ABC, NBC Ignore Report Showing Obama Administration Knew About Ongoing VA Problems

Documents obtained by the Washington Times revealed that the Bush Administration warned the Obama Administration about problems within the Veterans Administration as early as 2008, yet both the ABC and NBC evening news broadcasts ignored the story on Monday, May 19. 

Of the big three networks, only the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley covered the new revelations in the VA scandal. CBS News host Scott Pelley noted that “The Bush White House was so concerned about this back in 2008 that it warned the incoming Obama Administration.” [See video below.]

CBS Evening News and Fox News’ Special Report with Bret Baier were the only evening news programs to cover the report while NBC Nightly News and ABC World News remained silent. CBS News Chief White House Correspondent Major Garrett described the memo as such:

This memo prepared for president-elect Obama's transition team by the George W. Bush administration outlined the difficulties veterans faced in obtaining timely healthcare. “The problems and causes associated with scheduling, waiting times and waiting lists are systemic.” 

It urged the Veterans Administration to “properly document desired appointment dates and ensure patient waiting times are accurate.” Failure to do so the memo warned would affect “quality of care by delaying and potentially denying deserving veterans timely care.” 

While NBC and ABC ignored the latest in the VA scandal, NBC Nightly News had time to provide a full report on the death of Gordon Willis, an American cinematographer most famous for his work in the Godfather film series. ABC World News ran a full segment on a holographic performance of Michael Jackson from Sunday’s Billboard Music Awards.

See relevant transcript below. 


CBS

CBS Evening News

May 19, 2014 

6:40 p.m. Eastern 

SCOTT PELLEY: Veterans’ medical care is the focus of an investigation into whether vets have died while waiting for treatment at VA hospitals. Today we learned that the Bush White House was so concerned about this back in 2008 that it warned the incoming Obama Administration. Major Garrett has the story. 

MAJOR GARRETT: This memo, prepared for president-elect Obama's transition team by the George W. Bush administration outlined the difficulties veterans faced in obtaining timely healthcare. “The problems and causes associated with scheduling, waiting times and waiting lists are systemic.” It urged the Veterans Administration to “properly document desired appointment dates and ensure patient waiting times are accurate.” Failure to do so the memo warned would affect “quality of care by delaying and potentially denying deserving veterans timely care.” In an interview that aired Sunday on Face the Nation, the president's Chief of Staff Denis McDonough said President Obama was “mad as hell”, even though he hasn't commented on the scandal since April 28. Doesn't he believe in the power of his own voice and the power of his public expression of outrage? 

DENIS MCDONOUGH: That’s why he has exercised it and continued to press not only us at the White House by the leadership at the Department of Veterans Administration to ensure that we get the kind of performance that our veterans deserve. 

GARRETT: Advisors say the president first learned of allegations of veterans dying waiting for healthcare from news reports. And Scott, we are told the president will address this V.A. scandal this week. Advisers also tell us that Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki's job is safe for now. 

PELLEY: Major Garrett at the White House tonight. Major, thank you.

Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center.