AARP Magazine Reportedly Deletes Veteran From A Story Because He’s Running For Congress

Jonah Bennett | Contributor

AARP Magazine reportedly scrubbed a military hero from a Veterans Day issue because he is running for office.

AARP Magazine initially contacted the Department of Defense hoping to find military heroes to feature in a story. Commander Mark Plaster, who joined the Navy Reserve following the 9/11 attacks, was one of the men selected by the DOD. Prior to joining the military, Plaster worked as an emergency physician. As part of his work, he traveled across the country filling in night shifts at hospitals plagued with staffing crises.

The AARP piece was about servicemen who had signed up for the military later in life. Plaster joined when he was 50. At the same time, his son, Graham, was set to deploy to Iraq as part of the Navy’s Lincoln Battle Group, making them one of the few father-son pairs to fight in the same war.

Before deploying, Graham had graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy.

Mark Plaster deployed with the 1st Marine Division to Iraq, where he served as officer in charge of a shock trauma platoon. The unit was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation, which is the highest award available to any unit.

This was an incredible story AARP thought worth covering.

After returning from his deployment overseas and remaining stateside for 10 years, Mark Plaster decided it was time to represent veterans in a run for Congress as a Republican in Maryland’s Third District. He directly asked AARP if that would conflict with the piece, but the author said he didn’t think so.

A photographer soon visited Plaster’s home and proceeded to take pictures of him in uniform, as well as of Plaster with his campaign staff.

But when it was time to run the piece, Plaster was cut from the story, leaving only five veterans featured. The table of contents, however, still states, “Meet six men over age 50 who have given up civilian life to heed the call to duty, lending their experience as doctors.”

For whatever reason, AARP had cut Plaster right out of the story at the last second.

Plaster wanted to know the reason why and so emailed the author.

The response?

“I think they deleted you because you’re running for office,” the author said.

“I hate to say that I expected to be treated this way,” Plaster said in a statement to The Daily Caller News Foundation. “But I did. They didn’t have to say anything about my running for office. I can only suspect that they wanted to deprive anyone from hearing something positive about my life since I was running.  It’s disappointing to see an organization like AARP try to censor what their readers see.”

According to Robert Love, editor-in-chief at AARP Magazine, Plaster was removed from the story to avoid readers coming to the conclusion that the magazine endorsed a political candidate.

“AARP is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization and does not endorse political candidates,” Love told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “AARP Bulletin made an editorial decision to remove Dr. Plaster’s profile from the story “A Late Tour of Duty” because he is a political candidate who is currently running for Congress, and we did not want the article to appear as an endorsement. For close to 30 years, AARP’s nonpartisan voter engagement effort has provided information to our members about the positions by candidates, regardless of party, on issues important to people age 50-plus.”

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Tags : elections iraq u s naval academy
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