Jewish World Review Dec. 6, 2004 / 23 Kislev, 5765

Michael Medved

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Consumer Reports

Media finally face the truth on Shepard case | A recent broadcast of ABC's 20/20 shed new light on a celebrated murder case.

The two thugs who fatally beat Wyoming college student Matthew Shepard granted their first television interviews from the prison cells where they're serving life sentences.

Though mainstream media eagerly embraced Shepard as a victim of homophobia, both killers described a robbery gone wrong that had no connection to sexual orientation.

Indeed, the trial transcript gave no evidence that the two meth-crazed perpetrators — who had brutalized several straight victims in the days, and even the hours, before they assaulted Shepard — had been motivated by homophobia. Nonetheless, all three of the TV movies about Shepard portrayed his death as a "hate crime," as did "The Laramie Project," a play performed across the country in high schools and other venues.

For gay activists, Shepard remains such a convenient martyr that they can't face the increasingly obvious facts about his tragic death.

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JWR contributor, author and film critic Michael Medved hosts a daily three-hour radio talk show broadcast in more than 120 cities throughout the United States. His latest book, written together with his wife, is Saving Childhood : Protecting Our Children from the National Assault on Innocence . You may contact him by clicking here.

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