Saturday, February 24, 2007

Far From the White Hot Camera Lights

Seems like it was only yesterday that Guy Raz was lauding Donald Rumsfeld for his stealth humanity: "...for the past three years, every few days, far from the white hot camera lights, Rumsfeld and his wife Joyce have quietly made their way to Walter Reed Medical Center They go there to cheer up the injured troops back from the front...."

Now Raz is back to Walter Reed on Thursday and Friday to cover the fallout from the Washington Post coverage of squalid conditions at one of the outpatient buildings at Walter Reed.

This is pretty sad. The Walter Reed/shabby treatment of veterans story is not new, Salon has been working on it for quite a while. Also the stories in Salon, the WaPo, and even Daniel Zwerdling's excellent investigative reporting on NPR (kudos!) show what is possible when journalists turn from being mouthpieces for government officials, question the official line, and do a little digging.

I went back to the earlier Raz paean to Rumsfeld and did a little number crunching. If Rumsfeld and his wife really visited Walter Reed "every few days" for three years that would be at least 234! visits (an average of 1.5 visits a week). I'd like to see Raz try to call his hero, Rumsfeld, and find out how he missed such deplorable conditions. Makes one wonder if Rumsfeld really made all those missions of mercy. On the other hand, if Rummy was such a regular at Walter Reed, it does explain all those mouse droppings.

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