Friday, February 09, 2007

Jennifer Parcell, 20, Died Yesterday in Iraq

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Have you heard of Jennifer Parcell? Neither has the U.S. media, although she was a Marine corporal serving in Iraq, and died the same day as Anna Nicole Smith:

A young woman met a sudden and tragic end, it was reported on Thursday, leaving her family and people who knew her in great distress.

No, it's not Anna Nicole Smith. Her name is Jennifer Parcell, and she died in Iraq. But you'd be lucky if you could find any mention of her, amidst the front page and wall-to-wall media coverage of the likely drug-related death of "starlet" Smith.

In fact, as of noon today, there were only seven press mentions, all in the area of her native Maryland, according to a Google search.

In contrast to, say, Anna Nicole Smith, Parcell seemed to have a serious side. Even in Iraq, she was managing to take a course at the University of Maryland, the Baltimore Sun relates, adding: "Helping others was routine for the Marine corporal. She sponsored an African child through a mission charity. And when Pakistan was devastated by an earthquake last year, she and others in her unit were dispatched to the scene. She earned the Humanitarian Service Medal for her efforts."

In fact, the Sun, in a separate story noted: "With the death of reality TV star Anna Nicole Smith yesterday, a ferocious barrage of Marilyn Monroe-like images and scattershot speculation was instantly loosed across the on-air and online landscape of 24-hour news...The one constant: The story was consistently framed in a breathless tabloid manner."

The cause of Parcell's death has not yet been released. The Pentagon notice simply says that she died "supporting" combat operations in Anbar province, not actually in combat.

Will Bunch, reporter and blogger (at Attytood) for the Philadelphia Daily News, pointed out the imbalance in coverage earlier today, calling on the press to give us "a name and a face to go with that number, 3,115," referring to the number of American deaths in Iraq.

It would be nice, he suggests, if just one cable news channel, instead of dwelling on Anna Nicole, would bring on a medical expert "to talk about the type of combat injuries that America's fighting men and women are suffering in Iraq, and whether the troops have adequate protection." Or maybe find a friend or colleague in the field who could tell us about Parcell's life, "and our loss."

5 comments:

Elizabeth said...

AMEN to that!

Elizabeth said...

AMEN to that. Bless her soul and my prayers are with the family, I know what it is like to lose family so suddenly and tragically.

MD_Mom said...

We were blessed to know this girl. She was a true american hero, although the smith case is sad, a baby is left. I dont understand the lack of media attention for Jen....I do have a pic, i wish i could post it :(

Kathy said...

md_mom:

If you want to send me a copy of the photo, I will post it here.

Kathy said...

md_mom:

I wasn't entirely clear just now. I don't mean for you to mail me a copy of the photo. If you trust me with it, you are welcome to send it to me as a jpg file, via e-mail, and I will post it here.