Media Matters, Think Progress and SPLC attack author Stephen Jimenez as “Truther” and right-wing tool.
Stephen Jimenez is the author of “The Book of Matt,” a book that calls into question the deeply ingrained narrative that the murder of Matthew Shepard was an anti-gay hate crime. The extensively researched book reveals that the Shepard anti-gay hate crime narrative may be all wrong.
Jimenez, who is gay himself, has been praised by prominent gay rights activists, including Andrew Sullivan. In response to the new information, Sullivan has even called the narrative “a politically convenient myth” deployed to “raise gobs of money and pass unnecessary laws.”
On Monday, The New York Post’s Andrea Peyser lauded Jimenez for shedding light on “an uncomfortable truth”:
Jimenez unearthed a story that few people wanted to hear. And it calls into question everything you think you know about the life and death of one of the leading icons of our age.
But questioning this fundamental narrative has upset some activist groups.
For example, Media Matters has been attacking Jimenez for weeks, calling Jimenez a Matthew Shepard “Truther” and right-wing tool:
Media Matters quickly responded to Peyser’s piece with a scathing article titled, NY Post Celebrates Stephen Jimenez’s Matthew Shepard Trutherism:
While her uncritical reporting on Jimenez’s book is a disservice to the Post‘s readers, Peyser’s column is useful in at least one respect; it perfectly illustrates how The Book of Matt has been more about boosting Jimenez’s public profile and stoking his self-image rather than providing a solid, fact-based account of Shepard’s murder.
And Media Matters is not the only left-wing organization determined to undermine Jimenez.
Think Progress labeled the new dialogue on Shepard as “disgusting” in one article. It also featured another article titled, ”‘The Book Of Matt’ Doesn’t Prove Anything, Other Than The Size Of Stephen Jimenez’s Ego.” The author writes:
Jimenez talks a great deal about humanizing Shepard, and makes some vague gestures at wanting to start a conversation about meth use in the gay community that are quickly abandoned. But the real subject of The Book Of Matt, or at least the place where Jimenez’s reportorial detail and emotional energy seem to be most focused, is Jimenez himself.
Not surprisingly, the SPLC post is written by Dave Neiwert, the inventor of the debunked “right-wing eliminationist narrative.” SPLC is heavily invested in perpetuating the eliminationist narrative, so it’s not surprising to see SPLC bring Neiwert in for a special appearance to attack Jimenez.
What is evident from these ad hominem attacks against Jimenez is that certain groups heavily invested in perpetuating the Shepard hate crime narrative have closed their minds to another possible reality.