Jackson Death Distracted from Soldiers’ Sacrifices


Categorie: Afghanistan, David Axe, Infantry, Kevin Knodell, Reporters |



Our own Kevin Knodell penned the following post, then decided he didn’t want to publish it. He felt the message was too personal for public consumption. But Kyle and I argued otherwise, and Kevin relented. So consider this a post published under duress. Here’s Kevin:

First Lieutenant Brian Bradshaw was killed in Afghanistan on June 25, the same day Michael Jackson died. With the King of Pop’s passing dominating the headlines, no one much noticed Bradshaw’s death, at first. Then Bradshaw’s family began extolling their soldier’s sacrifice, and Fox News and CBS News (posted above) eventually ran with it.

Bradshaw attended Pacific Lutheran University, where I am a student with strong connections to the Army ROTC program. I didn’t know him — he commissioned the year before I enrolled — but I knew of him, and even met him once. His death has strongly affected the cadets, as well as the training cadre and graduates. I see the faces of friends and mentors when I watch the CBS spot.

Michael Jackson’s death was newsworthy, but it overshadowed the recent deaths of more than a dozen American and British soldiers in Afghanistan. The dead soldiers’ families got to hear every day about their countrymen’s “despair” over the “Jackson tragedy.” Many Brits and Americans know all the bizarre details of Jackson’s death, but words like “Helmand” and “Kandahar” don’t even register.

More journalists should go to Afghanistan. Local T.V. stations and newspapers should request embeds with their local National Guard units. We need to hear about soldiers like Bradshaw all the time.

I’m not saying that entertainment isn’t news, or that the war always trumps the economy and other issues. But on this point I’m firm: Americans, and the people of every nation fighting abroad, need to pay closer attention. Soldiers can’t simply change the channel to something more pleasant, and less dangerous, than war. The public shouldn’t change the channel, either.


9 Responses to “Jackson Death Distracted from Soldiers’ Sacrifices”

  1. James says:

    The media, so obsessed with ratings/money has proven itself to be morally unchecked. A national disgrace for all Americans to bare witness to.

  2. David M says:

    The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 07/15/2009 News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.

  3. ArtMan says:

    People die every day. What about all civilians/children that die in Afghanistan? Who cares about them?

    Jackson was famous all over the world so its normal that many more want to watch his funeral than soldiers not many knows.

    So whats the news here?

  4. Kevin Knodell says:

    ArtMan, normally I wouldn’t respond to such a post, but I will make an exception in this case.

    I didn’t say Michael Jackson was unimportant, it IS a significant story. He was an innovator in his field and touched millions through his music and charity.

    However, more than a dozen American and British soldiers have died since then with little notice to the fact. If we are going to send soldiers to war, we need to pay attention to what they are doing.

    And as for the question of who cares about the people of Afghanistan, Lieutenant Bradshaw certainly did. He requested that his family send him school supplies and other goods to give to the people in Afghanistan.

  5. FiveOh says:

    To ArtMan:

    You’re right. There is no news here. He wasn’t Michael Jackson, so f*ck him.

    Now that I’ve gotten my sarcasm out, I think a valid point you could draw from this is that whatever your politics are, the public should be more concerned with where our soldiers are and what they’re doing.

    Our public should be concerned about the people of Afghanistan and Iraq.

    Our public should be concerned about real issues of importance.

    But hey, Michael Jackson wrote some songs, and that’s most important.

  6. ArtMan says:

    It dosnt matter who he was. Its how well known he was. If BinLaden is found its gonna be allover the media and if some soldiers got killed when they capture him is gonna be a secondary story.

    Its just normal. Most known people gets more attention because people know who they are. If you dont understend that i dont know what to say.

    What people should do? How many do you think care if some soldiers die on other side of the earth? Unfortunately not many.

    Life is a bitch. War is hell.

    Many millions died in WW2. For what? My grandfather was a soldier in WW2 and he told me stories that i never forget. Sometimes i wonder if people realy understand today how big sacrifices was made so we can live “normal” life today. So sure they should be more concerned about war then some celebritys. But they arent. So ask you why that is instead? Maybee to many Paris Hilton wonnabes out there that dont care about other then their nails or something.

  7. Mike Camel says:

    This Bradshaw character was a junior infantry officer

    Michael Jackson was the King of Pop

    What do you expect

    Moral indignation is always amusing

  8. pain-in-the-axe says:

    “He wasn’t Michael Jackson, so f*ck him.”
    No, he simply wasn’t Michael Jackson.

    I guess Michael Jackson should have waited to die until the war was over.

    Oh yeah, and he’s been world famous since about 1970. Oh nevermind, THE THUNDER RUN!! has linked…….

    Yes, moral indignation is amusing.

    Now what if the Queen dies and steals some air time…

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