Debunking Forwards: Lindsay Lohan & Marines Who Died

There seems to be a popular Facebook “status” going around claiming that:

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. Honor THEM by reposting!

I replied sarcastically with, well, if all you watch is E!, then sure — you’ll probably see more of LL than of Marines who died in a war.

However, I decided to look up and find out if these folks did die this week and if they were even Marines for that matter. As it turns out (all dates listed are for 2010):

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 defusing 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.”

They got the media coverage that their particular respective locales warranted, to the people that those soldiers mattered the most. In one sense, having your son’s story broadcast to the entire nation may not be what the surviving relatives want.

51 thoughts on “Debunking Forwards: Lindsay Lohan & Marines Who Died

  1. I Still believe we should put more attention to the people who defend our freedom than to those who take their’s for granted…

    • With the availability of information on the Internet, we can, as adults, direct our own learning by immersing ourselves in information we personally desire to learn about more frequently. To claim that the media doesn’t cover xyz topic is to suggest we are helpless in learning about subjects we wish to be further immersed in — when we can just as easily do it ourselves without blaming someone else.

      • This is what is so crazy. I have no idea what is going on with Lohan, or who is getting picked for Idol or what is going on at Brittney’s or Kim Kardashian’s house. That’s ALL because I don’t watch those shows.

        It’s very easy to find news on what is going on in Afghanistan. You just have to change the channel to a better one. Ablestmage is correct: “Direct our own learning by immersing ourselves in information we personally desire to learn about

      • Many older and underprivlidged only have the”mainstream media” on a few channels to recieve thier news and this is put on the back pages of the newspaper..just for young people that spend hours on the net

      • Well when the see stories are recycled and claimed to have just happened is not right .
        But that does not mean our mainstream media is clear and ok in all this.
        They never investigated this president through two elections.
        They helped him get elected when they are suppose to remain objective and do there job.
        They never challenged a single lie that waa repeated over and over again by this president knowing he was not telling the truth.
        One such lie said over a year stright while on campaign trail
        Was the health care act you can keep your doctor
        The average family will save 2500 per year.
        All knowing they were blatant lies..
        Had that been a conservitive president they would have blown him out of office in two weeks…
        So yes we don’t need stories to recycle as if they just happened when there 6 years old.
        At the same time the media need not be in the pocket of any president of any party..
        We still don’t know things about this president
        We learned things that would be big news if it were any other party but not president Obama..
        Who BTW would rather play golf then attend a true hero’s funeral or speak about such loses when they did acually happen then they wouldn’t be news over and over..
        So be factual not biased please

  2. This is a curious coincidence of topics with an upcoming government project about the freedom of the press due soon. Timing aside, the ultimate question is this: If the press has rights to freedom, aren’t they legally allowed to report entirely about celebrities and nothing about the stories of fallen Marines?

    The quick answer to this question is a “no,” since families and their friends have the right to know about their loved ones. Those that fight automatically get news coverage over the other topics in the news. However, you bring up a good point. Maybe the national news isn’t covering those who gave their lives, but local, more appropriately focused sources have. Additionally, as you mentioned, the news of someone’s passing is something that the family may not want broadcast across the country. So the answer to that question might be a “yes,” since, even though it might not seem moral at first take, the news of the Marines isn’t at the same view as that of celebrities.

    Basically, then, we’re right back at where we started. The debate of the importance of fallen heroes against Hollywood drunkards clashes with the scope and scale of the news and who it affects. What is the correct answer to this puzzle? How can it be answered by someone devoid of emotion or bias? Can answering questions like these ever be done?

    I do give condolences to the families mentioned, especially since their children are almost being used to prove a point, as well as mine for a school project — but regardless. Sometimes the world is cruel to those who deserve better.


    • I would have to disagree that the families have a right to know about their loved ones from the media. There is no guarantee that any information (except in an unlegislatable moral sense) about the ultimate fate of their loved one(s), but out of kindred human spirit one would suspect enough people would endeavor to make that information known without being assigned the duty directly, whether by verbal order or law.

      I have complete confidence that a news agency is within its complete authority to publish news entirely upon a subject it specifically wishes, even if that subject leads to its utter detriment (as a private business, given it has no shareholders) just the same as you or I could willfully spiddle away our earned wages on saltwater taffy should we be so deluded as to believe it the best idea for our own lives.

