ABC, CBS Ignore Upcoming VA Secretary Confirmation Hearing; Will Networks Cover News Tonight?

ABC’s Good Morning America and CBS This Morning both ignored the news Tuesday morning that President Obama’s nominee to become the next Secretary of the scandal-ridden Department of Veterans Affairs will testify today on Capitol Hill in his confirmation hearing. 

NBC’s Today did cover the news, but only in the form of a 24 second news brief during the 7:00 a.m. hour from news reader Natalie Morales. Morales reported that: “VA Secretary nominee Robert McDonald will be in the spotlight today when he goes before the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee for a nomination hearing. The former Proctor and Gamble Chairman, President, and CEO was nominated by President Obama last month as the permanent replacement for Eric Shinseki. Shinseki resigned in May in the scandal for long waits of appointments and secret waiting lists at VA medical centers.” [MP3 audio here; Video below]

The confirmation hearing comes as Congress is considering legislation to increase funding for the department. Competing bills have passed each of the respective chambers and now face a future that an Associated Press article characterized as “decidedly rockier” than McDonald’s confirmation before the Senate. The bill that passed the Senate would provide the VA $35 billion through 2016 in order to, “build new clinics, hire doctors, and make it easier for veterans who can’t get prompt appointments with VA doctors to get outside care.”

Instead of even giving a brief mention to the latest developments, Good Morning America devoted a pop culture news brief to a cat-sized hamster wheel for cats to exercise on while CBS This Morning reported that one Michigan jail will change its prisoner uniforms to black and white stripes from orange for both men and women after the Netflix show Orange is the New Black has made the traditional orange jump suits “a hit with the fashion police” and led non-inmates to wear them as street clothing.

It remains to be seen whether ABC, CBS, and NBC will cover this story in their evening newscasts tonight. As the Media Research Center has documented, the coverage of the VA scandal in the months since May when the scandal first broke has plummeted dramatically.


The complete transcript from the July 22 news brief on Today is transcribed below.

NBC 

Today

July 22, 2014

7:13 a.m. Eastern

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Happening Today; VA Confirmation Hearing; Nominee Robert McDonald Faces Committee]

NATALIE MORALES: VA Secretary nominee Robert McDonald will be in the spotlight today when he goes before the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee for a nomination hearing. The former Proctor and Gamble Chairman, President, and CEO ,was nominated by President Obama last month as the permanent replacement for Eric Shinseki. Shinseki resigned in May in the scandal for long waits of appointments and secret waiting lists at VA medical centers. 

Curtis Houck
Curtis Houck
Curtis Houck is a news analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division