Matthew Shepard ABC News 20/20 Story Was Discredited The Day It Aired
Journalism, like milk, should come with freshness dates. Then, when it starts to smell bad and offend your senses, you’ll know it’s expired.
In researching the political fallout in North Carolina after Virginia Foxx’s now infamous comment about the murder of Matthew Shepard, I came across a blog post in the News & Record, Greensboro, North Carolina’s online version of its local daily newspaper. The paper’s own editorial writer, Doug Clark, offers this piece: “ABC News report supports Foxx’s statement“, in which he writes, “But the long-accepted account, that Shepard’s killing was an anti-gay hate crime, was credibly challenged in this well-reported ABC News story all the way back in 2004.”
Wow. As a journalist, Clark isn’t even bothering to subscribe to the tenets of his industry: Check the facts. Had he, he would have known that the 20/20 story he refers to was just that, a story, widely discredited by the time it even aired. In fact, Glaad produced a “Viewer’s Guide” and released it the day the story aired. Refuting the “facts” in the piece, Glaad’s Executive Director said of 20/20’s piece, “this simply is not a credible piece of journalism“. Too bad Clark didn’t bother to delve deep enough into the history surrounding the Shepard murder or the ABC News 20/20 story, “New Details Emerge in Matthew Shepard Murder“.
The 20/20 story is based on ideas that Shepard’s murder was not a hate crime, that it occurred not because of hatred of gays, but, as Rep. Foxx said, was “in the commitment of a robbery”, with drugs being the central cause. People like Virginia Foxx and her ilk want you to believe that Matthew Shepard’s murder wasn’t a hate crime. Deep down, they want to believe that there is no such thing as a hate crime, as they think hate crime legislation is a “1984” concept in which Big Brother can monitor your thoughts. They’re wrong, because they don’t understand the meaning of “hate crime” and can’t see, as Kathleen Parker wrote this week, why a hate crime is even more despicable, because a hate crime “is really two crimes — one against the individual and another against the group to which he belongs. By that definition, Shepard’s murder may be viewed as a terrorist act against all gays, who would have felt more fearful as a result.”
Speaking of “terrorist acts”, in November, 1999, five years before the ABC News 20/20 piece,Â Dave Cullen ofÂ SalonÂ interviewedÂ Sgt. Rob DeBree, the chief investigator in the case, who said, “They knew damn well he was gay. […] It started out as a robbery and burglary, and I sincerely believe the other activity was because he was gay. […] That is one thousand percent torture, what occurred to that boy.” Cullen also wrote, in the 1999 piece,Â “A just-unsealed confession demolishes the “gay panic” defense. Too bad the media wasn’t around to hear it.”Â
But the media wasn’t around later, in 2004, either, when the ABC News 20/20 piece aired, nor again, last week, when Clark wrote his story. And the damage has been done. How do we know? Read some of the comments from Clark’s blog, evidence of misinformed Americans too happy in their hatred to challenge someone who speaks to their values:
“Shepard’s murder has become an urban legend and a rallying point for gays to demand special treatment, regardless of the fact that it’s been misrepresented as a hate crime.
The Dems/libs can’t afford to have the truth thrown up in their face.”
“This revelation is not new. I heard about it years ago, but of course the ideological liberal media played it down as they always do when it goes against their agenda. And Puleeze don’t tell me they have no agenda.”
“Why wasn’t it [a story in that paper discussing the Foxx story] headlined, “Rep. Foxx exposes truth in Shepard case” or “Foxx discloses facts on Gay lie?””
Then, Clark himself responds to some of the comments:
“I found the ABC report well-researched and credible, but I can’t say for sure that it represents the truth about the case. And if I can’t be sure what the truth is, I also can’t say absolutely what’s a lie. I would be surprised if you can be any more certain than I am.”
Those who have done their research, Mr. Clark, indeed can be more ertain of what’s truth and what’s not. Like,Â MoisÃ©s Kaufman, author ofÂ The Laramie Project, who according to Glaad, “interviewed more than 200 residents of Laramie in 1998 and 1999″. Let’s try to undo some of this damage. Because there are many who have researched both the Shepard murder and the ABC 20/20 story. And, thanks to them, we do know the truth.
Please take a moment to join our Facebook group, FireFoxx, dedicated to the resignation of Virginia Foxx.
