Why is this local military death a non-story? (Updates added)

Screen Shot 2014-06-03 at 12.52.55 PMBy now you know the story of the Obama administration swap of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl for five high-value terrorists who are deemed the equivalent of generals in Taliban. Under Obama’s deal, we get a soldier who is at best a deserter and at worst a traitor, and the Taliban get five guys who have to sit out a red-shirt year in Qatar eating dates before they start killing Americans again.

What is not being reported by most of the mainststream media is that at least six soldiers died trying to get Bergdahl back when he left his post unarmed and wandered into Taliban hands, on purpose, it seems certain, not by accident. To understand just how much the media are downplaying and even ignoring the unsavory parts of the Bergdahl bio, consider this: One of the six soldiers who died as a result of Bergdahl’s irresponsible walkabout was 23-year-old Pvt. Morris Walker, who was originally from Fayetteville but who spent four years at UNC-Chapel Hill. The military lists his home as Chapel Hill. This is from TIME magazine online:

Staff Sergeant Clayton Bowen, 29, of San Antonio, Texas, and Private 1st Class Morris Walker, 23, of Chapel Hill, N.C., were killed by a roadside bomb in Paktika province on Aug. 18, 2009, while trying to find Bergdahl. Like Bergdahl, they were part of the 4th BCT from Fort Richardson, Alaska.

Here’s more info on Walker, who was known as “Mo” to his friends and family, from an online obituary.

Admittedly, I was only a newspaper reporter and editor for more than 30 years, so what do I know, but back in the day if you had a local person who was tied to a big national story, you did a story on that person. I searched the archives of The News & Observer, The Charlotte Observer, The Herald-Sun of Durham, and the Fayetteville Observer and the search for “Pvt. Morris Walker” came up dry. Here is the proof:

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What this means, too, is that none of these papers saw fit to run Walker’s name when he first died trying to save Bergdahl.

UPDATE: A couple of people emailed to say that when they searched for Pfc. Morris Walker (instead of Pvt. Morris Walker) they got a story of his death in The News & Observer and also in The Herald-Sun, which just goes to show how bad newspaper archives are. Still, apparently no stories linking him to Bergdahl yet.

UPDATE 2: Greg Phillips of the Fayetteville Observer informs me that they had a story today linking Walker with Bergdahl. Good for them, and sorry for impugning them.

Written by

JonHam

Jon Ham joined the John Locke Foundation on Feb. 21, 2005. Prior to joining JLF he had worked for The Herald-Sun newspapers in Durham, NC, for 19 years, 13 of those as managing editor and four as director of digital publishing. He has worked for newspapers in Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina and Virginia, and also worked for four years as a gubernatorial press secretary. He has a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and a master's degree in political science from Auburn University. He did three years of doctoral work in political science at Duke University before joining The Durham Sun in 1985.

One comment

  1. Mo Walker was UNC’s first and so far only alum to die in the Afghanistan war. Here’s a bio of him on the UNC General Alumni Association web page:

    http://alumni.unc.edu/veterans/veteran.asp?pid=711120189

    Comment by Barry Smith on June 3, 2014 at 1:58 pm

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