CBS and NBC Skip New VA Scandal Outrage; ABC Gives News Just 14 Seconds

Despite the newest revelation in the Veterans Affairs scandal on Thursday that one in ten veterans have to wait at least one month before they can get an appointment to see a doctor, CBS and NBC refused to cover the latest news in both their evening news shows on Thursday night as well as their morning shows on Friday morning.

ABC News only gave 14 seconds of coverage to the issue in a news brief during the 7:00 am hour on Friday’s Good Morning America. CBS News chose to instead publish an article about it on their website Thursday afternoon. [MP3 audio here; Video below]

Substitute news reader Ryan Smith mentioned the disturbing new details during the show’s first news brief in the 7:00 am hour. 

RYAN SMITH: The VA hospital scandal is worse than we first thought. A new audit has found one in ten veterans, more than 341,000 people, have been forced to wait more than a month to see a doctor. That's twice as many as previously reported. 

In an article about the news, which came in the form of an updated V.A. audit (emphasis mine):

About 10 percent of veterans seeking medical care at VA hospitals and clinics have to wait at least 30 days for an appointment - more than twice the percentage of veterans the government said last week were forced to endure long waits, the acting veterans affairs secretary said Wednesday. 

Sloan Gibson said the higher number of veterans waiting 30 days or more is revealed in a report due out Thursday. He called the increase unfortunate, but said it was probably an indication that more reliable data was being reported by VA schedulers, rather than an actual increase in veteran wait times.

“I don’t like that we’ve got more veterans waiting, but at least we’re getting better data” as the VA seeks to address widespread problems of long patient waiting times and falsified records to mask frequent long delays, Gibson said.


As for the two networks that did not cover the latest in this growing scandal, CBS This Morning found air time to mention comments from the team president of the Miami Heat telling the media to “get a grip” regarding the status of their top three players while NBC’s Today asked Secretary of State John Kerry about his ‘bromance’ with actor Leonardo DiCaprio. 

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