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CNN Under Fire for Coverage of Steubenville Rape Trial TVNewser, Huffington Post

CNN has drawn sharp criticism for its coverage of the rape trial in Steubenville, Ohio, with many calling it sympathetic to the two high school football players who were found guilty of raping a 16-year-old girl, reports TVNewser.

More than 100,000 people had signed a petition on Change.org as of this morning (Tuesday, March 19, 2013), demanding that the network "apologize on air for sympathizing with the Steubenville rapists."

According to the petition, CNN's "coverage of the Steubenville rape trial's verdict Sunday morning was a complete disgrace and a breach of journalistic ethics. To have three of your personalities blatantly portray the rapists as the victims in this situation while not so much as acknowledging the actual rape victim … is nothing short of disgusting."

CNN's coverage "appeared to be curiously weighted on Sunday, focusing on the effect the guilty verdict would have on the lives of the now-convicted rapists and their families, rather than that of the victim and her family," wrote The Huffington Post.

The Huffington Post’s report quotes CNN reporter Poppy Harlow saying during the coverage: "It was incredibly emotional, it was difficult for anyone in there to watch those boys break down. ... [It was] also difficult, of course, for the victim's family."