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May 23, 2014

Now That's Some Good Bias: Networks Devote More Time to Christie's "Bridgegate" Pseudoscandal in Four Days Than They Devote to the VA Scandal In an Entire Month

The stopwatch doesn't lie, but reporters do.

Once again a big shout-out to ABCNews, the organization that is actually the most biased of the network newscasts. NBC is less biased, frequently, as hard as that is to believe.

In this case, while NBC devoted a paltry 44 minutes to the VA scandal, ABCNews devoted just sixteen and some seconds.

And I have a feeling I know how the networks will be playing the story in the coming weeks:\

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., repeatedly put the blame for the Veterans Affairs scandal on former President George W. Bush, while arguing that her party has worked hard for veterans in recent years.

Pelosi took a shot at Bush while saying that the scandal is a high priority for Obama. "He sees the ramifications of some seeds that were sown a long time ago, when you have two wars over a long period of time and many, many more, millions more veterans," she told reporters during her Thursday press briefing. "And so, I know that he is upset about it."

Gabe mentioned this spinline in the podcast. Sounds good. Seems plausible.

The fact that it's simply not true will not discomfit the media Palace Guard.

Some will argue that the increase in health spending was the direct result of all those wounded warriors coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan. But these vets aren't driving VA costs higher.

A Congressional Budget Office report found that they cost $4,800, on average, in 2010 compared with $8,800 for other veterans who used the system.

It also found that while these Iraq and Afghan vets account for 7% of those treated, they were responsible for only 4% of its health costs.

Iraq and Afghan vets, the report found, "are typically younger and healthier than the average VHA patient and as a result are less expensive to treat."

In fact, what's driving VA costs is the same thing that's driving Medicare and Social Security spending: A big population swell called the Baby Boom generation and the many veterans of the Vietnam War, which is coming into its very costly late-in-life years.

Now, it will probably be the case that thirty years from now, this big swell of military personnel seeking treatment from the VA will create a big swell of new costs.

But that's... thirty years from now. That cannot excuse the VA now.

In addition, care for veterans has soared 27% from 2008-2012, while average health care costs for the nation generally have only risen 13% over the same period.

So, shockingly enough, it appears yet again that things get very expensive indeed when they're "free."

By the way, this particular spin directly contradicts the other liberal spin.

Rachel Maddow claims the VA scandal is not a "scandal" at all, but rather just a "problem in progress" which we've known about for years and years -- that is, that the VA has long been a dysfunctional agency.

Incidentally, Maddow was pretty sure the Walter Reed scandal was in fact a scandal.

But this one? A "problem in progress."

So which is it? Is this, per the drooling Nancy Pelosi, a problem that just snuck up on us in the last couple of years as veterans have returned from Afghanistan and thus a scandal to be laid at the feet of George W. Bush, or is this, per the frothing Rachel Maddow, a problem that's been going on forever and therefore no scandal at all?

It can't be both, Progressives.

The Progressive Philosophy

Oh yes it can be both, or neither, or one or the other, or the other or the one, as current political needs might dictate, and our position may change on this six times by Sunday.

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