No, it doesn’t surprise me at all that Alaska has the highest rate of rape in the country. That makes a lot of sense, especially after reading this CNN story about it. Since I’ve never particularly contemplated rape as a state-by-state phenomenon, perhaps no state would surprise me as far as rape statistics. Maine is 25th; that surprising?

So yeah, CNN, your tweet promoting the Alaska rape story accomplished three things: 1) it trivialized a serious story; 2) raised questions about whether CNN checks Twitter feedback; and 3) provides a disincentive to actually check out a story on which CNN spent significant resources.

Nor did the reason for the stabbing of a an 11-year-old in Illinois last month “shock” me, as CNN promised in another ill-advised teaser tweet.

Of all the news outlets to traffic in schlocky shock-and-surprise tactics, CNN has been around since 1980 and covers the world in all of its complexity and unpredictability. If it hasn’t told its social media team that news consumers aren’t easily shocked or surprised, it should get word over there. And if it has told the social media team that even when the news is surprising, it shouldn’t cheese-up the tweet, then it should get word over there.

 

Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.