The Campaign Spot

Terrific: VA Routinely Fails to Respond to Reporter Inquiries

In addition to the usual political headlines and polling updates, the midweek Morning Jolt checks in on some of those stories that dominated the news cycle a few weeks ago — Russia and Ukraine, the Taliban Five, and so on. Just because those stories are off the front page doesn’t mean there aren’t new developments; it just means the media moved on, probably prematurely and in a manner unlikely to generate real accountability.

For example, remember the VA scandal? Remember how that was a huge deal for a week, and then disappeared?

Terrific: VA Routinely Fails to Respond to Reporter Inquiries

Hey, remember the VA scandal? There’s a new aspect:

Because the Department of Veterans Affairs is a taxpayer funded organization, it has a responsibility to fully explain itself to the press and the public. Unfortunately, in many cases VA is failing in this responsibility, as department officials — including 54 full-time public affairs employees — routinely ignore media inquiries.

VA Honesty Project documents nearly 70 recent instances in which VA has failed to respond to reporters’ requests for information or refused to answer specific questions. The department’s apparent disregard for the press has become an object of reporters’ scorn, leading some to openly accuse VA of “thumbing their nose at us” and others to write entire articles focusing on VA’s stonewalling tactics.

Nobody but the best working over at the VA, I tell you!

An official at a New York Veterans Affairs facility was arrested Monday for allegedly taking tens of thousands of dollars in improper gifts from a telecommunications firm doing business with the center. The arrest was announced by the office of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.

I’ll bet you did not expect this figure to call for the VA to be shut down entirely:

A visibly emotional and heated Montel Williams slammed the Veterans Affairs health care system and the handling of the scandal surrounding the agency, saying it needs to be shut down.

“It’s too big and we’ve created a structure where again, if you can’t fire somebody we’ve got a problem and we’ve got a bigger problem, when a group of people can vote themselves a bonus just for keeping track of numbers that they lie about?” Williams said Monday on Fox News’ “Your World with Neil Cavuto.”

If the VA answered reporters’ questions more frequently and more promptly, perhaps these sorts of scandals wouldn’t spiral out of control so horrifically.

Most Popular



For your amusement, I hope, I’ve done a Jaywalking episode. It begins with a bit of the overture to Semiramide -- a Rossini opera I reviewed from the Met last week. Then I get into Russia and, after a while, China. The Marriott company fired an employee for “liking” a tweet by a Tibetan independence group. ... Read More

Campaigns for World Down Syndrome Day Go Viral

As World Down Syndrome Day approaches on Wednesday, several campaigns supporting those with the condition have taken over the Internet. Fifty mothers of children with the condition put together a viral video of them and their children singing along in the car. The video helped the children and their mothers ... Read More

Viva l’Italia?

Italy has just had elections, with very interesting results. I wanted to talk with Alberto Mingardi, which I have. He is one of the leading classical liberals in Italy -- the director general of the Bruno Leoni Institute, in Milan. (Mingardi himself is Milanese.) He is also an authority in arts and letters. In ... Read More

Putin and the Cult of Leadership

On Sunday, Russian dictator Vladimir Putin won an unsurprising reelection-campaign victory against Communist Party candidate Pavel Grudinin, by a margin of 76.7 percent to 11.8 percent. The results were unsurprising because Putin is a tyrant who murders or imprisons political rivals, and who isn’t afraid to use ... Read More

Trump and Brexit Derangement Syndrome

I am not one of those Brexiteers who believe that Brexit and Trumpism are essentially the same phenomenon in two different countries. To be sure, they both draw on some of the same political trends, notably a distrust of elites and an upsurge of popular anger over evident failures of public policy such as illegal ... Read More