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The Onion’s SportsDome Did CNN’s Absurd Rape Apology Coverage First

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Slade Sohmer

By Slade Sohmer on March 17, 2013

When a girl passes out, having had far too much to drink, the worst case scenario should be mild embarrassment, a wicked hangover and an outfit stained with vomit. Sexual assault, it shouldn’t have to be said in an era of issue hyper-awareness, is unacceptable human behavior. If you do it, no matter how much you have going on in your lives, no matter how much promise you have, no matter whether your school district and community has failed to teach you what constitutes rape, you will suffer the consequences.

Unless you’re a sharp-looking local athlete. Then, well, we should all feel sorry for you, for you too are also a victim in this mess. That’s the takeaway from CNN, the most trusted name in rape-apology-disguised-as-ratings, which aired how terrible it feels that two beloved high school football players were convicted on Sunday in a heavily publicized rape case in Steubenville, Ohio.

Trent Mays, Ma'lik Richmond
AP Photo/Keith Srakocic

Trent Mays, 17, and Ma’lik Richmond, 16, were found guilty of raping a 16-year-old girl at a series of parties in 2012, a case that launched 100,000 blog posts about rape culture in the United States. Before even mentioning the victim in this clip, CNN’s Poppy Harlow, Paul Callan and Candy Crowley spent six minutes wistfully lamenting the boys’ lost future.

(Go read Gawker’s Mallory Ortberg for more on CNN’s appalling coverage.)

The craziest part of CNN’s crazy coverage? The Onion’s SportsDome, which ran on Comedy Central, published a piece in 2011 that perfectly predicted this bizarre CNN segment. Watch “College Basketball Star Heroically Overcomes Tragic Rape He Committed” and check out how incredibly close this is in message to what CNN was airing on Sunday.

That is eerily prescient. Almost too prescient.

This isn’t the first time The Onion has absurdly been way out in front of a sad story. Compare its May 2012 article about the NRA’s tone-deafness with the NRA’s actual statement following Sandy Hook in December 2012.

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