GMA's Coverage of the Vanderbilt Rape Case Is Hot Buttered Garbage


Alt Headline: Hey, Good Morning America: What the Fuck Is This Shit?

On Tuesday morning, ABC’s flagship morning show devoted five minutes of airtime to covering the trial of Brandon Vandenburg and Cory Batey, two of the four ex-Vanderbilt football players charged with gang raping a fellow student while she was passed out. The woman, a 21-year-old neuroscience major (who today the Associated Press referred to, bizarrely, as “an unconscious coed“) was allegedly raped by Vandenberg and penetrated by “random objects” wielded by the other three men as Vandenberg filmed and took pictures with his cell phone. She was unconscious for the entire ordeal, and only realized what had been done to her when she heard about the photos and video. It’s a horrible story characterized by horrible details and horribly idiotic statements by the players’ defense. It’s a story news outlets should exhibit the utmost sensitivity in covering.

By that token, GMA‘s attempt fell short. Here’s a transcript of the bit that hit a sour note, so you kids can sing along at home:

The defense says everyone made mistakes that night, even that victim.
“She drank quite a lot of alcohol.”
Beatty’s lawyer claiming it’s the college culture of sex and binge drinking that put his client in this situation.
“From social media, that came in the way of television shows that glamorize and promote sexual activity…”

It’s an attorney’s job to provide her client with the best possible legal defense, so it’s no shock that those attorneys who defend accused rapists have to say some pretty batty-sounding shit, and GMA wasn’t wrong to report the battiness. But, like, bruh. This needs to be more carefully couched, or risk sounding violently tone deaf.

Even Robin Roberts’s dripping incredulity and legal analyst Dan Abrams jumping in after the segment aired and clarifying that the defense is “not a real defense” couldn’t get its bad taste out of our mouths. Do better.

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