Sun Media’s Stunning Silence Over Walter Reed Scandal

The tabloid newspapers in the Sun Media chain are well known for their conservative editorial boards.  Over the decades they’ve argued for smaller governments, low taxation, and the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan.  They’ve also defended the military and have long advocated better treatment for veterans.  So, why the collective silence regarding The Walter Reed Scandal?
 
Almost a month ago, The Washington Post did a terrific piece on the atrocious conditions of Building 18 at The Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C.  (To read the original piece, click here.)  The revelations in that expose are shocking.  It doesn’t matter where you stand on the current wars America and its allies are waging.  The way severely wounded American soldiers have been treated in this facility has been endlessly shameful.  They deserve more respect, swift medical attention and less stress as they try to put the pieces of their lives back together again, an extremely arduous task, to say the least.  I feel for them.
 
The story has since taken some interesting twists and turns.  There have been firings; President Bush announced the creation of a commission to investigate the situation even though he’s visited the facility at least once for a photo-op and the former Republican Congress were well aware of the horrors there; an ill-advised gag order slapped on outspoken and angry soldiers by nervous military brass rightly worried about the future of their own careers; public hearings; bi-partisan outrage (mostly from Democrats and not nearly enough from Republicans); and the recent revelations that the deplorable living conditions in Building 18 have been going on for years (Salon.com actually did a story about this 2 years ago) and that other facilities in the country treat military personnel just as badly.  And that’s only part of the story.
 
So, why haven’t any of Sun Media’s editorial boards commented on this growing scandal?  You would think this would be right up their alley:  yet another American federal government neglecting the needs of its men and women in uniform.  You can bet that if the current President was a Democrat they’d be all over this story.  It would be front page news.  There’d be one angry editorial after another until the situation vastly improved.  Peter Worthington, Michael Coren, Lorrie Goldstein and many other right-wing pundits would be after the administration for their inexcusable mistreatment of the wounded.  If this had happened in Canada while Jean Chretien or Paul Martin was Prime Minister the result would be the same.  And their words would resonate with many.  I’m especially disappointed that Eric Margolis hasn’t commented on this in print.
 
That’s what makes their silence on this extremely important matter so deafening.  Why don’t they care about Walter Reed?  By my count, despite publishing straight wire stories on the scandal, there hasn’t been one editorial on the subject at all.  No official position stated in The Calgary Sun, The Edmonton Sun, The Toronto Sun, The Winnipeg Sun, The Ottawa Sun or even in The London Free Press.  I haven’t been able to find one columnist who bothered to tackle this story, either.  That, in itself, is disgraceful.  (If I’m wrong and someone did comment on the story send me the link(s) via email.)  For a newspaper chain that was gung-ho for war in the Middle East and has supported veterans on numerous occasions in the past, it remains a mystery why they haven’t gone out of their way to go to bat for these terribly mistreated American soldiers.  It doesn’t make any sense.
 
If any of these editorial boards or even individual pundits want to speak out and offer their support to the soldiers and their families for what’s happened to them in the last several years, now would be the time to do it.  God knows they’ve suffered enough.
 
Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Sunday, March 11, 2007
9:08 p.m.
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Published in: on March 11, 2007 at 9:08 pm  Leave a Comment  

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