Esquire magazine lied about a Navy Seal who helped kill Osama Bin Laden being ineligible for health benefits from the Veteran’s Administration—and they won’t fess up.
In a story written by Phil Bronstein, who runs the so-called Center for Investigative Reporting, a Navy Seal only identified as “The Shooter” is portrayed as unable to get benefits:
"...here is what he gets from his employer and a grateful nation: Nothing. No pension, no health care, and no protection for himself or his family."
The facts were twisted by Bronstein; every combat veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars is automatically eligible for free healthcare through the Department of Veteran Affairs, and the vet wasn’t eligible for a pension, as service members need to have served for 20 years to be eligible.
Bronstein disingenuously protested that the story was true because the Seal was unaware the benefits existed, so therefore the government gave the Seal nothing. Bronstein said, “No one ever told him that this is available.”
In other words, the ignorance of the Seal as to his benefits was somehow twisted by Bronstein to imply that the benefits didn’t exist. When Bronstein was confronted by Stars and Stripes, he said he simply didn’t have space to tell the whole story, and retorted, “That’s a different story.”
Esquire magazine has not offered any mea culpa, even though the Washington Post repeated the story. Brandon Friedman, who was an Army infantry officer in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as having served as a VA public affairs officer, was angry, saying: “Misinformation like this doesn’t help veterans. When one veteran hears in a high-profile story that another veteran was denied care, it makes him or her less likely to enroll in the VA system.”