      I think these kinds of questions are wholly answerable, although gaining the confidence of all people to agree would in itself be a substantial challenge, as we are still, so far, at liberty to approve or condemn like-thinkers as we please.

    • There are many families who are private, and wish to remain so, only sharing their loss with immediate family. It could be easy to contact the local paper, to let others know, but many won’t , or may do so afterwards. The families have their reasons, my respects to them.

  3. Pingback: Media Focus: Lindsay Lohan & The Marines «

  4. Yeah it is. I personally resent reckless post and re-post, ad nauseum. How is it respectful to the families of these fallen to keep swirling their names around on facebook, tweets and emails endlessly?

    • That is another debate in and of itself, those boys and I mean boys gave their lives so all of you can have your comments. The families lost a loved one, that is hard enough. They want people to know what was sacrificed and morn with them. I don’t think the complaint is about Amy Winehouse coverage. The issue is the cold hard facts that most Americans think nothing of freedom and the cost to keep it, they care more about the lives of the Amy winehouse’s of the world.

      To make a remark it is reckless to post and re-post the names of the fallen and think it is ok for the Media to bring up dead singers over and over, WELL your messed up it is the same thing.

      • “those boys and I mean boys gave their lives so all of you can have your comments.”

        No, sorry. They got killed fighting unnecessary wars that had nothing to do with the US Constitution. There hasn’t been a single military operation that defended the US Constitution for more than 60 years.

        Enough with the military worship.

        Civil rights activists get my respect. They lay it on the line and actually defend the Constitution every day against the government officials and corporations who threaten it daily. Carrying a gun in an international territory that poses no imminent threat to the US is not heroic. These victims deserve our pity for being misused.

      • @Anthony – I think the list of things that are not directly constitutional but have some underlying indirect constitutionality (such as the defense of allies abroad, or defense of trade interests) is quite long and could be listed until we’re blue in the face =/

      • @Anthony

        “military worship”

        I wouldn’t say that war is unnecessary and I wouldn’t call having pride in your country/military “military worship.” I don’t know if you have forgotten about 9/11 but I have not and I also know that my friend, Justin Allen, never forgot about it either. All of this war was stemmed from 9/11. I respect your opinion Anthony, but I have to say that your insensitivity is somewhat hurtful. Sgt. Justin Allen was an amazing person.. Someone who could brighten up a room just by walking into it. He had strong beliefs and held firm to them. He joined the army and became a ranger because he wanted to serve our country. He didn’t “want” to be overseas any more then you or I would want to, but he did four tours and never complained once. I’m sure every man listed were incredible people and I pray their family/friends are healing from their losses. Anthony, I hope you never have to feel the pain/anger of loosing a friend or family member to war. It’s the most hopeless feeling imaginable. I have lost family members before to illness and still I have to say that Justin’s death was the hardest. We should have pride in these men and women who volunteer to serve our country! Without them we would easily be taken over. I don’t know how I came across this conversation.. But I’m glad I did. In a way it’s good seeing Justin’s name still out there. I miss him and I know his family is missing him terribly. I didn’t mean for this comment to drag on like it is.. So I’ll end with this… It is because of our military that we still have our freedom, our men have not died in vain.. the terrorist would love to step foot on our soil if given the opportunity. I pray that God heals the hurt for all of the families/friends of the soldiers mentioned.
        And one last thing..

  5. In my opinion I honestly think people in media are all to pot, how they think normal day folk really want to know the ins and outs of how a celebrity died i.e,whether it was through too much or too little drink or drugs. I personally dont want to know how they destroy there lives because that was there own stupid fault for letting fame and fortune get to them and ruin there lives.
    On the other hand I personally would like to be to honour the fallen that we loose in battle whether british or american or any allied force helping us in this time of need, I understand and feel for the families at these dreadful times, so the media should gave them grace and just inform us of the number of casualties and nationalities and leave it at that instead of giving the families extra grief that they dont need.

    • unfortunately people do want to know the drama of celebs or they would not be watching. and more and more of celebs would not have their own reality shows.

