Report: Fox News Underreported Sexual Assault In The Military
While Fox News has devoted extensive airtime to pushing scandals that have since begun to fall apart, it has largely ignored new allegations of sexual assault in the military.
Three Service Members In Charge Of Sexual Assault Prevention Programs Are Under Investigation For Sexual Assault
Air Force Officer In Charge Of Sexual Assault Prevention And Response Office Charged With Sexual Battery. On May 6, the officer in charge of the Air Force's sexual abuse prevention department was arrested for drunkenly groping a woman. From ABC News:
Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek confirmed to ABC News that Lt. Col. Jeff Krusinski, chief of the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office, was arrested this weekend in Arlington, Va.
The Arlington County Police Department's crime report said that shortly after midnight on Sunday "a drunken male subject approached a female victim in a parking lot and grabbed her breasts and buttocks."
"The victim fought the suspect off as he attempted to touch her again and alerted police," the crime report said said. [sic] "Jeffrey Krusinski, 41, of Arlington, Va., was arrested and charged with sexual battery." [ABC News, 5/6/13 ]
Ft. Hood Sexual Assault Prevention Coordinator Under Investigation For "Abusive Sexual Contact." The Army announced on May 14 that a soldier assigned to coordinate a Texas sexual assault program has been suspended from his duties for "abusive sexual contact." From KWTX-TV News:
The coordinator of a sexual assault prevention program at Fort Hood under investigation for "abusive sexual contact" and other alleged misconduct was identified Thursday as Sgt. 1st Class Gregory McQueen.
McQueen has been suspended from all duties, the Army said earlier this week, but has not been charged.
The Army said McQueen is accused of pandering, abusive sexual contact, assault and maltreatment of subordinates.
He was assigned as an equal opportunity adviser and coordinator of a sexual harassment-assault prevention program at III Corps headquarters at Fort Hood when the allegations arose.
On Wednesday, a defense official said the allegations involve three women including one for whom the unnamed soldier arranged to have sex for money, The Associated Press reported. [KWTX-TV News, 5/16/13 ]
Head Of Ft. Campbell Sexual Harassment Program Charged With Stalking, Removed From Position. On May 15, Lt. Col. Darin Haas, the manager of Fort Campbell's sexual harassment program, was arrested and charged with stalking and violating the order of protection of his ex-wife. From USA Today:
Lt. Col. Darin Haas, Fort Campbell's sexual harassment program manager, has been removed from his position after an arrest this week involving a dispute with his ex-wife.
At about 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Clarksville (Tenn.) Police responded to a complaint from Haas' ex-wife, who said Haas had sent her threatening texts in violation of an order of protection, according to a court affidavit.
Haas, 42, was arrested that night and charged with stalking and violating the order of protection. He was booked into Montgomery County (Tenn.) Jail on a $15,000 bond.
Thursday afternoon, Fort Campbell officials said Haas has been removed from his position as Sexual Harassment and Assault Response Prevention/Equal Opportunity program manager. [USA Today, 5/16/13 ]
Analysis: Fox News Underreported Recent Cases Of Military Sexual Assault
Fox News Spent Less Than Nineteen Minutes Covering Sexual Assault In The Military. According to a Media Matters analysis, Fox News devoted 18 minutes, 42 seconds to covering military sexual assault since May 6, when the month's first sexual assault case was reported. CNN and MSNBC spent 1 hour, 36 minutes and 4 hours, 56 minutes on military sexual assault stories, respectively.
Military Leaders Have Described The Increase In Sexual Assault Cases As A "Crisis"
Department Of Defense Report Estimated 26,000 Cases Of Sexual Assault Within The Military In 2012. The Department of Defense (DOD) released its annual report on sexual assault in the military, which documented a marked increase in reported and estimated cases of sexual assault. From The Daily Beast:
[T]he Department of Defense released its annual report on sexual assaults within the ranks, announcing that there were nearly 3,400 reported incidents of sexual assault in 2012 alone, up 6 percent from 2011. But the report also included the results of a survey--conducted every two years--that found that the actual number of assaults was far greater: an estimated 26,000, up from 19,000 in 2010. By Thursday, outrage over the skyrocketing figures had reached such a fever pitch that the White House convened a group of lawmakers to meet with senior-level staffers, including Valerie Jarrett and the first lady's chief of staff, who reportedly asked for immediate executive-level changes that could be made to address the ongoing problem. [The Daily Beast, 5/13/13 ]
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel Decried Increase Of Sexual Assault In The Military. During a May 7 press conference, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel called upon leaders to take sexual assault within the ranks seriously, and outlined steps to prevent further abuse. From DOD's American Forces Press Service:
Hagel called sexual assault "a despicable crime" and said it is a serious challenge to the department. "It's a threat to the safety and the welfare of our people and the health, reputation and trust of this institution," he said.
He shifted to the annual report on sexual assault within the military the department delivered to Congress today. "This department may be nearing a stage where the frequency of this crime and the perception that there is tolerance of it could very well undermine our ability to effectively carry out the mission and to recruit and retain the good people we need," he said. "That is unacceptable to me and the leaders of this institution. And it should be unacceptable to everyone associated with the United States military."
Hagel called for a cultural change in the military with respect to sexual assault. He announced initiatives so "every service member is treated with dignity and respect, where all allegations of inappropriate behavior are treated with seriousness, where victims' privacy is protected, where bystanders are motivated to intervene and where offenders know that they will be held accountable by strong and effective systems of justice." [American Forces Press Service, 5/7/13 ]
Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey: Sexual Assault Constitutes "Crisis" In The Military. Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, cited the increase in military sexual assault as a major cause for concern. From the DOD's American Forces Press Service:
"We're losing the confidence of the women who serve that we can solve this problem," Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey told reporters as he returned from NATO meetings in Brussels. "That's a crisis."
Dempsey has actively been researching this issue since he became the Army's Training and Doctrine Command chief in 2008. He continued the research as Army chief of staff, and now as chairman.
"I tasked those around me to help me understand what a decade-plus of conflict may have done to the force," he said. "Instinctively, I knew it had to have some effect."
The chairman still cannot articulate what 10 years of war has done to the force, but he does think the increase in sexual assaults, the rise in suicides, and the increase in instances of misconduct and indiscipline are in some way related.
"This is not to make excuses," he said. "We should be better than this. In fact, we have to be better than this." [American Forces Press Service, 5/15/13 ]
Media Matters searched internal TV archives and closed captioning as well as the TVEyes database for the terms "sexual assault" and "military" between May 6 and May 19 on all Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC shows.
Reruns and teases for upcoming segments were excluded.