Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Media Birdbrains Skip the Story

By DOUG SIMPSON, AOL News

While the world remains fixated on the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, L.D. Manuel says people are forgetting an important fact: 11 men, including his son, died when the oil rig blew up.

"I'm following the coverage, but I don't know that I like what I'm seeing. Everyone talks about the birds and the damage to the gulf and everything, but they never talk about the guys that got hurt," said Manuel, who lost his son Blair in the explosion. "That really bothers me."

The Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded just over a month ago, on April 20, and relatives of the 11 men who were killed said that it's understandable that the news media and the public are focused on environmental concerns, government regulations, politics, the future of offshore drilling.

But they fear that the 11 victims -- their husbands, sons, grandsons, brothers -- have been forgotten.

"I can see that, definitely, the oil spill is everyone's first priority now. It's such an environmental problem. I understand that," said Nelda Winslette, whose grandson Adam Weise was killed in the blast.

"But those 11 men were trying to prevent that spill. Nothing ever gets mentioned about those men, and who they were."

A memorial service on May 1 was held for the 24-year-old Weise at the Lutheran church in Yorktown, Texas, his hometown. Relatives said it seemed the whole town came to pay their respects.

"It was filled to capacity in the balcony. That was really something, and it showed what a special young man he was. It was unfortunate he only had 24 years," Weise's sister, Judy Henze, told AOL News.

Weise was a standout lineman on the Yorktown High School football team. He was a sportsman who caught redfish, speckled trout and flounder in the gulf. He hunted deer and bobcats.

"He was a fisherman, a hunter, he was a prankster. He was the kindest hearted young man," Winslette said. "He would drop whatever he was doing to help anyone else."

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