Of the three morning shows on Monday, NBC and ABC ignored the latest controversy enveloping the scandal-plagued Veterans Affairs department. Only CBS This Morning bothered to cover the news that the VA has problems paying men and women compensation for service-related injuries. This Morning co-host Charlie Rose sped through the story in just 21 seconds.[MP3 audio here.]
Rose quickly related, "The agency is now accused of sloppiness and improper work, paying claims to veterans injured while serving." USA Today broke the story with writer Gregg Zoroya explaining, "While the VA managed last year to reduce a huge backlog in veteran claims for money, it was at the expense of appeals to those decision which are rapidly mounting, according to testimony slated for Monday by the VA Office of Inspector General."
He added that a new report warns of "potentially inflated success rate in reducing a controversial backlog and over-paying veterans by hundreds of millions of dollars."
According to Zoroya:
In response, the VA released the written testimony that will also be delivered at Monday's hearing by Allison Hickey, undersecretary for benefits who says the VA enjoyed "tremendous success" cutting into a backlog of delayed compensation claims.
Compensation for injuries or wounds incurred during military service is one of the most costly programs within the VA, expected to be $73 billion paid out to veterans this year alone.The money accounts for about half the VA's budget.
That portion of the VA that provides medical care to veterans is under investigation by the inspector general and Justice Department lawyers for systemic delays in care and fabricating false wait times to improve treatment performance numbers.
Instead of covering this development, ABC's Good Morning America devoted almost five and a half minutes to Actress Cameron Diaz promoting her new movie Sex Tape. NBC's Today similarly ignored the story and focused a minute and a half on the 30th anniversary Ghostbusters trailer.
A July 1 report by the Media Research Center found that coverage of the VA scandal overall dropped 84 percent in June from the previous month.
A transcript of the July 14 CBS This Morning brief is below:
CHARLIE ROSE: USA Today says a congressional hearing today looks at a new VA scandal. The agency is now accused of sloppiness and improper work, paying claims to veterans injured while service. The VA's Office of the Inspector General is expected to testify that the VA may have overstated how much it cuts its backlog and it may have overpaid its veterans hundreds of millions of dollars.