Â Â Â
For more on the Matthew Shepard story, read:
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Watchdog Reports Trump ‘Credibly Accused’ of ‘Staggering’ List of 55 Criminal Offenses – Urges DOJ to Prosecute
A nonpartisan federal government watchdog has updated its list of “uncharged” criminal offenses it says Donald Trump stands “credibly accused” of committing, and is urging the Dept. of Justice to prosecute them, warning that “the rule of law is not self-enforcing.”
“As of September 2022, Donald Trump has been credibly accused of committing at least 55 criminal offenses since he launched his campaign for president in 2015,” reports Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, better known as CREW. “That total only reflects allegations relating to his time in or running for office and omits, for instance, Trump’s criminal exposure for fraudulent business dealings.”
The lengthy list includes numerous allegations of campaign finance crimes and coverup, destruction of presidential records, obstruction of the Russia and Special Counsel Investigations, attempts to steal the 2020 election, false public financial disclosure reports, attempts to get Ukraine to interfere in 2020 election, profiting off of post-election lies, and unlawful post-presidency possession of government records.
CREW says its update includes “seven offenses we have added since we published the first version of this table in March 2022,” including “three criminal offenses relating to the investigation of election fraud and related crimes in Fulton County, Georgia; one offense relating to potential wire fraud stemming from fraudulent representations made to solicit PAC contributions after the 2020 election; and three offenses relating to Trump’s unlawful possession of government records at Mar-a-Lago after leaving office.”
“The updated tracker likely understates Trump’s legal exposure because the high volume of sensitive records discovered at Mar-A-Lago suggests that he could be indicted for multiple counts of willfully retaining without authorization government records containing national defense information, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 793(e)), even though it is only listed once on CREW’s tracker.”
CREW is not the only one keeping track of Trump’s misdeeds, criminal civil, or ethical.
McSweeney’s published a list of 1056 “atrocities,” it calls “horrors,” titled: “A Catalog of Trump’s Worst Cruelties, Collusions, Corruptions, and Crimes.” It stopped updating on Jan. 20, 2021.
Civil liberties and national security journalist Marcy Wheeler on Wednesday published her “Trump Document Theft Resources,” a timeline of events surrounding the former president’s unlawful retention and refusal to return classified documents, complete with numerous links.
For those who’ve missed it: I have put together a post with links to all MY posts on the Trump Espionage case, as well as the public docs, statutes, and some other key reports. Not entirely up-to-date and a work in progress, though. https://t.co/1xpy6I5ine
— emptywheel (@emptywheel) September 28, 2022
Christian Nationalist GOP Nominee Doug Mastriano Calling for ‘40 Days of Fasting and Prayer’ to Help Campaign
The far-right Christian nationalist and state lawmaker who is the Republican Party’s nominee to become governor of Pennsylvania is so extreme and has been performing so poorly in the polls it took the media two days to learn of his latest plan to win election: 40 days of fasting and prayer.
State Sen. Doug Mastriano, who led a Zoom meeting days before the January 6 insurrection praying his fellow Trump supporters would “rise up” and overthrow the government, on Monday posted to Facebook a call for “40 Days of Fasting and Prayer.”
To date it has received little attention, a mere 10 comments, 46 shares, and 156 various likes. That’a after one news outlet, The Philadelphia Inquirer, published an article on Mastriano Wednesday afternoon.
“The Republican gubernatorial candidate is losing some support among GOP allies as his cash-strapped campaign turns to Twitter memes and, apparently, divine intervention,” the Inquirer reports.
A mere “few dozen supporters joined the Republican state senator on the steps of the Capitol building in Harrisburg — some of them members of a local militia group,” for campaign rally last weekend, adding that “Mastriano hasn’t run or booked any TV ads in response. He doesn’t do interviews with most media outlets, and won’t agree to a standard format debate.”
Mastriano recently made headlines over previously unreported remarks showing he supports criminal murder charges for women who violate a 6-week abortion ban.
It seems likely Mastriano will lose the election. FiveThirtyEight gives the far right Republican state lawmaker just seven chances in 100 to win the governorship. His opponent, Democrat Josh Shapiro, has spent millions more that Mastriano, who the Inquirer notes has spent just $6300 on TV ads.
Some are highlighting bigger, more longterm concerns, noting that Mastriano is helping to expand the Christian nationalism and fascism his ideologies represent.
