NBC Ignores VA Chief Comparing Lines for Medical Treatment to Disney

Late Monday afternoon a news story broke that left many furious, the head of the Veteran’s Administration was caught on video saying he doesn’t think the wait times for medical care matter. “Days to an appointment is really not what we should be measuring,” said Secretary Bob McDonald heartlessly, “When you go to Disney, do they measure the number of hours you wait in line...What's important is, what is your satisfaction with the experience?” And of the big three networks, NBC was the only one who did not give the story any time at all during their evening news broadcast.

An inspector general's report from February found that at one outpatient clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado, out of 450 cases, 288 veterans waited over 30 days for a consult or appointment,” CBS’s Julianna Goldman reported. Goldman also reported that McDonald’s comments drew swift condemnation from Republican leaders. “House Speaker Paul Ryan tweeted, "This is not make-believe, Mr. Secretary. Veterans have died waiting in those lines,” Goldman repeated.

Although ABC did do a report they only gave it a mere 51 seconds of air time. “Bob McDonald is charged with improving the scandal-plagued agency, including veterans experiencing long wait times for appointments,” reported World News Tonight host David Muir. The host seemed to cast a hint of doubt on the fact that veterans have died waiting for treatment from VA medical centers, “Some say they’re even dying before getting treatment.

Both ABC and CBS reported that the agency is still plagued by inefficiency and delays in treatment, despite claims from McDonald that they are improving. “A report from a watchdog group tonight says vets enrolling for the first time can still wait months to be seen,” said Muir rounding out his report.

With an instituted standard of ignoring wait times for those in need, it’s no wonder the VA has barely moved the needle in the right direction.

Not only did NBC not feel the need to report on the story, but neither did Univision nor Telemundo. 

Transcripts below: 

CBS
Evening News
May 23, 2016
6:47:06 PM Eastern 

NORAH O’DONNELL: Today, the man recruited by President Obama to fix the Department of Veteran Affairs compared wait times at VA hospitals to long lines at Disney theme parks. Julianna Goldman reports it wasn't long before he took incoming.

[Cuts to video]

BOB MCDONALD: When you go to Disney, do they measure the number of hours you wait in line or the number... What's important? What's important is, what is your satisfaction with the experience?

 JULIANNA GOLDMAN: The comments from Secretary Bob McDonald prompted an immediate outcry from leading Republicans. House Speaker Paul Ryan tweeted, "This is not make-believe, Mr. Secretary. Veterans have died waiting in those lines." And presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump tweeted, "I will take care of our vets.”

McDonald was brought on by president Obama in 2014 to fix the wait time, but the problems continue. An inspector general's report from February found that at one outpatient clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado, out of 450 cases, 288 veterans waited over 30 days for a consult or appointment.

[Cuts back to live]

Investigations are ongoing, Norah. In a statement the VA said it's working hard to increase access to care and it's focusing on patients with the most urgent health care needs first.

...

ABC
World News Tonight
May 23, 2016
6:43:15 PM Eastern 

DAVID MUIR: Back here at home now, and to a controversy at the Veteran's Administration today. Its chief comparing care and the lines at the VA Hospitals to lines at the amusement park. Bob McDonald is charged with improving the scandal-plagued agency, including veterans experiencing long wait times for appointments. Some say they’re even dying before getting treatment. Today, McDonald was asked about those wait times today, and here is his answer.

Tell the Truth 2016

BOB MCDONALD: Days to an appointment is really not what we should be measuring. When you go to Disney, do they measure the number of hours you wait in line or, you know, what's important? What's important is, what's your satisfaction with the experience?

MUIR: McDonald says wait times have improved, but a report from a watchdog group tonight says vets enrolling for the first time can still wait months to be seen. There is reaction to this story and we'll stay on it.

Tell the Truth 2016 NB Daily Health Care Military ABC World News Tonight CBS CBS Evening News NBC NBC Nightly News Video David Muir Norah O'Donnell Julianna Goldman

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