AP Tries But Fails to Find a WWII Veteran Who Only Blames Congress for Shutdown

Brett Zongker, the reporter the Associated Press assigned to cover the World War II Memorial story yesterday in Washington, apparently felt compelled to try to find someone who would exclusively blame Congress for the memorial's closure. He failed, but pretended that he succeeded.

For those unfamiliar with the story, in an overrecation to the partial government shutdown, the White House, specifically, the Office of Management and Budget, ordered the open air WWII Memorial barricaded. Anyone attempting to shift the blame elsewhere, e.g., Harry Reid, isn't telling the truth. With the help of several Republican congressmen, a veterans' group there on a long-planned visit breached the "Barry-cades" and openes the memorial. Zongker's report took seven paragraphs to recognize that the congresspersons involved are Republicans, and, as noted earlier, blew his concluding attempt to assign blame (bolds are mine):


VETERANS PASS BARRIERS AT CLOSED WWII MEMORIAL

Dozens of veterans barricaded outside the closed World War II Memorial because of the government shutdown were escorted past the barriers Tuesday by members of Congress so they could see the monument.

More than 125 veterans from Mississippi and Iowa arrived for a previously scheduled visit to the memorial Tuesday morning to find it barricaded by the National Park Service. Several members of Congress escorted them inside after cutting police tape and moving barriers that blocked the memorial.

John Kleinschmidt, 87, of Ames, Iowa, said the barriers were opened just enough for his group to walk through freely by the time he arrived. Kleinschmidt trained as a flight engineer during World War II but was never deployed abroad.

"It's unfortunate that this is what happens when they know that there are busloads of veterans coming down here, and they don't have the good sense to say keep the damn thing open," he said. "These are the guys that created it."

The Honor Flight Network brings groups of World War II veterans from across the country for free to visit the memorial built in their honor on an almost daily basis.

Wayne Lennep, a volunteer with the Mississippi Coast Guard Honor Flight group, said the trip had been planned for months for a group of 91 veterans as well as family members and escorts. Their chartered plane left Gulfport, Miss., on Tuesday morning.

The veterans were met at the memorial by Sen. Roger Wicker and Reps. Steven Palazzo, Alan Nunnelee and Gregg Harper, all Mississippi Republicans. Other lawmakers joined as well. Lennep said Wicker and Palazzo have met the veterans on previous trips.

... Charles Ricketts, a veteran from Ames, Iowa, blamed Congress, not the National Park Service, for nearly ruining his group's trip.

"I'm not impressed with Congress' ability or the president," he said. "They're not showing us much leadership and judgment. It's all political."

Hey Brett. Your quote indicates the Mr. Ricketts blamed both Congress and the President, yet your previous paragraph pretends that he only blamed Congress. It looks like you tried really hard to find someone who would only blame Congress and couldn't do it. Epic fail, guy.

Twitchy.com reports that the Vietnam War Memorial was also barricaded, but that it has also been breached, as seen in this photo from Betsy Woodruff at National Review posted there:

VietWarMemPhoto100113

Tweets at that post claim that the memorial hasn't been closed during previous shutdowns, and that "those and other similar sites don't require supervision by federal employees" so were left open ... in '96."

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.