Pentagon Retaliates: Army Blocks Denver Post from Fort Carson

Denver Post (Colorado)

Fort Carson halts access for The Post

The base is refusing to give the paper information because of a Sunday front-page article on military medical holds.

By Eileen Kelley
Special to The Denver Post
Thursday, December 09, 2004 –

Fort Carson -The Army is denying The Denver Post access to Fort Carson and to information on military activities in the wake of a Sunday article in The Post on military medical holds.

To view the original Denver Post article, please go to this link:

“We have temporarily suspended relations with The Denver Post as a direct result of Fort Carson not being given fair and balanced treatment in a story that appeared on Dec. 5, 2004,” Lt. Col. David Johnson, the chief public affairs officer at the base, said Wednesday evening.

The front-page article examined claims from mentally and physically ill National Guard and Army Reserve members who say they are being denied access to quality care and are being shoved out of the military without disability pay. Congress has been scrutinizing medical holds at bases across the country.

“All of those involved with the med-hold piece which ran yesterday are extremely disappointed with the outcome,” Kim Tisor, a Fort Carson public affairs officer, wrote in a letter to reporters Monday. “Perhaps we would have been better off not commenting – it certainly would have saved us a lot of time.”

Denver Post Editor Greg Moore said the base’s public affairs staff was misguided in their actions.

“They are singling us out simply because they didn’t like our story,” he said. “Other newspapers and media organizations have reported on the issue. Our story was thorough, and balanced the concerns of soldiers with substantial response from the military, including from some officers who acknowledged problems with the program.

“It’s our job to investigate issues like these and explain them to our readers, many of whom have family members serving in the military,” Moore added. “We hope Fort Carson officials reconsider their ban of The Denver Post. If they don’t, we will appeal to senior military officers at Fort Carson and in Washington, and through any other legal or congressional channels that are available to us.”

Any commander has the authority to control access to his installation or unit, but a specific news organization can be banned from a base only in accordance with an Army regulation that provides for due process, according to a senior Army official who asked not to be named for fear of retribution.

Johnson said the paper has been dropped from an e-mail list that distributes invitations to cover events and official statements.

A Post reporter was told Tuesday she could not attend a formal deployment ceremony Wednesday even though other media members were invited.

Johnson said the lack of access is not an official ban, but he later said that all Denver Post reporters and editors were – for the time being – no longer welcome at Fort Carson.

Also last week, The Denver Post obtained an injunction to stop an investigative hearing that had been closed to the public for three Fort Carson soldiers charged with murdering an Iraqi general.

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