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Army Recruiting Levels Subject of "Special Report" Hit Job

Reported by Janie - October 9, 2006 -

During "Special Report" tonight, host Brit Hume inserted a small piece on Army recruitment levels, virtually read from a "USA Today" article released today, but left out information that may have concerned viewers.

Near the end of "Special Report", Hume explained:

"The US Army has exceeded its goal of signing up 80,000 new soldiers this year, 80,635 soldiers have been recruited so far. That’s about 7,000 more than last year.

The goal was met in part because the Army now allows 4% of its recruits to score below a certain aptitude level instead of the previous 2%. The standard was changed after last year when the recruitment target was missed by the widest margin since 1979.

The Pentagon says good test scores do not necessarily indicate quality soldiers. Also, about 70% of the first time recruits were accepted under waivers for various medical, moral or criminal problems and that is a slight increase from last year."

Comment: While the piece is virtually straight out of the "USA Today" article, Hume did neglect to mention what "medical, moral or criminal problems" referred to. According to "USA Today", these include "misdemeanor arrests or drunk driving."

The article also provides a more detailed break-down:

"Of those accepted under waivers, more than half were for "moral" reasons, mostly misdemeanor arrests. Thirty-eight percent were for medical reasons and 7% were drug and alcohol problems, including those who may have failed a drug test or acknowledged they had used drugs."

Neither the article, nor Hume mentioned that the Army also raised it's enlistment age this year - to 40 in January as an "interim step", and later raised to 42. This most certainly had an impact of recruitment levels, but was not mentioned in either story.

Hume gave a brief overview of story, but declined to mention the aspects that some viewers may have found controversial.