Describe ONE specific example of a portrayal of "Sexual Orientation bias" in the media (must be related to crime), and describe how this ...?Describe ONE specific example of a portrayal of...

Describe ONE specific example of a portrayal of "Sexual Orientation bias" in the media (must be related to crime), and describe how this ...?

Describe ONE specific example of a portrayal of "Sexual Orientation bias" in the media (must be related to crime), and describe how this affects people's views?

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lynnebh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

How about the Matthew Shepherd case? Matthew Shepherd was a student at the University of Wyoming who was tortured and murdered by two young men, Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson, who targeted Shepherd because he was gay. Shepherd was found tied to a fence and in a coma. He later died.

There were a myriad of stories in the media, both on TV, in the newspapers, and online, regarding the incident. The murderers claimed it was not a hate crime, but their girlfriends testified that they had been planning to "rob a gay man." They were both convicted, but the crime was not classified as a "hate crime" because there was no Wyoming law for that category at the time.

The murder continued to attract media attention for years after the trial was over. ABC's 20/20 ran a story in 2004 quoting claims by McKinney, Henderson and their girl friends that the murder had not been motivated by Shepard's sexuality. This presentation was criticized for being biased in favor of the two killers. The Wyoming chief of police (retired by then) stated that the killers' claims that it was not a hate crime were not valid. Other media coverage focused on how statements made by the killers after the trial contradicted facts in evidence at the trial.

What do you think about people who witnessed the 20/20 presentation? Did the media presentation change their views at all, or did it reinforce views and prejudices that they already had? Good question. I don't believe the answer is the same for every individual. What do you think?

If you do some research on this case, you can find some newspapers, both in Wyoming and Colorado especially, that reported on this case. Read them and see if you can detect bias.