Friday, February 7, 2014
Jesse Dirkhising, the murder that didn't count
The following has been circulating for a while now. I didn't write it, but it's important to remind people of what happened to this young boy and why the media has so blatantly ignored it for ten long years.
Why This Death Didn’t Count
Most Americans, and many in other countries, have heard of Matthew Shepard, the 21- year-old Wyoming college student who in October 1998 was robbed, beaten and left to die on a fence in an alleged antihomosexual “hate crime.” Details of his death and the trials of his murderers were recounted endlessly in newspapers and television news programs.
He became a cause célèbre for hate-crime legislation and the subject of several books and at least two made-for-TV movies.
Few, however, have ever heard of Jesse Dirkhising. That’snot surprising, since the Arkansas seventh-grader’stragic death less than a year later,in September 1999, and the circumstances surrounding it were not considered newsworthy by those who shape the news we hear.
The difference, as some media watchers have pointed out, is that the two men who tied up and blindfolded 13-year-old Jesse Dirkhising, gagged him with his own underwear and repeatedly sodomized him before he suffocated were homosexuals. When Mr. Shepard was murdered, a great outcry arose for more hate-crime legislation. When Jesse Dirkhising was murdered, not only was there no outcry for hate-crime legislation, there were extremely few news sources that even carried the story.
A writer for The New Republic, himself a homosexual, reported on the media double standard in the April 2, 2001, edition. “. . . You’ve probably never heard of this case,” he wrote. “The New York Times has yet to run a single story about it. The Washington Post has run only a tiny Associated Press report—and an ombudsman’s explanation of why no further coverage is merited . . .
“In the month after Shepard’smurder, [the media reported] 3,007 stories about his death.
In the month after Dirkhising’s murder, [the media reported] 46 stories about his. In all of last year, only one article about Dirkhising appeared in a major mainstream newspaper, The Boston Globe. The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times ignored the incident completely. In the same period, The New York Times published 45 stories about Shepard and The
Washington Post published 28. This discrepancy isn’t just real. It’s staggering . . .
“So why the obsession with Shepard and the indifference with regard to Dirkhising? The answer is politics. The Shepard case was hyped for political reasons: to build support for inclusion of homosexuals in a federal hate-crimes law.The Dirkhising case was ignored for political reasons: squeamishness about reporting a story that could discredit that, and the lack of any pending interest-group legislation to hang a story on.
“The same politics lies behind the media’s tendency to extensively cover white ‘hate crimes’ against blacks while ignoring black ‘non-hate crimes’ against whites. What we are seeing, I fear, is a logical consequence of the culture that hate-crimes rhetoric promotes. Some deaths—if they affect a politically protected class—are worth more than others. Other deaths, those that do not fit a politically correct profile, are left to oblivion. The leading gay rights organization, the Human Rights Campaign—which has raised oodles of cash exploiting the horror of Shepard’s murder—has said nothing whatsoever about the Dirkhising case.”
Examples like this—and many more that can be found through searches of alternative media sources on the Internet—demonstrate that most major media outlets often aren’t reporting the full spectrum of the news, but only the news they want you to hear.