KSFO's Sussman: Wash. Post's Walter Reed exposé shows "the mainstream media doesn't support our troops"

››› ››› ADAM SERWER

On the March 5 broadcast of San Francisco radio station KSFO's Morgan, Sussman, and Vic, co-host Brian Sussman described The Washington Post's coverage of deteriorating conditions and inadequate care at Walter Reed Army Medical Center as "stupid reporting," and "ridiculous reporting," adding, "[I]t's just another sign that the mainstream media doesn't support our troops. They don't support the mission. God forbid, they don't support the commander-in-chief. It's just the same old news." FreeRepublic.com spokesman Kristinn Taylor responded with the baseless assertion that "the shocking things that they found they held onto for months ... to release at the right time, instead of immediately running and saying ... 'This is the problem. This needs to be fixed.' Taylor went on to say the Post "sat on it [the information] until they were ready to ... hit their target at the right opportunity." Morgan, Sussman, and Vic co-host Melanie Morgan added that the Post withheld information instead of "actually doing something to help people who needed it."

Morgan, Sussman, and Taylor were referring to a Washington Post investigative report by staff writers Dana Priest and Anne Hull, published on February 18 and 19, that exposed problems experienced by soldiers at Walter Reed once they were no longer inpatients at the hospital, including the substandard conditions at the facility's Building 18, which "housed hundreds of maimed soldiers recuperating from injuries suffered in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan." According to Priest and Hull, "Signs of neglect are everywhere: mouse droppings, belly-up cockroaches, stained carpets, cheap mattresses." The report also discussed the bureaucratic complications plaguing outpatients at the facility. On March 1, Priest and Hull penned another report noting that "[t]op officials at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, including the Army's surgeon general, have heard complaints about outpatient neglect from family members, veterans groups and members of Congress for more than three years."

In the wake of the Post report, the official in charge of Walter Reed, Maj. Gen. George W. Weightman, "was fired," and Army Secretary Francis J. Harvey was forced to resign. In addition, Congress opened hearings on conditions at Walter Reed, while President Bush appointed a presidential commission to investigate conditions at veterans hospitals and facilities.

From the March 5 broadcast of KSFO's Morgan, Sussman, and Vic:

SUSSMAN: Here's the problem, again. It's biased reporting going in. Everyone forgets all of the miracles that are coming out of Walter Reed and other veterans hospitals, where some guys who have been severely injured are coming out. Modern medical technology has done wonders. We could go on and on and on with stories like that regarding our war veterans back from Iraq and Afghanistan, who've been treated in these hospitals and, hey, listen, if you want to do some reporting on troubles in hospitals, go to any hospital in America, and let's talk about the guy who went in for the right knee operation but had his left knee operated on; let's talk about the people who are getting TB and other diseases in our hospitals -- this is just part of the medical community at large. It's stupid reporting, it's ridiculous reporting, and it's just another sign that the mainstream media doesn't support our troops. They don't support the mission. God forbid, they don't support the commander-in-chief. It's just the same old news.

TAYLOR: Yeah. In a lot of ways, that is true because The Washington Post was in there, they said, for hours, hundreds of hours surreptitiously, and the shocking things that they found they held onto for months --

SUSSMAN: Of course.

TAYLOR: -- to release at the right time, instead of immediately running and saying, you know, "This is the problem. This needs to be fixed." You know, they held -- they sat on it until they were ready to, you know, hit their target at the right opportunity.

MORGAN: Instead of actually doing something to help people who needed it.

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