When North Carolina Rep. Virginia Foxx said yesterday on the House floor that Matthew Shepard was murdered during a robbery, not because he was gay, and that calling his death a hate crime was a “hoax,” what she really meant to say was, “I listened to a ABC News report, and if I’m wrong, so too was ABC!”
Okay, what Foxx really said in a follow up damage control statement was: “The larger context of my remarks is important. I was referring to a 2004 ABC 20/20 report on Mr. Shepard’s death. The 20/20 report questioned the motivation of those responsible for Mr. Shepard’s death. Referencing this media account may have been a mistake, but if so it was a mistake based on what I believed were reliable accounts.”
So just what was in that ABC News report? Back in 2004, anchor Elizabeth Vargas was on The O’Reilly Factor and shared her findings: “The prosecutor who prosecuted these crimes says that he never believed it was a hate crime. He believes it was a drug crime. Aaron McKinney, according to Aaron McKinney himself and to several other witnesses, was coming down from a five-day methamphetamine binge. He freely admits he not only used methamphetamine but dealt them, sold them. Five days up with no sleep, strung out on drugs, desperate to buy more, desperate to rob somebody to get money to buy more drugs. This was the motive, according to Aaron McKinney and the other witnesses. … Even the prosecutor says there was more to the murder. The prosecutor who prosecuted these crimes says that he never believed it was a hate crime. He believes it was a drug crime.”
Fine. So Foxx was basing her conclusion on a flawed ABC News report. Which gives Keith Olbermann all the rope he needs to hang her (mark 2:40):
Did we mention Matthew Shepard’s mother Judy, a staunch gay rights advocate and supporter of hate crimes legislation, was in the House Gallery while Foxx delivered her remarks?