The Wright Response - August 14, 2014

By: Mike Wright Email
By: Mike Wright Email
A couple of hot-button issues that have been covered over the past few months drew the ire of a couple viewers. KBTX General Manager answers their comments in this edition of the Wright Response.

KBTX General Manager, Mike Wright

From time to time there is this unfounded, ridiculous notion that anything KBTX publishes or airs is controlled by a so-called "liberal" side. I'll say again, that is ludicrous. D-T writes in related to our Associated Press story about the ruling not long ago in favor of Hobby Lobby:

"Why is the reporting not factual…birth control with the exception of abortion type drugs is still funded and available for Hobby Lobby employees…Birth control per se was not affected. The story being broadcast is the Administration Spin…."

Can AP get it wrong? Absolutely. And -- just being honest here -- we don't call AP and ask "are you sure?" or make changes in the script other than blatant factual errors IF we can confirm those! I appreciate this issue about Hobby Lobby being brought to our attention.

The VA has come under fire of late for administrative missteps, accusations that place even the deaths of some patients squarely on their shoulders. This is a "global" issue with VA, and there may indeed be pockets of the VA that serve veterans well - with the respect they so greatly deserve for their service. Some have not liked our coverage or that of national media on this issue.

J-B writes in:

"Why is it that the Media is so intent on making the VA look bad? I have yet to see any interviews of veterans who have nice things to say about their treatment at the VA. Is this just another feeding frenzy to get more viewers and readers? I for one have been going to the VA for 15 years and never have I had a complaint about their service. You people are going to cause more harm to veterans by your undocumented accusations than the so called VA "Problems". Leave us vets alone, and find somebody else to prey on to get your ratings. I had great respect for KBTX and their reporting. I no longer feel that way."

J-B has a point. We should interview vets that have been treated properly. What this person does NOT have a point on is that this is not a "feeding frenzy" to develop more viewers. Ridiculous. I turned this one over to Steve Fullhart, son of a dedicated and retired Military leader, to respond. As usual, Steve's response was nothing short of on-point, having a better perspective than most. Fact is, the V-A as an organization has pockets of disgrace that would have potentially bought down the entire operation. Our veterans deserve better.

As for Steve? Some pretty good points in his response, starting out how you would expect Steve to begin a response to a person who had served:

"Hi Joe. First and foremost, thank you for your service. My father spent more than three decades in the military, so the occasions I've had to discuss issues related to those who have served are important to me. First, the VA's and government's own examinations of many VA facilities have shown massive failings and cover-ups. Second, I don't recall our coverage often or at all specifically denigrating area VA facilities. The article you specifically cite does not. It's an Associated Press story discussing the national issues.

Complimentary or positive comments/coverage about care aired:
-The day after Memorial Day, we ran an interview I did with two former American Legion post commanders who said they'd heard of no local issues.
-Reporter Clay Falls did a piece with the current AL post commander noting no known problems with the local facility and good care in Temple.
-When the detailed internal VA report came out regarding all national facilities, we ran the local numbers. As I recall, they were generally strong compared to other facilities, including other Texas facilities that had among the lowest ratings in the country on key metrics.

Whether this and other stories we've done are 'enough' is certainly a matter of personal opinion. You're certainly welcome to yours, and we're thankful to have heard it. We'll also take it to heart when covering future matters. That's not just a throw-away line in response to any viewer. It's our culture at KBTX."

Be in touch anytime. Your opinions always matter to the family of KBTX News 3.


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