Critique of Media and the VA

Jasper Craven and I wrote a detailed critique — entitled Unreliable Sources — of the media’s approach to reporting on the VA.  The report was published by the Veterans Healthcare Policy Institute.  A shorter version was originally published by The Washington Monthly under the title Unhealthy Skepticism.  Please read and share.

Unreliable Sources: How Corporate Funders Influenced Mass Media Coverage of Veterans’ Healthcare
By Suzanne Gordon and Jasper Craven
In early September 2018, the Concerned Veterans for America Foundation, a relatively new
wing of an advocacy and organizing group largely backed by Charles and David Koch that bears
the same name, rented out a movie theater on Camelback Road in Phoenix, Arizona for a
screening of their new film, “The Care They’ve Earned.”
The documentary tracks the experiences of six veterans navigating the healthcare system inside
the Department of Veterans Affairs. The film’s subjects describe the agency as deeply troubled,
one staffed by callous bureaucrats and corrupt physicians. “How many veterans are suffering
right now, because they are trapped in that system?” one unidentified individual
​asks in a trailer for the film…
The press has a responsibility to cover the VHA as it does other healthcare
systems – reporting not only on problems but also on innovations, research and patient care
successes. In all of this, journalists have largely failed and in so doing have had made
privatization arguments more palatable to both the public and Congress…

This slanted media coverage has created an alternative universe in which one of
the most successful healthcare systems in the country has become one of the most reviled.


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