Friday, November 12, 2004

Go Away, John Stossel Dept.

Apparently, ABC's 20/20 is planning an investigation of Matthew Sheppard's murder that airs his killers' new claims that it was just a "mugging gone wrong." So what happened to the "gay panic" defense they used in their trials?

What's more, according to the NY Post:
The interviews apparently violate the plea agreements the two men signed at their sentencing. According to reports, the men agreed never to talk to the media about the case as part of the agreement that spared them the death penalty.

So what the holy hand grenade is going on here?

ABC News is totally irresponsible for giving these cold-hearted killers airtime on a subject that is not only no longer relevant to their cases (except in that it should result in further punishment for them), but can only whip anti-gay types into a furor over the "homosexual agenda" and the use of hate crime laws. Their claims that "Exploring and re-examining the facts around that murder in a very thoughtful and in-depth way is the very essence of responsible journalism," ring hollow. This is right wing yellow journalism at its most heinous. In masking their agenda by implying that they are just trying to give Aaron McKinney and Russell A. Henderson a voice - a voice which they could have used in their initial trials, if they didn't think the gay panic defense was more expedient - and expose some sort of Laramie "drug underground," they are just trying to put a pretty face on sensationalism.

Is this what it's come to, now? After 11 anti-gay marriage ballots passed and the Republicans' gains in the election, is it now fair game to pick apart the murder of Matthew Sheppard, an innocent victim who united the country in our shock and sympathy and opened middle America's eyes to the lethal ubiquity of homophobia and hatred?

Dark times, indeed. I hope to see the clouds someday lift.

Oh, and John Stossel? I'm not sure if he's involved in this one, but doesn't it sound like just his speed? Even if he isn't, I'll take any opportunity to tell him to go away.

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