  6. Yes it an interesting point you raise, something that has been on my mine for a while.
    Knowing the names and lives of the brave men, women and innocence that are loss in conflicts, be it right or wrong should be taking presidencies over trivial matters such as Lindsey Lohan struggles with live, our society today seems to be filled with trash news and an explosion of pointless gossip that if we spent more time on what matters and an understanding of what matters in life -We all would be in a better place.
    My heartfelt condolence to the loved ones lost

  7. What is a bit scary is that I saw this posted on Facebook TODAY (Sept 15, 2011). These poor men lost their lives a year ago. I fully support honoring those overseas, regardless of whether we should be there in the first place or not. But it sickens me to see these REAL PEOPLE being turned into a Facebook Toy for propaganda. People fail to realize these names mean something to everyone who knew these men. Turning them into a propaganda tool a FULL YEAR later makes me sick.

  8. Anthony…. those boys didn’t decide to go to war…. they weren’t asked if they wanted to go to war….. they were ordered to go to war….. if the war was wrong, then blame who was responsible for that war, not those boys…… the people who were responsible are adults, not boys……
    I personally think we were right in going to Afghanistan and going after who was responsible for 9/11…… we were wrong in pulling out and going to Iraq and coming back to Afghanistan…. we should have stayed until we got bin Laden and then come home… if we had found anyone else that had a hand in 9/11 then go get them and come home, but we didn’t find anyone else that had a hand in 9/11, so Afghanistan should have been it….

    • Those young men were not drafted; they chose to serve their country. Some barely 18 yrs old—what makes me sick is the recruiters going into high schools & brainwashing these young men into throwing their lives away. THOSE are the adults who should be ashamed. Don’t get me wrong, I honor & I am grateful for these young men & women & to their families who made the ultimate sacrifice. I just see the war “effort” from a different perspective & believe these young people & their families were taken advantage of in the worst way. You better get your facts a bit more accurate, Saudi Arabia is much more responsible for 9/11 that Iraq or Afghanistan

  9. I also searched some of the names just to see if the emailer was telling the truth about them dying last week. As you stated last week was a week in July, 2010. I just received it today (2/22/12). It’s a shame that people can’t stick to the facts. The facts speak for themselves and the truth doesn’t need to be stretched or ignored. But the fact is a Marine, Army, UK soldier dying is no longer news to anyone but the family and friends. And that is the way it should be other than reporting that death to the nation. The nation needs to hear about the cost of their freedom. That family doesn’t want their grief all over the news. Neither did Whitney’s family but that is the price of fame. We don’t have to read the emails (but we do) and we don’t have to watch the news (but we do). These young men have all been buried and hopefully their families are rejoicing the time they had with them.

  10. Here is your next research project. Take a look at how many servicemen/women from NJ died in combat action since Gov Christie has been running NJ, and see how many of them he lowered the state flag to half staff for. The point of the story is that America does not know what a hero is any more. We spend our time worshiping at the alter of the Hollywood or sports world losers and forget that these people are nothing but entertainers. They ad nothing to the lives of real people other than something to laugh at. Are we really so in awe of Whitney the druggie Houston that we actually have to have a video clip of a plane taking off that the news tells us is carrying her body? If that is where you find value for your life maybe you need to get a life.

    • Being a soldier does not automatically make you a hero. You can be a hero to your kids, but that doesn’t warrant you a state half-staff. A soldier may be a hero to the family and community he came from, and to his squadron/etc-mates, but actual deeds warrant state-wide half-staffs, not “being a soldier.”

      Also, those who demand to be called heroes are neither, nor deserve to be called, heroes.

      • So you’re saying that being able to hit a good high note and donating a fraction of your millions of $’s to some charities is of more value than sacrificing your life for your country? You have a warped set of values. The argument from Louis was not that these individuals were just “being a soldier”. You’re correct that just walking around in a uniform does not entitle you to half-staff honor. Neither does being a singing, drug addict, wreck of an individual. However, offering your life for your country should warrant you that honor. Whitney donating a few thousand $’s out of the few million she made during her career is not a sacrifice. Admirable, yes. But not a sacrifice.

  11. The point of the email appears to be the media and President Obama’s perverse view of people who matter to America. Celebrities and thuggish young men such as Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown, versus those who lose their lives in service to their country.

    The president in particular has misplaced priorities.

  12. Reposting the same msg concerning the same Marines 6 yrs after the fact? Like it was this week? 1. That information was available in the news in July 2010. 2. We honor deceased military every Memorial Day. If someone wants to post photos on the anniversary of their passing, they should be more professional and state it is such…not that they passed this week….sure why not Chris Kyle got his own day on the anniversary of his passing and he didnt even die on active duty.., he wrote a book and had a movie made.

