Creating a Bias: Poor Journalism

The following is from an article reporting rape allegations against Derrick Rose with the comment “Do you believe her?”:

“Despite all of the knee injuries, it could be these latest allegations that finally do in Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose.

According to TMZ, Rose and two of his friends are being sued for allegedly drugging and gang raping a girl who dated the former NBA MVP from 2011 to 2013. The unnamed woman also alleged that, during their time together, Rose tried to get her to masturbate in front of him as well as allow him to have sex with her friends and strangers. Despite her unwillingness to accept those terms, the two continued to date.

It all came to a boiling point when, in August of 2013, Rose, Ryan Allen and Randall Hampton (Rose’s personal manager) drugged her while she was at Rose’s residence. Although she escaped their initial attempt to take advantage of her, they went to her apartment and gang raped her after her friend took her home.

TMZ’s report claims that the girl waited so long to file the suit because she was “ashamed and embarrassed.”

If this is true, it could mean the end of Rose’s playing days in the NBA — and possible jail time for the three defendants. It could very well be another disgraceful example of athletes thinking their above the law, and above the free will of women.

Stay tuned as the situation develops.”

Not only is this article heavily laced with bias, sexism, and the ever-present tones of rape culture, but the writing is poor and grammatically incorrect. This is journalism folks. This is what helps to form our thoughts and opinions of the world.

Starting it off with “do you believe her?” really sets the tone for this article, doesn’t it? Let’s not put the focus on the man. Let’s not question the serious lack of responsibility or respect this man carries for himself and others, or whether or not he’s guilty. No, let’s instead focus on whether or not this woman is lying – the central focus in so many rape allegations. This is such an antiquated position to hold as a journalist. This single statement sets the stage for the article and makes it less about reporting facts and more about answering that question. Rape victims rarely report out of fear and judgment. This article alone is a clear example that when a woman says that she has been raped, she’s questioned instead of the alleged rapist. Quite similar to how our justice system approaches rape as well.

Notice the emphasis placed on the fact that the woman dated the guy for 2 years, followed by “during their time together”, and that “despite her unwillingness to accept those terms, the two continued to date”. Let’s break this down. A man and a woman are dating. The man asks the woman if she will masturbate in front of him and if he can have sex with her friends and others, she says no, they keep dating. How is this a problem? I know that many couples have had conversations about their sex lives as they learn each other’s boundaries, and some agree to having open relationships. For me, this is irrelevant information aside from attempting to contribute to the popular belief that rape cannot happen when two people are in a relationship. Newsflash, statistics prove that most rapes are committed by someone the victim knew.

The only sentence that has any relevance in this paragraph is, “Rose and two of his friends are being sued for allegedly drugging and gang raping a girl”, though I would replace girl with woman. By using girl, you minimize the situation by trying to manipulate the reader into believing that she is young, naïve, silly. You know, all of those really sexist ideas that go along with being a young, sexually active female.

The next paragraph is the most startling to me. This woman was drugged by her boyfriend and his manager. When she left, they went to her apartment and gang raped her. How incredibly terrifying and traumatic this experience must have been? Unfortunately, the journalist continues to lack any compassion, empathy, or intelligence and follows this paragraph with why the woman did not report the assault. He quotes that the woman felt ashamed and embarrassed – yes, exactly how many rape victims feel. Shame and guilt are the two most difficult emotions to battle after being raped or sexually assaulted. So much of the blame is put on you, the victim, in that you shouldn’t have been so naïve, you should have known better, you should have done something, you should have left sooner, you should have said something right away, etc. We live in a society that continuously and consistently blames assault and rape victims. The blame multiplies when you allege claims against a man who is a public figure, a celebrity, or wealthy. You are seen as someone starving for attention, or a jealous ex-lover. Then, people feel sympathy for him for being “wrongfully accused by some gold digger”. These are the mentalities that need to be obliterated in our society. Perhaps then victims would not wait before coming forward.

Now the last paragraph which says, “If this is true, it could mean the end of Rose’s playing days in the NBA — and possible jail time for the three defendants. It could very well be another disgraceful example of athletes thinking their above the law, and above the free will of women.”. The relevance  here is subdued by poor grammar. Come on, the only thing you say in the entire article that is actually positive and a reflection of the crisis in our society is plagued by a spelling error? Slow clap on that one. But alas, the paragraph is still plagued with other problems. Athletes thinking they’re above the free will of women, yes, sure, that’s a problem. What’s more concerning here are the men who treat women as if they are a sexual object that has zero rights and that he can dominate. That’s the problem. Women are people; human beings who have rights and deserve to be treated equally.

Read any statistic on the RAINN.org website. There you can see the factual evidence of what happens when a woman alleges rape. If you had a 10% chance at surviving a situation, would you dive into it? Probably not. The pain, emotionally, physically, and mentally, are pushed to their limits when you come forward. It’s unfair, but it’s reality. Articles like this perpetuate the problematic positions posed against victims. They skew the content, forcing the reader to answer the question as to whether or not the woman is truthful instead of focusing on the horrific details of a rape. Most people will tell you they turn away or cover their eyes when they see a graphic rape scene in a movie. We need to stop turning our eyes. Rape is real and all too common.

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