Benghazi. Fast and Furious gun-running. IRS targeting of opponents. After all the Obama scandals, are the Veteran Affairs waiting lists finally the scandal that will wake up the sleeping mainstream media?
The media is certainly pounding the White House’s defense of the shameful way in which veterans were denied care through manipulation of records and requests. Major Garrett of CBS News asked White House chief of staff Denis McDonough why President Obama himself hasn’t directly addressed the veterans scandal over three weeks after it broke.
When press secretary Jay Carney tried to defend the administration he cited the American Legion’s statements on the issue a total of nine times in one briefing, clinging to them like a drowning man hugging a life vest. Carney noted the American Legion had called the resignation of a VA official on the verge of retirement a “step towards addressing the leadership problem at the VA,” Jonathan Karl of ABC News was quick to point out that the actual statement from American Legion spokesman John Raughter was: “It was a small step. It was going to happen anyway. So, I suppose it was better than if he had stayed on the job.”
All this prompted the National Journal’s Ron Fournier, a former head of the Associated Press’s Washington bureau, to ask his readers:
News quiz: President Obama and his communications team hope that Americans are: 1) Dumb; 2) Distracted; 3) Numb to government inefficiency; 4) All of above.
Answer: 4, all of the above.
Fournier concluded that the veterans scandal is “a policy travesty magnified by an insulting public-relations strategy.”
It’s early days, but it may be tough for the White House to bamboozle their way out of this scandal as easily as the others.