VA Blackout: ABC, NBC Skip Veteran Being Approved for Treatment Two Years After Death
The network disinterest in the Veterans Affairs scandal intensified on Wednesday. NBC and ABC ignored the story of a man whose treatment was approved – two years after death. CBS This Morning allowed a scant 22 seconds on the topic.
Co-anchor Gayle King related, "Douglas Chase of Rutland, Vermont was diagnosed with cancer back in 2011. The drive to a Boston hospital became too much. His family wanted to move his treatment to a nearby V.A. facility." She added, "Last month, the request was approved, 22 months after Douglas Chase passed away." Considering that coverage of the scandal engulfing Barack Obama's VA dropped 84 percent in June, the scant attention for this story shouldn't be shocking. [MP3 audio here.]
A just-released study by the Media Research Center found that while the networks devoted 180 minutes in May to the controversy, only 30 minutes were allowed in June.
The Times Argus in Vermont first exposed the story of Douglas Chase:
The widow of a Rutland veteran who died from cancer two years ago said she was stunned last week to receive a letter from the Veterans Affairs hospital in Bedford, Massachusetts, approving a long-ago request for treatment.
“I opened the letter and was in utter and total disbelief,” Suzanne Chase said of the approval letter that came 22 months after her husband’s death.
Douglas W. Chase, who grew up in Rutland and served as an engineer in the Army in Vietnam, was diagnosed with cancer in 2011. By April of that year, the disease had spread through his body and he was rendered a paraplegic, his wife said.
She received a letter addressed to her husband from the federal agency.
Inside was an acceptance form inviting her husband to make an appointment to meet with a primary care provider at the hospital.
“We are committed to providing primary care in a timely manner and would greatly appreciate a prompt response,” the unsigned letter concluded.
What did the networks cover instead? ABC's Good Morning America spent two minutes on how to make your own ice cream sandwiches. NBC's Today offered four minutes on where to buy the prefect types of glasses.
A transcript of the July 2 CBS This Morning brief is below:
GAYLE KING: In Vermont, the Times Argus says the Veterans Administration approved treatment for a Vietnam vet nearly two years ago after he died. Douglas Chase of Rutland, Vermont was diagnosed with cancer back in 2011. The drive to a Boston hospital became too much. His family wanted to move his treatment to a nearby V.A. facility. Last month, the request was approved, 22 months after Douglas Chase passed away.
— Scott Whitlock is Senior News Analyst at the Media Research Center. Follow Scott Whitlock on Twitter.