Murder, the Media, and the Politics of Public Feelings: Remembering Matthew Shepard and James Byrd JR.
In 1998, the horrific murders of Matthew Shepard -- a gay man living inLaramie, Wyoming -- and James Byrd Jr. -- an African American man dragged to ... Show synopsis In 1998, the horrific murders of Matthew Shepard -- a gay man living inLaramie, Wyoming -- and James Byrd Jr. -- an African American man dragged to hisdeath in Jasper, Texas -- provoked a passionate public outrage. The intense mediacoverage of the murders made moments of violence based in racism and homophobiahighly visible and which eventually led to the passage of The Matthew Shepard andJames Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act in 2009. The role the media played incultivating, shaping, and directing the collective emotional response toward thesecrimes is the subject of this gripping new book by Jennifer Petersen. Tracing theemotional exchange from news stories to the creation of law, Petersen calls for anapproach to media and democratic politics that takes into account the role of affectin the political and legal life of the nation.