Media Tunes out Child Torture Death

By Price, Joyce Howard | Insight on the News, November 29, 1999 | Go to article overview

Media Tunes out Child Torture Death


Price, Joyce Howard, Insight on the News


Most of the news media are failing to report the rape and murder of a boy by two homosexuals who face the death penalty in Arkansas, perhaps because it's politically incorrect.

Most of the nation has not heard about two homosexual men who face the death penalty in Arkansas, charged with the brutal murder of a 13-year-old boy from Prairie Grove. The murder of seventh-grader Jesse Dirkhising -- raped repeatedly and suffocated with his own underwear in the predawn hours of Sept. 26 -- was reported by news organizations in Arkansas, Oklahoma and Tennessee. But the boy's death did not receive national media attention.

Tim Graham, director of media analysis for the Media Research Center, isn't surprised. "Nobody wants to say anything negative about homosexuals," says Graham, who sees "political correctness" at work. "Nobody wants to be seen on the wrong side of that issue." The muted press reaction to the murder of Dirkhising starkly contrasts with the coverage of University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard, a homosexual beaten to death in October 1998.

Christopher D. Plumlee, deputy prosecuting attorney for Benton County, Ark., who investigated Jesse's death, admits he is a "little surprised" at the limited coverage this "horrible crime against a child" received. But David Smith, spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign, a major homosexual lobbying group, contends that the case "has nothing to do with gay people." News stories published about the crime, to date, have not indicated the suspects are homosexuals.

Joshua Macave Brown, 22, and Davis Don Carpenter, 38, described as homosexual "lovers" in a police affidavit, have been charged with capital murder and six counts of rape and are being held without bond in connection with Jesse's death. The accused killers pleaded not guilty at an arraignment earlier this month and face another court date Dec. 8. Their trial is scheduled for April 10, 2000.

Carpenter was a friend of Jesse's parents, Tina Yates and Miles Yates Jr., and the boy had been staying with the two men at their apartment in Rogers, Ark., on weekends for two months prior to his death, according to Plumlee. …

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