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Friday, November 26, 2004

ABC's Hindsight Less Than 20/20

From the Human Rights Campaign:

ABC'S HINDSIGHT ON MATTHEW SHEPARD'S MURDER FAR LESS THAN '20/20'

Tonight — Friday, November 26 — ABC's '20/20' program promises to "uncover stunning new information about the brutal 1998 murder of Matthew Shepard." Instead, ABC is rewriting history with sensationalistic claims and distortions.

The Human Rights Campaign is joining GLAAD (The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation), the Matthew Shepard Foundation and other GLBT rights groups in voicing our deep concerns about tonight's broadcast. We urge you to learn more about the program before it airs by reading GLAAD's detailed viewer's guide and sharing it with your family and friends.

>>> Click here to see GLAAD's viewer's guide to tonight's program
>>> Voice your opinion about the program on ABC's "20/20" message board
>>> Visit the Matthew Shepard Foundation's web site

The following information comes from GLAAD's press release about the program:

In response to a piece airing tonight on ABC, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) and the family of Matthew Shepard today called on the media and the viewing public to scrutinize the sensationalistic claims and distortions offered by "20/20" in its attempt to rewrite the history of Shepard's murder case.

"This piece says much, much more about '20/20' than it does about the murder of Matthew Shepard," said GLAAD Executive Director Joan M. Garry. "'20/20's' misleading oversimplifications and distortions do a tremendous disservice to a complicated case. This simply is not a credible piece of journalism."

People with first-hand accounts of what happened in Laramie — among them Judy Shepard, Dave O'Malley (the Laramie police captain whose comments to "20/20" are selectively represented), Moises Kaufman (author of The Laramie Project, whose team interviewed more than 200 residents of Laramie in 1998 and 1999) and Romaine Patterson (who was close friends with Matt during the last two years of his life) — dispute the accuracy of '20/20's' piece.

"Dennis and I were dismayed and saddened by the tabloid nature of the show and its lack of serious reporting of facts in evidence," said Judy Shepard. "Though I was not permitted by '20/20' to view the segment, the copy made available to the press left all of my relevant comments regarding the direction of the show and the facts in this case on the cutting room floor. My remarks were reduced to a few very personal maternal comments taken out of context to make it appear as if I agreed with '20/20's' theories. Nothing could be further from the truth."

Click here to read the viewer's guide — and please, forward this information to friends and family as well. It is critical that the GLBT community and all fair-minded Americans dispute ABC's distorted view of Matthew Shepard's murder.


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