covering the events in Steubenville, particularly hard.
‘Poppy is taking this extremely personally as a woman,’ said one executive. ‘She’s outraged that someone would think she’d do such a thing' as slant her coverage toward rapists. ‘It’s gotten so out of control.’”
Bob Fitzsimmons, who took the case pro bono, said the family wished for donations to go to the Madden House in Wheeling, an emergency shelter for women who are rebuilding their lives.
Follow Mary Ann Georgantopoulos on Twitter @marygeorgant