No. 028-99  
IMMEDIATE RELEASE                             December 12, 1999                    (202) 628-2700 Ext. 158 


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 health care.

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 abandon another."   


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