Is it possible or even conceivable to write, much less publish, a sympathetic story about a convicted serial rapist? Vox-owned sports news site SB Nation learned the hard way that it is not.
In fact, the news site has quickly unpublished a story by Jeff Arnold about Daniel Holtzclaw, the former football player turned cop turned prison inmate because it was, according to SB Nation editorial director Spencer Hall, “tone-deaf, insensitive to the victims of sexual assault and rape, and wrongheaded in approach and execution.”
Hall concluded that the article on Holtzclaw was “a complete failure.”
In January, Holtzclaw was sentenced to 263 years in prison for the convictions related to rape while he was on duty as an Oklahoma City police officer. He was found guilty of 18 of 36 counts against him, including four counts of rape.
In an editor’s note, SB Nation’s Hall called the story “a complete breakdown of a part of the editorial process at SB Nation,” noting that “senior editorial staff” didn’t want the story published.
Hall said the site deleted the story and confirmed it didn’t meet Vox Media’s or SB Nation’s standards.
“We’re reviewing all of our processes in light of this failure,” Hall added. “There are a lot of them, and I promise to talk in detail about them publicly while we work through all of them.”
According to sports news site Deadspin, the 12,000-word article was published for about five hours.
The article seemingly sympathized with Holtzclaw, skipped over Holtzclaw’s convictions for rape and assault and presents a positive picture of Holtzclaw, Deadspin said.
Read a Cache of the article here.
iMediaEthics has written to SB Nation for more information.
Hat Tip: The Huffington Post Media Debrief