Media Focus: Lindsay Lohan & The Marines

September 29, 2010

As of this week, a new Facebook status trend has been spreading like wildfire. Through social media, a straightforward plea has been made to divert our media attention away from Lindsay Lohan, to the U.S. Marines who tragically died this week in combat.

“Lindsay Lohan, 24, is all over the news because she’s a celebrity drug addict. While
Justin Allen, 23, Brett Linley, 29, Matthew Weikert, 29, Justus Bartett, 27, Dave Santos, 21, Chase Stanley, 21, Jesse Reed, 26, Matthew Johnson, 21, Zachary Fisher, 24, Brandon King, 23, Christopher Goeke, 23, and Sheldon Tate, 27 are all Marines that gave their lives this week, no media mention. Let’s honor THEM & give them social media attention by reposting!”

Ablestimage.com, did the work for me on this one and researched the deaths of these soldiers to see if this popular did in fact pass this week and who they were. Turns out, its half true with the deaths occurring over the summer.

Justin Allen, 23, was an Army Ranger from Ohio who had a wedding date set for the upcoming November 20th, killed in Afghanistan on July 18.

Brett Linley, 29, was a Staff Sergeant for the Royal Logistic Corps (UK) and died on July 17 while diffusing explosive devices, having already disabled 100 such bombs in five months.

Matthew Weikert, 29, died on July 17 in Afghanistan, as a member of the US Army (although was first a Marine for 5 years, and took a year break before re-enlisting).

Justus Bartett, 27, may actually be Justus Bartelt [according to this] because I could not find a single reference to that spelling. Bartelt was a Marine who died on July 16 in Afghanistan.

Dave Santos, 21, was a Marine corporal from Saipan (a US territory in the deep in the Pacific, lattitude even with southern Vietnam, longitude even with northern Japan) who was “stabbled in the neck and killed by a fellow Marine.”

Chase Stanley, 21, was an Army soldier from California, serving in Afghanistan when he died on July 14, along with three others when an improvised explosive device struck their vehicle. The other three killed were those listed next –

Jesse Reed, 26, from Pennsylvania, was the Army driver for a vehicle searching for roadside bombs, having sent home as a memento a picture of himself and a few others sitting in a crater of one such roadside bomb only a week prior.

Matthew Johnson, 21, from Minnesota, was an Army soldier who died on July 14th (although the article linked says he died “Tuesday” which is the 13th), as an “engineer equipment operator and mine-resistant, ambush-protected operator during route-clearance operations.”

Zachary Fisher, 24, of Missouri was an Army Sergeant who died in the IED attack that killed the three men listed immediately above on July 14, was a disarmer of roadside bombs, and son to a retired Army Master Sergeant.

Brandon King, 23, an avid Spades player, was a Private First Class in the Army from the capital of Florida, killed while serving in Afghanistan on July 14th, “when insurgents attacked his unit with small arms fire.”

Christopher Goeke, 23, was an First Lieutenant for the US Army from Minnesota who died Tuesday July 13th defending an Afghan police compound. He was a West Point Military Academy graduate and had been married only 18 months prior.

and Sheldon Tate, 27, who was an Army Staff Sergeant known in his youth to be a prankster, died on July 13th, also in an attack on an Afghan police location, “assisting a young paratrooper to safety.”

Though grievous for apparent reasons, the posting brings up many possible questions for its intended purpose. Is it a direct statement about our under representation towards those who gave their lives for our country? Is it merely a question of patriotism? Respect? Or is it something addressed towards the quality of our media coverage in general. That we actually spend too much time talking about celebrities instead of real-life events that affect us daily?

Each of these questions have many different sides of argumentation, leading to a never ending debate. But my real question wonders: Is using death as a platform the only way to make people realize any of these claims, regardless of their opinion?

Whatever that opinion might be, the popular Facebook status has definitely proven its point while showcasing the power of social media at the same time.




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