Dear media, and everyone: Rape is bad. Even when promising young football players do it.

So yesterday was a shitty day for the media.

A CNN anchor and reporter lamented the loss of potential of the two convicted rapists in the Stuebenville rape case. FOX and CNN managed to leak the first name of the victim in their footage.

If you don’t remember, the boys were sentenced yesterday because they repeatedly raped a 16-year-old girl at a party and then left a trail of evidence in the form of tweets, texts, Instagram photos and a 12-minute YouTube video.

I just had to add that in, in case you forgot, because apparently some of the talking heads on TV just couldn’t fucking remember.

Let’s go to Lester Holt: “In many ways, tonight stands as a cautionary tale to a generation that has come of age in the era of social networking.” (Not against rapists, or rape)

And Candy Crowley: I cannot imagine, watching (the boys’ sentencing) on the feed, how emotional that must have been in the courtroom” (for the convicted rapists and their families)

And Poppy Harlow: “It was incredibly difficult even for an outsider like me to watch what happened as these two young men had such promising futures – star football players, very good students –– we literally watched as they believe their lives fell apart.”

This is on top of media coverage that has already given a hearty dose of speculation in this case, despite the widely shared evidence. USA Today did a nice job of explaining just how much the victim had changed her story and how drunkity drunk she was.

This media bullshit illuminates two glaring problems that just won’t go away:

1) The belief that a woman can “ask for it”
She was drunk, so she clearly asked for it. She blacked out, so she asked for it. What was she wearing? Must have been slutty: she asked for it. Girls, don’t look hot, ever! And especially not while drinking! It’s probably a good idea to cover yourself completely and never go out of the house so you can totally avoid being a walking target. Women do that in some countries, you know. They are covered head to toe (in this snazzy thing called a “burqa”) and they never leave the house unattended. Good idea!

2) The belief that football = GOD
Football is a game. A GAME. Like badminton, or Monopoly. In the game of football, a funny-shaped object gets moved from one end of a long field to another in a slow and violent fashion. And unlike badminton, or Monopoly, entire careers and towns and even an industry are built around the game of football. What the newscasters are lamenting is the fact that these boys, now labeled convicted rapists, won’t becomes titans of an industry built around a silly game.

The best take I’ve read on it yet? From Slate: “A system that takes rapists out of the running for certain opportunities…is a system that is WORKING. After the Penn State scandal, you’d think people would understand the importance of keeping sexual predators out of positions of power.”

The best responses to Todd Akin’s ‘legitimate rape’ bullshit

Don’t you just love when politicians say they “misspoke”? Like, wouldn’t it be better just to say they had a stroke or were drinking?

For example, take this “misspoken” gem: “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try and shut that whole thing down,” said current rep in the U.S. Effing House of Representatives Todd Akin as he tried to defend his stance on abortion to a TV station. If I were his PR rep I’d blame the booze.

Akin’s suffered a lot of political setbacks in his Senate race since then––namely huge financial setbacks as GOP funders run away screaming, but dude’s digging in his heels, refusing to quit and instead offering some lame apology to the people (but none to Science, Biology, or FACTS).

Here are some of the best, definitely not misspoken responses since then:

President Obama: “Rape is rape. The idea that we should be parsing and qualifying and slicing what types of rape we’re talking about doesn’t make sense to the American people and certainly doesn’t make sense to me… We shouldn’t have a bunch of politicians, the majority of whom are men, making healthcare decisions on behalf of women.” (Washington Post)

Wall Street Journal Editorial: “Mr. Akin has sunk his own ship.” (WSJ.com)

Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass.: “As a husband and father of two young women, I found Todd Akin’s comments about women and rape outrageous, inappropriate and wrong. There is no place in our public discourse for this type of offensive thinking. Not only should he apologize, but I believe Rep. Akin’s statement was so far out of bounds that he should resign the nomination for U.S. Senate in Missouri.” (ABC)

A DOCTOR: “A further problem with proclamations like Akin’s, though, is what they sound like to women who have been raped. If you believe what he does, then anyone who did get pregnant wasn’t ‘legitimately’ raped. Moreover, it belies a willful ignorance of science. Rape has occurred in history time and time again. Women get pregnant from it. This is known. There is no debate to be had. (CNN)

Katie J.M. Baker: “For decades, conservatives have claimed that women can’t get pregnant from ‘legitimate’ rape thanks to their wise, all-knowing uteri, psychic ‘juices’ and Spidey Sense-like ‘secretions.’ (Hmm, if legislators can applaud our vaginas for being so omniscient, how come they can’t let us control them?)” (Jezebel’s “Official Guide to Legitimate Rape”)

“Akin” himself: “I am an evil, fucked-up man who should never have been elected to the United States Congress, and anyone who would vote for me is probably a pretty big fucking dumbshit, too.” (The Onion)

–TC