"It's a trajectory to oblivion, and this is what's happening with every single Obama scandal to date." That's how Media Research Center founder and president Brent Bozell described the Big Three broadcast networks' waning interest in keeping up tabs on the VA scandal during his July 15 appearance on Fox Business Network's Cavuto program.
The veteran media watcher observed that the media's coverage of the scandal "evaporated" shortly after the May 30 resignation of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki. To watch the full segment, click play on the embed below the page break:
After Friday's World News on ABC ignored the White House report on the infamous problems with the Department of Veterans Affairs, Saturday's Good Morning America on ABC also ignored the scandal, while CBS This Morning Saturday and NBC's Today show -- both of which are two-hour programs - only ran short briefs, the one on CBS totaling 25 seconds and the one on NBC 19 seconds.
By contrast, the CBS Evening News on Friday led with the V.A. story and gave it a full report of more than two minutes. The NBC Nightly News, after initially giving the story 24 seconds on Friday, followed up Saturday evening and presented viewers a full report of almost two and a half minutes, making it the second story both evenings.
NBC's Brian Williams failing to bring up the VA scandal in his D-Day interview with President Obama was more than a simple "omission," Media Research Center president Brent Bozell told Fox News Channel's Neil Cavuto this afternoon on his Your World program.
"This was deliberate. There is no way on God's good Earth that NBC didn't feel obligated to bring it up but chose not to bring it up," Bozell noted, adding that it fits a larger pattern the liberal media have of making unfavorable-to-Obama storylines disappear from sight [watch the interview in its totality below the page break]:
Julie Pace at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, is used to carrying water for the Obama administration. Last year, she proudly reveled in how she and her wire service sat on information it had about secret U.S.-Iran negotiations for eight months. My immediate take was that "They didn't report it until the Obama administration said it would be okay to report it." The AP denied it; unfortunately for the self-described "essential global news network," another news organization confirmed that it and AP "both had versions of it independently early & were asked to not publish til end of Iran talks." There's not a chance in Hades that the AP would have similarly accommodated a Republican or conservative administration.
After that heavy lifting, Pace surely found that giving readers the impression in a Friday report about President Barack Obama's sacking of Eric Shinseki that the problems at the Department of Veterans Affairs have more to do with its growing caseload than with incompetence and potential criminality was relatively easy.
“Now it’s the president’s call,” host Chris Matthews declared as he opened Wednesday evening’s episode of Hardball with new “bad, very bad” information surrounding the VA scandal from the inspector general’s interim report on the agency.
In a segment joined by fellow MSNBC host Chuck Todd and Derek Bennett of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Matthews posed several questions showing concern for the president “keeping his word” and doing something about the latest details of the scandal:
On the May 22 edition of The Daily Rundown with Chuck Todd, the MSNBC anchor invited Paul Rieckhoff, founder and CEO of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, to discuss his organization’s reaction to the Obama’s administrations handling of the VA scandal.
While Todd seemed content to place the blame solely on the faceless VA bureaucracy, Rieckhoff hit back by suggesting the problem is exacerbated by a president who doesn’t fire incompetent or negligent administration officials quickly enough. [See transcript below page break. Video below. Click here for MP3]
Yesterday morning, President Obama made an overdue statement regarding the widening VA scandal. That afternoon, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney held his regularly scheduled Press Briefing. Understandably so, the briefing dealt primarily with the president’s statement and handling of the aforementioned scandal.
The real fireworks took place about halfway through the briefing when Jay Carney took questions from ABC Chief White House correspondent, Jon Karl. Karl spent roughly five minutes grilling the press secretary on the President’s handling or lack thereof of the recent events. For this the reporter was rewarded by his network with no air time on the Wednesday edition of World News.
Friday's World News on ABC mentioned the ongoing scandal surrounding the Veterans Administration only in passing, despite the fact their own chief White House correspondent, Jonathan Karl, hounded Press Secretary Jay Carney at the regular White House press briefing on the issue. Meanwhile, they set aside two full segments totaling seven minutes and 54 seconds of air time to Barbara Walters' departure from The View.
Diane Sawyer gave a 30-second news brief to a new development in the scandal – about one-sixteenth the amount of time that she and her newscast spent on Walters: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Since a massive scandal involving the Veterans Affairs department became public, the three networks have devoted a combined 71 minutes and 55 seconds (or 38 stories) to investigating a secret list delaying treatment to military personnel. That total time included a scant five seconds of criticism for Barack Obama. Instead, ABC, CBS and NBC focused their stories on Secretary Eric Shinseki and to assuring Americans that the President was on top of the situation.
NBC dedicated 32 minutes and 25 seconds to the revelation that up to 40 patients in Arizona died due to lack of care. CBS managed 28 minutes and two seconds and ABC allowed 11 minutes and 28 seconds. In addition to avoiding culpability for the White House, the networks got to the story late. The story broke on April 23, but NBC didn't get around to it until the May 6 Nightly News. CBS and ABC discovered the controversy for that day's morning programs.
Chris Cuomo sparred with Senator Bernie Sanders on Thursday's New Day on CNN over the left-wing politician's scheduled hearing with Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki regarding the V.A. hospitals scandal, where scores of veterans died as they waited for care. Cuomo pointed out that "the mandate for Shinseki when he was put in...was that we knew there were big lapses at the V.A. that had to be addressed, and you could argue they have not been. Isn't it time for accountability?"
When Sanders tried to shift the issue to a critique of CNN's coverage of the scandal, the anchor shot back at the Vermont senator for sounding like an apologist for the government-run health care system: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Chuck Todd, NBC News Chief White House Correspondent, political director, and host of The Daily Rundown on MSNBC is at it again minimizing the investigation into the terrorist attack in Benghazi.
Appearing on The Daily Rundown on Monday, May 12, Todd proclaimed that the recent scandal engulfing the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) “has legs and is very dangerous for the White House, much more so frankly than the partisanized Benghazi.” [See video below.]
"The nation’s largest veterans group called Monday for the resignation of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki and two top administrators due over alleged issues with quality of care and cover-ups at some VA medical centers," staff writer Josh Hicks reported in the May 6 edition of the Washington Post. "His patriotism and sacrifice for this nation are above reproach....However, his record as head of the Department of Veterans Affairs tells a different story. It's a story of poor oversight and failed leadership," Hicks quoted the American Legion's National Commander Daniel Dellinger.
But alas, Post editors shoved the story to the very bottom of page A2. By contrast, however, Post editors saw fit to trumpet the outrage of local diehard Lady Gaga fans -- who call themselves Little Monsters -- at the prospect of a concert being canceled so that the Washington Wizards might host a playoff game against the Indiana Pacers (assuming the series gets to a game 6). Here's how Dan Steinberg opened that 19-paragraph page A1 story: