It's not often that media outlets ignore their own scoops, but that's what ABC is doing. The network has (thus far) relegated to its website the latest details on the decision by the Obama Defense Department to deny Purple Hearts to the victims of the Fort Hood massacre. The rest of the networks have also skipped this story. ABC "obtained" a Pentagon position paper on the subject, but still failed to give it network coverage.
It was ABC alone that highlighted the story back in February. On February 12, Brian Ross explained the impact of the decision to deny Purple Hearts: "...Former Staff Sgt. Shawn Manning, who still has bullets lodged in his body, says he has lost almost $70,000 in benefits otherwise available to those with combat-related injuries." So far, World News, Nightline and Good Morning America (as well as NBC and CBS) have failed to cover the newest details of the story. In fact, ABC has done nothing since February.
In contrast, Fox News in the last few days has highlighted the Purple Heart decision on The Five, Fox and Friends and the O'Reilly Factor. Retired Lieutenant Colonel Tony Shaffer appeared on the Factor to discuss the case's implications and the Obama administration's claims. [MP3 audio here.]
On ABCNews.com, Ned Berkowitz explained:
A Pentagon position paper, delivered to congressional staff on Friday and obtained by ABC News, says giving the award to the Fort Hood victims could "irrevocably alter the fundamental character of this time-honored decoration" and "undermine the prosecution of Major Nidal Hasan [the alleged Fort Hood shooter] by materially and directly compromising Major Hasan's ability to receive a fair trial."
The online-only article reminded:
Many of the Fort Hood victims also filed a lawsuit against the military alleging the "workplace violence" designation means that in addition to not receiving Purple Hearts, they are receiving lower priority access to medical care as veterans, and a loss of financial benefits available to those whose injuries are classified as "combat related."
In the ABCNews.com article, Berkowitz even trumpeted his network's investigation, showcasing how his colleagues got results:
[Texas Congressman John] Carter re-introduced the legislation in February in the wake of an ABC News investigation detailing claims by victims that they have been neglected by the military. In a report that aired on "World News with Diane Sawyer" and "Nightline," former police sergeant Kimberly Munley, who helped stop the Ft. Hood shooting, said she felt "betrayed" by President Obama and that he broke a promise to make sure the victims would be well taken care of.
Will ABC follow-up on its own story? At the very least, the journalists there covered the allegations. CBS and NBC skipped the story at the time and still aren't reporting on it now. Imagine the outcry if a Republican White House faced such claims.
-- Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center. Click here to follow him on Twitter.