December 12, 1999
(202) 628-2700 Ext. 158
VIETNAM VETERANS OF AMERICA DEFENDS VA’S POSITION
Vietnam Veterans of America is as upset with ABC’s newsmagazine 20/20
as the Department of Veterans Affairs. An edition focused upon Post
Traumatic Stress Disorder, which aired on November 24, 1999, was narrated
by Jay Schadler, a reporter who had designs on destroying a program that
has been developed over years of hard work through the efforts of not only
the Department of Veterans Affairs but also several veterans service organizations.
Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) was aware of Schadler’s motives months
ago and implored others within the newsmagazine’s offices to temper the
story with truth. VVA was told that it was Schadler’s story and that
other producers and reporters could not interfere.
VVA continued to monitor the developing story, especially the interview
between Schadler, Under Secretary
Thompson and Dr. Lehmann where the latter two individuals were grilled
under hot lights for an hour and twenty minutes. Thompson and Lehmann
patiently explained the medical process in great detail for Schadler.
But it was evident, specifically from the final televised product, that
Schadler was trashing the program regardless of repercussions upon veterans
An ABC spokesperson said the number of complaints received from the
20/20 program on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder was not unusually high.
The reason was the program aired on the evening before Thanksgiving while
preparations for traditional feasts were being made. But the real
point is that it aired at all.
ABC’s flagship newsmagazine, 20/20, can only be described as myopic
in the releasing of this program. Of course, Schadler will be protected
by ABC under the guise of artistic license. Any flinching on the part of
the network would be an admittance of poor quality control.
- END -
VVA's point of contact for additional information is Scott D. Campbell
at (202) 628- 2700 Ext.158.
Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) is the nation's
only congressionally chartered veterans service organization dedicated
solely to the needs of Vietnam-era veterans and their families. VVA's
founding principle is "Never again will one generation of veterans