Topics: Veterans Affairs

Not going away: Vets are still paying close attention to Veterans Affairs scandal despite lack of media coverage

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,White House,Barack Obama,Veterans Affairs,ABC,CBS,NBC,Veterans,Becket Adams

The nation's leading media outlets may have moved on from covering the many problems that continue to plague the Department of Veterans Affairs, but U.S. vets are still following the scandal closely, according to a recent Gallup report.

The survey, which was conducted from June 16-20 and sampled some 1,268 U.S. veterans aged 18 or older, found that 51 percent of respondents say they are following allegations of corruption, forged wait lists and widespread mismanagement at the VA “very closely.”

An additional 39 percent of veterans say they are following the scandal “somewhat closely.”

Further, the survey found that 55 percent of U.S. veterans say it is either “very” or “somewhat difficult” to get medical care through the VA.

Only 30 percent of surveyed veterans say it is either “very” or “somewhat” easy to get treatment from the VA, according to the poll, which has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.3 percentage points.



"The common perception of most veterans about the difficulty of accessing VA care, many of whom have personally used the VA system, confirms that the department is failing to meet the medical needs of many of those it is designed to serve,” Gallup reported.

“At the same time, that is not the belief or experience of all veterans, with three in 10 saying it is easy to get access to medical care through the VA," the report added.

As veterans are in the best position to assess whether the VA is doing its job well, these numbers should have everyone concerned.

Unfortunately, that does not appear to be the case.

Indeed, even as U.S. veterans and the average American continue to follow the scandal and raise questions about alleged corruption at the VA, the nation's leading networks - ABC, CBS and NBC - have already moved on from the story, exactly as I predicted they would when then-VA chief Eric Shinseki resigned in disgrace in May.

This, of course, is disappointing considering that the three networks earlier this year devoted a good deal of energy to covering the VA scandal. But it looks like that was all a short-lived fad, according to the Media Research Center.

“The coverage of this scandal, involving at least 40 veterans who died while awaiting care, has been problematic from the start. The story broke on April 23, but the networks didn’t get around to it until 13 days later, May 6. But the 180 minutes of coverage in May faded substantially in June,” the report noted.

“This pattern follows the waning interest in the Internal Revenue Service targeting of conservative groups. In May of 2013, ABC, CBS and NBC devoted 52 stories the first week. That plummeted to seven by week three and just one by week five. Over the next 10 months, the networks managed just 14 more stories, ignoring the damning developments,” it added.



Now some may look at the sharp decline in VA scandal reporting and conclude that the networks are in the bag for the White House, actively ignoring a major story in an attempt to circle the wagons around President Obama.

But the shift away from VA reporting is more likely the product of the infamously narrow NYC/DC mindset that says: “Because we in this group are all talking about ‘X,’ ‘X’ must surely be the most important thing in America. Because we’re very serious people who talk about very serious things.”

Apparently, the VA scandal is no longer considered very serious by certain very serious journalists.

It’s this closed-minded view of the news that has made many reporters and major networks lazy, uninteresting, predictable and ultimately worthless.

Luckily, these people count for a very small percentage of the nation’s population. So not all is lost. People still care about important issues, including the VA scandal.

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