Last week, Wednesday, June 18, 2014, Jeremy Meeks was arrested on five weapon charges and one gang charge. The Stockton Police Department posted his mug shot, along with three others also arrested, on their Facebook page to inform their publics. The last thing they expected to do was catapult Meeks into Internet stardom.
The Internet population erupted upon seeing this criminal’s mug shot, creating memes, fan pages and even the hashtag #FreeJeremyMeeks. What about this man created such a viral sensation; enough for him to have over 200,000 likes on Facebook and approximately $4,000 (and rising) worth of donations towards his bail? He has good looks.
Donned the “handsome felon,” Meeks has stolen hearts of women across the nation. The media is swooning over him, relentlessly addressing his “icy” eyes and “chiseled features.” Modeling agencies have made statements, discussing potential modeling jobs for Armani and Versace for up to $30,000 a month.
While the media buzz circled around the convicted felon, Kyle Carpenter received a Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry for his displayed courage when serving as an automatic rifleman in Iraq in 2010. He shielded a fellow Marine from an enemy hand grenade, suffering catastrophic injuries from his eyes down.
This is a prime example of how distorted the media can be. Rather than celebrate a courageous American hero, we are more interested in a convict who happens to be attractive. Although not all media outlets covered Meeks’ story, and Kyle Carpenter was featured in various articles, it is interesting to see what media outlets prioritize as breaking news. In addition, because Meeks’ fame was triggered by social media rather than traditional, it seems as if we as media consumers are more interested in appearance rather than character. Not only does this instance generate the question of what media outlets find more newsworthy, but it also inquires what stories we find more interesting.
Below is a link to the original Facebook post from the Stockton Police Department, as well as links to his Facebook fan page and articles on both Meeks and Carpenter.
This guest blog post was written by PRowl staff member Tyler Cameron.