LA Times: A Medium of One?

The Los Angeles Times recently created a stir among the Pentagon press corps, running a page one story implying that the Defense Department was cheating wounded warriors out of their disability pay.

The LAT shared the story of a Marine “wounded twice in Iraq -- by a roadside bomb and a land mine” and a soldier who “crushed her back and knees diving for cover during a mortar attack in Iraq.”  The LAT indignantly reported: “…in each case, the Pentagon ruled that their disabilities were not combat related.”  

A Department of Defense official tells me that a number of prominent MSM Pentagon correspondents were ready to take the Pentagon to task, but all ultimately dropped the story.  Why?  It turns out that, upon investigation, the LAT’s page-one piece was mostly fiction.

“They’re just flat wrong” said the Pentagon’s Undersecretary for Military Personnel Policy Bill Carr, “we have no such policy, and never have.”  Carr clarified that “as for the two wounded warriors described in the article, both were separated under programs giving special, additional and full benefits reserved for the combat wounded.”    

Meanwhile, I’m informed that the Florida Times Union—which ran the LAT story on its own front page—promises to correct the record by printing the Pentagon’s side of the story soon.

But while the rest of the media has backed off the story, the LAT has reportedly told the Pentagon it has no plans to correct its report. You might say the LAT stands as  . . . a Medium of One. 
Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.