Just not a priority anymore to those who decide what gets reported.
*Graphic courtesy of the Media Research Center
This past April, a whistleblower at the VA Medical Center in Phoenix revealed to the world that agency officials were falsifying their wait lists in exchange for bigger bonuses and the appearance of efficiency. The scandal gave birth to a flurry of media activity, and journalists, politicians, and the public joined together in their demand for answers–how could this have happened to the people who risk everything to protect us?
That outcry was short lived.
According to a report by the Media Research Center, the mainstream media has drastically cut back on how much screen time they’re devoting to the ongoing crisis at the VA:
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.
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 ten months, the networks managed just 14 more stories, ignoring the damning developments.
So, what did the mainstream media deem more important than veterans dying due to lack of medical care? The OJ Simpson trial, and the opening of the world’s largest water slide, apparently.
It would be unfair to blame the mainstream media for the American public’s ongoing “scandal fatigue” and growing indifference to political scandals; this, however, feels different. The story is still developing. Or, is it?
Perhaps in a sign of things to come, the month ended with only the NBC Nightly News reporting on the nomination of Robert McDonald to be the new Secretary of Veterans Affairs. On June 30, anchor Brian Williams only allowed meager 22 seconds on how this impacted the future of the VA.
The Obama Administration’s problem with this scandal, and thus the mainstream media’s problem, is that it affects both sides of the aisle. The left realizes how risky it is to attempt to put veterans in a box and turn this into a purely “Republican” problem, and the mainstream media is acting accordingly by ignoring it as opposed to reporting on it.
Progressives know that losing the empathy of the public over a scandal involving veterans would be fatal. What’s troubling is the media’s willingness to go to great lengths to embrace the Administration’s incompetence and cowardice.