Thursday, September 2, 2010

How do you decide who to highlight?

I was wandering through CNN's Belief Blogs tonight when a new topic came up, entitled simply "Chaplain Killed In Action".  The article was a relatively lengthy one telling how U.S. Army chaplain Capt. Dale Goetz, as well as Staff Sgt. Jesse Infante, Staff Sgt. Kevin J. Kessler, Staff Sgt. Matthew J. West, and Pfc. Chad D. Clements, all five were stationed at Fort Carson in Colorado, died when their convoy was ambushed in the 'stan on August 30th.
My point?  CNN's article on the Belief blogs was a length piece about Captain Goetz, who is the first Chaplain to have been killed in Iraq or Afghanistan, including quoting in full the Army's Chief of Chaplains' statement about Captain Goetz' death.  The others who died with him got one line.

One.  Line.

That annoys the hell out of me.  Yes, so Captain Goetz was the first Chaplain to be killed, and yes it's CNN's Belief blogs, which orient around religion - but one line for the four other servicemen who died?

It worries me, that somehow this is an indication that the media thinks that the only time the death of our troops should be personalized is when it's somehow a "special" event.

It worries me even more that we, the American public, look at it the same way ...

I wonder how the families of the others who died with him feel, if they read a media report that highlights just one of the casualties, goes ahead and reprints a statement from some brass, but just glosses over their loved ones.  Surely their service must have been worth the glowing words too from their brass?

Right now, with the Westboro Baptist Church gaining supporters such as the Dove World Outreach Center in their actions dishonoring our fallen heroes, we can't lose sight of the fact that every one of those heroes is someone "special", that each of them deserves equal treatment in the reporting of their sacrifices made on our behalf, for our safety, for us.

My condolences go out to the families of all of our fallen heroes, and I hope the media takes the hint and starts remembering that they're all worth the column inches.

Updated 2140 9/2/2010 CNN changed the title of the article to "For first time in Iraq or Afghanistan wars, U.S. military chaplain is killed"

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