No Fact Checking: NBC, People Magazine Stick to the Legend on Matthew Shepard

News & Politics

The 25th anniversary of Matthew Shepard’s murder in Wyoming became another opportunity to promote the LGBTQ agenda and denigrate conservative opposition. For example, People magazine had a big photo spread in its October 23 issue with this title taking up most of a page:

Matthew Shepard was beaten, tied to a fence and left to die because he was gay. Twenty-five years later, his family is still fighting against hate, devastated by the continuing bloodshed. ‘We’re moving backward’ 

People turned to an extremism analyst at GLAAD to claim “hate crimes” are on the rise. Shepard’s mother Judy lamented:

“Why are we still doing this work 25 years later?” On the Shepards’ priority list: fighting the passage of laws targeting medical care for transgender youth and defeating officeholders who espouse anti-LGBTQ+ bias for political gain. “It used to be socially unacceptable to be a bigot in this country. Now it’s not,” she says. 

All this 25th anniversary hoopla overlooks major problems for the “gay hate crime” angle. Billy Binion at Reason posted a piece headlined “Matthew Shepard’s Murder Was Almost Certainly Not an Anti-Gay Hate Crime.” Something didn’t add up.

It wasn’t until the prominent gay journalist Stephen Jimenez published his 2013 book, The Book of Matt: Hidden Truths About the Murder of Matthew Shepard, that those gaps started to narrow significantly. McKinney and Shepard reportedly were connected by the drug trade, with Shepard set to receive a $10,000 shipment of methamphetamine around the time he was killed. Also relevant is that McKinney was allegedly not traumatized by advances from Shepard, as the two had been sexually involved.

Anyone care to challenge those allegations? The Jimenez book has been ignored for 10 years now.

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Binion added that the AP reported in 2018 that Shepard assailant Russell Henderson claimed “neither he nor McKinney was motivated by anti-gay hatred when they offered Shepard a ride home from a bar. Instead, he said, they were out to rob him of money and possibly drugs when they drove him to the edge of town on the night of Oct. 6, 1998.”

But when the Left has made a legend, they “print the legend” and ignore inconvenient facts, just as Bryant Gumbel demanded on the Today show when they discussed Martin Luther King’s adulterous behavior.

On Thursday, Today broadcast a soapy interview with Judy and Dennis Shepard. Katie Couric made a special appearance to gush over the Shepards and lament conservative resistance to the libertine Left: “But just as they believed real progress was being made, the Shepards are now watching as scores of anti-LGBTQ measures are being considered and enacted across the country.” Opposition is “vicious.”

NBC host Savannah Guthrie began by pointing out they’re wearing purple to celebrate a GLAAD-organized event. “We’re marking Spirit Day. It’s a sign of support for LGBTQ youth and to speak out against bullying.” Accusing everyone who opposes you as “vicious” forces of “hate” and “bigotry” isn’t defined as bullying by the leftist press. 

PS: Katie Couric didn’t sound the slightest bit objective on TV or on Twitter. The “heroes” are so often people fighting conservatives. 


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