Media Matters for America’s Eric Hananoki on Wednesday reveals: “Mastriano announced that he’s holding a rally with Jack Posobiec this weekend. Posobiec has collaborated with white nationalists and neo-Nazis and has targeted Jewish people with antisemitic hate.”
Doug Mastriano announced that he’s holding a rally with Jack Posobiec this weekend. Posobiec has collaborated with white nationalists and neo-Nazis and has targeted Jewish people with antisemitic hate, as the @splcenter has documented. https://t.co/V4xQeohozl
— Eric Hananoki (@ehananoki) September 28, 2022
“Mastriano is a QAnon conspiracy theorist and a January 6 insurrectionist,” Media Matters report adds. “He has also shared toxic commentaries about Muslims; abortion; and gun safety; along with making other inflammatory remarks.”
“He has surrounded himself with numerous extremist media figures in his campaign for Pennsylvania governor. They include: antisemitic Gab CEO Andrew Torba; QAnon and antisemitic conspiracy theorists Allen and Francine Fosdick; “prophet” Julie Green, who has promoted an antisemitic conspiracy theory; and QAnon supporter and 9/11 conspiracy theorist Toni Shuppe. Mastriano also recruited Jenna Ellis, who has a history of anti-LGBTQ remarks and election denialism, as a senior adviser.”
The New York Times last month reported Mastriano “speaks almost exclusively to far-right podcasters like Stephen K. Bannon, conservative talk radio hosts and Fox News. On a recent swing through northwest Pennsylvania, he brushed off a Pittsburgh TV station that sought to interview him, and even the small-circulation Meadville Tribune.“
Don’t Call Us ‘Fascists’: Marjorie Taylor Greene Blasts News Media After Criticism Over Her Feral Hog Hunting Stunt
U. S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) is furious at the entire news industry, and especially HuffPost, after it published a report highlighting her latest stunt: a video portraying her as some kind of lighting-powered superhero with a helicopter and an AR-15 shooting a feral pig and criticizing Democrats.
In the video, posted to Facebook, she claims there is “skyrocketing inflation, high diesel fuel, and America last policies.”
“Democrats aren’t the only ones destroying farmers’ ability to put food on the table. We’ve got wild hogs destroying farmers’ fields,” says Greene, who has nearly no responsibilities as a Member of Congress. “So we decided to go hog hunting.”
Greene takes a large AR-15-styled assault weapon into a helicopter so she can shoot and kill a feral hog from the air. She later poses with the dead carcass on the ground.
Her stunt does nothing to help farmers, but it does help her image with the pro-gun right and serves as a fundraising stunt — she uses the video to announce a contest for supporters to join her in a helicopter hog-shooting trip.
Wednesday morning HuffPost published a story titled, “Marjorie Taylor Greene Likens Dems To Hogs, Wants Help Shooting Them Dead.”
The report notes Greene had “been stripped of her House committee assignments over her use of violent rhetoric, including toward Democrats,” and says the “extremist Republican’s announcement of a competition to hunt feral pigs did not go over well.”
Greene was outraged.
In a seven-part Twitter thread directed at HuffPost she writes, “I demand you change this headline and your lies about me immediately. Your freedom of press is not freedom to lie about me. I NEVER said anything like this and did NOT call for violence on Democrats.”
She calls for the reporter and editor to be fired, and then goes off on the entire news media.
“You don’t get to lie about me and many of my colleagues calling us Nazis, fascists, and any other nasty label you type up and get away with it,” she tweeted.
“There is not one single Republican that has ever aligned with Nazism, fascism, Marxism, socialism, communism, or any other awful political ideology,” she says in carefully-chosen rhetoric.
There are Republicans today exhibiting fascistic behaviors and promoting fascistic ideology. President Joe Biden has clearly criticized the ideology of “MAGA Republicans” as “semi-fascism.”
In late August the White House singled out Greene to defend President Biden’s “semi-fascism” criticism, saying: “Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green has publicly expressed support for shooting prominent democratic elected officials and suggesting physically assaulting transgender school officials.”
Greene this week celebrated Italy’s election of a new neo-fascist prime minister.
On Wednesday, in her indictment of the entire news media, across all points of view including the right, she asks: “Does America have any journalist of such high character and moral ethics that can resist the powerful temptation to lie, abusing their power of freedom of the press, in order to serve their political party?”
“Tragically, we do not,” she concludes.
Watch Greene’s video below or at this link:
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