Missouri TV Station Describes Rape Victims As ‘Controversial Characters’

A local NBC affiliate in Missouri took issue with Sen. Claire McCaskill’s (D-MO) new ads attacking Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO)’s “legitimate rape” remarks and his voting record. The campaign commercials “featured three Republican women who said they were rape victims and criticized Mr. Akin for his opposition to allowing sexual assault victims to have access to emergency contraception.”

An anchor on KOMU’s 5:00 PM news misquoted the women, described them as “controversial characters,” and falsely stated that they were “speaking out against McCaskill.” The network’s somewhat frustrated 10:00 PM anchor later apologized for the “errors”:

We have a number of corrections tonight for a story in our 5 o’clock news. The story focused on three new ads from Senator Claire McCaskill aimed at opponent todd akin’s remarks about rape. We incorrectly said there was one ad. We mistakenly said the ads featured two women speaking out against McCaskill. The ads actually feature three women — all survivors of sexual assault — and they were speaking on behalf of McCaskill. Also, a reading error lead to a misquote of one of the women in the ad, who actually said “I’m a pro-life mother and a survivor of an extremely violent sexual assault. As a woman of faith, I must forgive Todd Akin. But as a voter, it’s not something I can forget.” And finally, the McCaskill camp objected to our use of the phrase “controversial characters” when refering to the women in the ads. We apoloigize for that characterization and the errors.

Watch it:

A woman named Diana also says, “In the hospital I was offered emergency contraception. Because of my personal beliefs, I declined. Here’s what else I believe: no woman should be denied that choice.” Rachel adds: “At the worst moment of her life, no woman should be denied that choice,” she said. “What Todd Akin said was troubling enough, but it’s what he believes that’s worse.”


Akin made his “legitimate rape” comments in August, and has since said that he misplaced the word “legitimate.” He explained that he meant to argue that women sometimes lie about being raped.