Accuracy in Media

Peter LaBarbera, president of the family values group Americans for Truth, says the trial of an accused killer in Chicago demonstrates the existence of a huge double standard in the way the media covers victims. “Some victims are Politically Correct; others are not,” he says. In this case, the victim, a Catholic mother of four, is not politically correct. So she will not be portrayed sympathetically. Indeed, her killer, an admitted and active homosexual, may get the media’s sympathetic ear.

LaBarbera notes that “The liberal media sensationalized the murder of homosexual Matthew Shepard, which was shamelessly exploited by ‘gay’ groups to promote national ‘hate crimes’ legislation. Meanwhile, when a deranged homosexual man murders a Chicago Catholic and mother of four, Mary Stachowicz, it goes largely uncovered. Shepard is a household name, but try asking a friend or co-worker if they’ve ever heard of Mary Stachowicz and you’ll likely get a ‘Mary who?’ in response.” He suggests doing a Google search comparing the two victims’ names to see how many stories come up.

In Chicago to cover the trial on her alleged killer, LaBarbera reports, “The public defender for Mary’s murderer, Nicholas Gutierrez, is arguing that Mary was the aggressor, saying she became enraged to the point of violence over his homosexual lifestyle.”

LaBarbera calls this assault on the victim unconscionable. “I trust,” he says, “that this appeal to ugly anti-Christian bigotry-the legal equivalent of spitting on Mary’s grave-will not sway the jury. Think of what Mary’s husband Jerry, four kids and extended family and friends went through?having to listen to this slander from her murderer’s Public Defender. I was at the trial and saw the stocky, roughly six-foot-tall Gutierrez in the courtroom: how ridiculous to think he was threatened by a 51-year-old woman who was known for her religious devotion!”

LaBarbera comments, “Now imagine how differently this would have been reported had it been a 51-year-old Chicago lesbian, respected in her community, who was stabbed and beaten and raped, then stuffed in a crawl space by a crazed straight man. It’s simply unthinkable that the media would not lavish coverage on such a case.”

Looking at coverage of the case by the local paper, LaBarbera said the online Chicago Sun-Times headline about the Gutierrez murder trial was, “Defense: Killing Payback for Gay Taunts.” In fairness and truth, he argues, it should have been: “Prosecutor Calls Gay Killer of Catholic Mother of Four a ‘Monster,’ Cites DNA Evidence of Rape.”

But at least the Sun-Times covered the case, LaBarbera says, adding that he saw nothing on the Chicago Tribune’s website.

LaBarbera is urging the media to cover the murder trial of Nicholas Gutierrez, who killed Mary Stachowicz, with the same interest that they covered the trial of Matthew Shepard’s murderers.

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