  13. I don’t see anything wrong with sharing it. It is NOT a hoax and puts the truth out there regardless. They STILL died in the Middle East defending what they believed to be true so…..they CARED about THEIR country America so………YOUR point is moot!!!

    • The wrongness is that:

      1. It wasn’t last week (Lindsay Lohan is now 30, that’s how old it is),
      2. It offers nonsensical speculation about who gets more press when it would naturally not even have made the press to begin with because it was so long ago,
      3. Several of the soldiers listed aren’t even Marines.

      I would argue that you are doing a disservice to the deceased, notably those in uniform, by spreading false information about them, especially even having known the true version that you have right in front of your face.

      If you want to share it, consider modifying it to make it actually true, then.

      People are risking their own credibility as a source of true information, by sharing false information mixed with fact, just because of good intentions. Good intentions are worthless, if you get all the facts wrong.

  14. It’s almost December 2016, and it’s still being posted as “this week,” because some people see “you must share this, if you truly respect our military members,” and they blindly re-re-re-post it. Unless they live under a rock, how can they not have seen this (and seen it fact-checked) numerous times already?
    And for the record, it’s “defusing explosives.” The word “diffusing” means something entirely different.
    May we never forget these heroes, but let’s get the facts of their service and their sacrifices straight before posting on the Internet.
    –From a Vietnam Era veteran

  15. “…to the people that those soldiers mattered the most.” I don’t know any of those Marines or their families, but they matter “the most” to all Americans because all Americans benefit from their service and sacrifice.

  16. Being as I am a Gold Star Mother, the parents of our Fallen want their children’s name spoken… not hushed up or whispered. Remember them by speaking their names out loud!!! NEVER FORGOTTEN

    • Agreed, it doesn’t matter if they died yesterday or a year ago; point is—they did die in service to their country. we get that & honor it. It just is irritating that FB posts don’t stick with the facts.
      Mam—please never think your son’s sacrifice—your sacrifice, will ever be forgotten. It will not

  17. I want to say this my condolence to the families of these soldiers, my prayers and respect for there brave sacrificed service!

    • The downplaying is the “this week” part of it being a lie. Which is better, honoring those who died in truth, or incessantly exploiting their deaths with lies in the name of patriotism? Who did actually die, this week, if you’re so concerned?

  18. Thank you for sharing this. I just saw the exact story and names posted on my FB page and wondered why I had not seen it this week. You just explained it. Why do people do this trash post like that?

  19. I just found a 2018 incarnation of this forward, which reads, “R.I.P. Justin Allen 23, Brett Linley 29, Matthew Weikert 29, Justus Bartett 27, Dave Santos 21, Jesse Reed 26, Matthew Johnson 21, Zachary Fisher 24, Brandon King 23, Christopher Goeke 23, and Sheldon Tate 27…. All are Marines who gave their lives this week for you. There’s no media for them… not even a mention of their names. We’re too busy talking about trying to get “Baby It’s Cold Outside” off of the radio. Please honor them by copying and pasting this post.”

  20. If one of these were my child, I would definitely want it broadcasted –
    To remember his life and the life he gave for his country.

    • Agreed, but I think most of us commenting here are taking issue with the brainless parroting of it. There’s too much faux outrage over “Lyndsey [Britney, Kardashian, whoever] got this much attention, and these Marines who died last week got none.” When somebody can’t even get the date or other facts right, then it’s not a thoughtful remembrance, it’s just half-assed sharing-because-it says-to-share-it. That’s how hoaxes (and sometimes malware) get spread.
      Likewise, anything with the phrase “Facebook banned this, so share the hell out of it” attached is complete crap. An image such as a Marine amputee in dress uniform, saluting, should be shared on its own merits, not because some doofus somewhere had to start a false narrative that Facebook banned the photo. Same with the crap about the sentinels at the Tomb of the Unknown living under the tomb so they can be on duty instantly, and that they can’t drink alcoholic beverages for the rest of their lives.. Seriously? Whoever thinks up that crap should be denied access to a computer for the rest of their life.
      I’d have a low tolerance for such BS even if I weren’t a veteran. I see it as a pretty lame way of honoring those fallen warriors and our disabled veterans. It’s not a proper honor for their sacrifices.

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