|From Fox News foxnews.com
Relatives of Soldier Killed in Afghanistan Decry Lack of Coverage Amid Jackson Spectacle
Tuesday , July 07, 2009
By Joshua Rhett Miller
A day before New York Rep. Peter King called Michael Jackson a “pervert” unworthy of nonstop media coverage, the aunt of a U.S. soldier killed in Afghanistan on the same day Jackson died asked why her nephew's death went virtually unnoticed while the King of Pop got memorial shrines across the country.
"Mr. Jackson received days of wall-to-wall coverage in the media," Martha Gillis wrote to the Washington Post. "Where was the coverage of my nephew or the other soldiers who died that week?"
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Gillis' nephew, Lt. Brian Bradshaw, 24, died in Kheyl, Afganistan, of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle. Bradshaw, of Steilacoom, Wash., was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Airborne Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division in Fort Richardson, Alaska. He was one of at least 13 U.S. soldiers to die in Afghanistan since Jackson's death on June 25.
Bradshaw's mother, Mary, said she agreed with Gillis, saying the nonstop coverage of Jackson's death has become "totally ridiculous" and laughable.
"I can watch the news many nights and there's no mention of what's going on in Afghanistan or Iraq and there's boys dying over there," Bradshaw told FOXNews.com. "Oh God, I can't talk."
Gillis, of Springfield, Va., could not be reached for comment. In her letter to the Washington Post, she described Bradshaw as a "thoroughly decent person with a wry sense of humor" who loved history, particularly the Civil War.
"He had old-fashioned values and believed that military service was patriotic and that actions counted more than talk," Gillis wrote. "He wasn't much for talking, although he could communicate volumes with a raised eyebrow."
Bradshaw, who graduated from Pacific Lutheran University, was the product of a military family. His father, Paul, is a retired National Guard helicopter pilot, and his mother is a retired Army nurse. Bradshaw was buried Monday following a service at St. John's Bosco Church in Lakewood, Wash.
"He was a search-and-rescue volunteer, an altar boy, a camp counselor," Gillis' letter continued. "He carried the hopes and dreams of his parents willingly on his shoulders. What more than that did Michael Jackson do or represent that earned him memorial 'shrines,' while this soldier's death goes unheralded?"
Gillis said the only media outlets that covered Bradshaw's death were in his hometown of Steilacoom, Wash., and those where he was stationed before his deployment in March.
Gillis' sentiment echoes that of King, the Long Island, N.Y., congressman who called on society to stop "glorifying" Jackson in a YouTube video posted on Monday.
King said Jackson had been excessively praised in the days after his death while society ignored the efforts of teachers, police officers and veterans. In the two-minute video, King called the "day in and day out" coverage of Jackson's death "too politically correct."
"Let's knock out the psychobabble," he said in the video, which was taped outside an American Legion Hall in his district. "He was a pervert, a child molester; he was a pedophile. And to be giving this much coverage to him, day in and day out, what does it say about us as a country? I just think we're too politically correct."
King, who is among the possible Republican contenders to run against Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, acknowledged that Jackson "may have been a good singer" and "did some dancing," but he blasted the King of Pop as someone who could not be trusted around children.
"There's nothing good to say about this guy," King continued. "But the bottom line is, would you let your child or grandchild be in the same room as Michael Jackson?"
The deaths of seven U.S. soldiers killed in Afghanistan on Monday received just 1/20th of the network television news coverage devoted to Jackson, according to an analysis by the Media Research Center, a Virginia-based news analysis organization.
The seven deaths garnered less than one minute of coverage on ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts combined, including just 13 seconds on CBS, compared to more than 13 minutes of Jackson-related news. That's a 60-to-1 disparity, the analysis found.
“This is a prime example of why network television news audiences are disappearing before our eyes," Media Research Center President Brent Bozell said. "There is no justification for determining that the death of a celebrity over a week ago merits 20 times more news coverage than the tragic deaths of American soldiers in Afghanistan."