Duke rape case overcovered

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The crime of rape is hideous, sick, sinful and just plain wrong. I don’t care how you look at it – rape is by far one of the worst crimes a man, or woman, can commit. The victim usually feels extreme emotional and physical anguish for a very long time afterward. To say rape is bad would be an understatement.

Right now, the United States is smack dab in the middle of a turbulent rape case. Accusations are flying, names have been released by the media (which typically refrains from releasing the name of the alleged victim), and tears have been shed. That’s right, I’m talking about none other than the Duke men’s lacrosse team rape scandal. This case has sharply polarized the United States, as some people believe the alleged rapists are racist and raped the woman because she was Black, while others believe the victim is your typical money-seeking opportunist.

For the uninformed (which by the way, you really should follow the news as it’s important to stay up-to-date), a Black stripper who was performing at the Duke men’s lacrosse team’s after party, told police she was brutally raped by three White team members. The media caught wind of this story and went to town . No one really knows the whole story and it is very doubtful anyone ever will, save the parties involved.

I have been following this story, as I’m always curious to see how the media spins a story like this.

The really amazing thing about this story is that the media has practically tried these men and found them guilty. Because of the overexposure these men are receiving, it is doubtful they will get a fair, unbiased trial anywhere.

I was watching a news station, which dedicated no less than 30 minutes to this story. The channel was blatantly accusing the men of raping the girl. In fact, the channel even went so far as to indirectly call the rape a hate crime. They had the Rev. Jesse Jackson interviewed, who said the men had always secretly lusted after having sex with a black woman. I guess the Reverend has telepathic abilities and knows what the men are thinking. The station also interviewed several other people who implied the same thing.

However, only twice in the entire segment did the channel present two interviews from people who said the boys did not rape the woman. Those interviews were short and far between.

What bothers me the most about this story is that the media is spinning it negatively for the alleged rapists when no actual trial has occurred. Pretty much some news disseminators are telling the public how to think about this story and are affecting the chances of the men getting a fair trial.

In all, the media has the responsibility of dispensing news in what they believe is balanced. But we, the news consumers, also have the responsibility to be news savvy. This means before we take what the media have to say at face value and throw a hissy-fit, let’s do our own research and make decisions for ourselves to see how truthful or fair the coverage is. Blindly following what everyone else is telling you is just plain ignorant.

There is still quite a bit of information that will come from this case in the coming months. I look forward to seeing how this case plays out.

I’m not making any decisions yet about the alleged rape – I still feel too ill-informed to make a final decision about this issue. But I am willing to listen attentively to every side of the case before I make my decision, rather than just saying these men are guilty.