Disappearing News<>The Knight Ridder newspapers reported yesterday more than 13,000 veterans died in the past decade while awaiting word from the Department of Veterans Affairs about their disability benefits. The article profiled several veterans and their problems dealing with VA. Secretary Robert James Nicholson, VA's new Secretary, had no comment about the serious difficulties uncovered by Knight Ridder. The article vanished from dozens of Knight Ridder newspaper web sites after just a few hours, prompting VCS to post a serious question to our site: why is Knight Ridder purging a serious investigation of the VA?
Knight Ridder Removes Article Highly Critical of VA
Vanishing News: "VA's red tape squelches veterans' long-overdue disability claims"
CHRIS ADAMS AND ALISON YOUNG, San Luis Obisbo Tribune (California)
Posted 2005-03-04 01:05:00.0
Knight Ridder investigative reporters Chris Adams and Alison Young wrote a lengthy news article claiming more than 13,000 veterans died during the past ten years while awaiting word from the Department of Veterans Affairs about their disability benefits.
Their investigative news article also profiled several veterans and their problems dealing with VA and provided many interesting statistics resulting from a lawsuit by Knight Ridder against VA. The article detailed how some veterans' families may have lost tens of thousands of dollars due to unreasonable delays at VA.
VA Secretary Robert James Nicholson had no comment about the serious difficulties experienced by veterans uncovered by Knight Ridder.
Unfortunately, the article vanished from dozens of Knight Ridder newspaper web sites yesterday during the time between when veterans sent links to Veterans for Common Sense and then VCS staff went to post the news to VCS.
An extensive search of the internet found only "XXXX" where the text of the article was previously distributed by Knight Ridder at more than one dozen news papers.
The scrubbing of the article raises very serious questions. Was the publication of the article a mistake? Was Knight Ridder pressured into retracting the investigation? VCS will follow this news closely.
Update (March 4, 2004): VCS has obtained through one of our members the original text of the article which was purged.
VCS provides links below so veterans and supporters can see the article actually existed but is no longer available.
To replicate this search, go to "Google," enter "Chris Adams" and "VA," and then search news. More than one dozen links will appear with the headline," VA's red tape squelches veterans' long-overdue disability claims.
Then try to click on any of the links provided by Google. Instead of the article, readers will discover "XXXX" and a posting date of March 3, 2005.
The text below is all that remains of the article when searches are conducted at each specific Knight Ridder newspaper:
(see last story published on this blog for full contents)
DRY RIDGE, Ky. - Like thousands of his fellow veterans of America's wars, Alfred Brown died waiting. In 1945, when he was a 19-year-old soldier fighting in Italy, shrapnel from an enemy shell ripped into his abdomen. His wounds were so severe that he was twice administered last rites. When Brown came home, the government that had promised to care for its wounded veterans instead shorted him.
Here are links to other Knight Ridder newspapers where the article vanished: