Michelle Black wants to know what is gained by publicizing the heartrending details of her husband’s death.


As CNN reports, Staff Sgt. Bryan Black was among the four soldiers killed in the October 4 attack on a U.S. Special Forces team in Niger. While the U.S. Department of Defense and the White House have been careful about the information released on the attack — saying only that there is an investigation going on — some media outlets have released numerous reports about how and where the soldiers died.

Some of those reports have included speculative (and upsetting) details. And that’s what prompted Michelle to speak out.

In a Facebook post, the grieving wife began by thanking the kindhearted response of the American people:

At a time when my family and the families of those who died in Niger need support and respect for our privacy, the American people and the military community have been true to what I know of them. The public’s support has been overwhelmingly kind, and the outpouring of support and love has been a true testament of the American spirit and the American way.

But she has not been as impressed by the way the media have been behaving, whom she says are using the deaths to push their particular political narrative. She wrote:

In a beautiful show of twisted “need to know”, the media (Washington Post, CNN, Fox News, and many others) has released a new wave of articles detailing just how mangled they believe the bodies of our husbands, fathers and sons were when recovered. This was of course backed up with the “solid research” of interviewing a local villager.

Despite the example of the Defense Department — which Michelle points out is holding back information until the investigation is done — the media has plowed ahead in releasing the awful details of the way the soldiers were treated.

As Michelle wrote, those stories have had a terrible effect on the families of the soldiers involved:

Fortunately, the media knows better than the Department of Defense, so now my children and the other soldiers’ children will forever be able to google and read all about these things. Strangers to my family can know deeply personal things about the state of my husband’s body, the man that I love, and those of the men he died alongside, because somehow the media has decided you “need to know”.

She continued by asking who benefits by parading these details — and whether a boost in ratings is worth causing so much pain to the families:

What is to be gained by detailing the condition of my husband’s body on a national stage? Viewership for media outlets and added pain and suffering for the families of those whose died? Do my children really need an account of their fathers’ corpse discussed in print? Whether he was fully clothed or found only wearing his socks, his hands tied or free? He was their hero and he was mine. What else matters?

In a GoFundMe campaign created to help the Black family, there is a description of the father and husband that Michelle and her children would like to remember:

Bryan Black was an incredible man and was the very best this country has to offer. He had an unquenchable thirst for knowledge, was a true disciple of Christ, and natural born leader. […] Despite his many talents and unbelievable achievements the only thing this humble man would ever brag about was his loving wife Michelle and their two young sons Ezekiel and Isaac, ages 11 and nine. […] He was an amazing father, guardian, and mentor, always ensuring his family followed Gods word and guiding his boys on Christ’s path to manhood.

Michelle concluded by reaching out to the other families involved in the Niger attack, extending her condolences and hoping that they, too, would be able to protect their loved one’s memory. She wrote:

“I pray for each of you to find peace right now and hope to God the media will allow it. May the ones we love dearly keep their dignity in death despite the media coverage.”

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