According to Joan Garry, executive director of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), her group last week requested an advance copy of Elizabeth Vargas’ “20/20” story about the Matthew Shepard murder scheduled to air November 26, but was told no such screeners would be made available. An unnamed source finally got a copy into Garry’s hands on Monday.
“The speculation, the innuendo, the use of sources lacking in basic credibility all represent reckless and irresponsible journalism,” Garry told Gay City News late Tuesday evening. “To suggest that anti-gay bias had nothing to do with Matt Shepard’s murder is ludicrous and is not supported by the facts or the historical record.”
Noting the emphasis on revelations about crystal meth use in the segment, Garry said, “No one has ever suggested that Matt Shepard’s murder was simple. Robbery and drugs have always part of the narrative. The discussion of meth use is nothing new. They present old news as new news. Crystal meth is not a new angle to this story and the new angles that they attempt to lay out are based on very questionable sources.”
Garry charged that ABC avoided any scrutiny in the segment on the substantial evidence pointing to homophobia as a key factor in the murder.
Asked what she thought motivated the ABC report, Garry said, “I feel like I am not in the business of speculation , but I would hope that every journalist who reports on this story would ask ABC that question.”