CBS’s SEAL Team has been mostly quiet this season regarding social issues. In its place, recent episodes have taken a deeper perspective into the lives of soldiers during and after deadly missions. This week's episode offers the latest example with a critical look at Veterans Affairs.
For a media wallowing in the toxic political culture, one would think Friday’s bill signing of a massive overhaul at the scandal-ridden Department of Veterans Affairs (V.A.) would provide a chance to show that Washington has accomplished something. Alas, it was not to be as ABC and NBC refused to directly cover this bipartisan achievement for the Trump administration.
Late Tuesday afternoon, CNN and MSNBC were both granted interviews with Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and while both had to nearly identical run times (seven minutes and 44 seconds on CNN versus seven minutes and 47 seconds on MSNBC), the two differed on a variety of issues ranging from Clinton’s e-mail scandal to her refusal to hold a press conference to the VA scandal.
On Thursday evening, the major English and Spanish broadcast networks failed to cover an explosive, new investigation released early Thursday afternoon by USA Today revealing that Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals in seven states have been falsifying wait times, marking yet another piece in the multi-year VA scandal.
In an absurd attempt by Washington Monthly to claim that the scandal at the Veteran’s Affairs Department was “invented” by the Koch brothers in order to “dismantle the country’s most successful health care system,” the liberal publication made numerous false statements that were contradicted by the agency’s own inspector general report.
On Wednesday night, NBC Nightly News neglected to inform its viewers of a new report concerning the scandal-ridden Department of Veterans Affairs and the $142 million it paid out in bonuses to employees (including some who were facing discipline and/or recently fired). Compiled by the House Veterans Affairs Committee, the report stated that some of those who received bonuses still got them despite the fact that “several of them were under investigation or accused of mismanagement.”
On Thursday night, the top English and Spanish broadcast networks made no mention of the latest surrounding the Department of Veterans Affairs scandal as an Associated Press (AP) investigation found that the number of delays for veterans seeking care has not improved as the scandal approaches its first anniversary.
The Indianapolis Star reported on Monday that it had obtained emails from an employee at the Indianapolis VA hospital who mocked returning combat veterans who were facing mental health issues and committed suicide. On Monday night, both the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley and NBC Nightly News failed to cover this story.
Each of the network morning shows devoted some time on Wednesday to looking back at the biggest news stories of year and, while they certainly could not have included every story in the allotted time, they all failed to spend even a few seconds on topics such as Jonathan Gruber, pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, President Obama’s unpopularity, and the Hobby Lobby case to name a few.
In addition, the “big three” of ABC, CBS, and NBC each mentioned the midterm elections and how Republicans were able to win control of the Senate (in addition to the House), they devoted a scant 21 seconds to the topic over the course of their roundups, which totaled 42 minutes and 50 seconds.
Despite a four-hour running time, NBC's Today on Tuesday completely ignored the latest developments in the still evolving Veterans Affairs scandal. ABC's Good Morning America and CBS This Morning allowed a combined 30 seconds to the news that the head of the Phoenix VA hospital has been removed.
As reported on Tuesday night, two of the three major broadcast networks covered a new report from the Office of the Inspector General at the Department of Veterans Affairs on the scandal-ridden agency and its Phoenix VA hospital that led to a nationwide investigation of delayed wait times and secret waiting lists.
While the coverage was mixed with ABC’s World News with Diane Sawyer completely omitting the story, the coverage in print and online sources such as Politico, the Associated Press, and The Washington Post completely missed the boat.
On Tuesday evening, NBC Nightly News offered a soft news brief on the scandal-ridden Veterans Affairs (VA) Administration by promoting President Barack Obama’s calls that the VA’s many issues will be fixed on his watch. In addition, substitute anchor Lestor Holt made quick mention of an inspector general’s report that the actions of the agency in delays in veterans waiting for care did not result in any veteran’s death.
What NBC Nightly News failed to mention in their one-sided report was that skepticism surrounding the VA remains as both widows of veterans who died awaiting care and one of the whistle-blowers who brought the problems at the VA to light are publically raising doubts about the report’s findings. [MP3 audio here; Video below]