It probably didn't work out exactly as hoped, but the White House's controversial trade of five hardened Taliban for a U.S. POW diverted the mainstream media's attention away from the escalating Veterans Affairs Department scandal that threatened President Obama's reputation with veterans.

According to a new report from the Media Research Center, the VA story that dominated the news prior to the prisoner swap for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was reduced to a mere 2 minutes and 16 seconds over all three networks over the last week, said the conservative media watchdog.

Not a single story was longer than 30 seconds over a total of 46 hours of news on the network morning and evening shows, according to MRC’s Connor Williams.

By contrast, he added, “NBC’s Today devoted over five minutes to Al Roker’s treasure hunt, CBS This Morning brought on author to discuss booze and hangovers for over four minutes, and Good Morning America spent nearly five minutes on an interview with Jennifer Lopez.”

And it’s not like there wasn’t news on the VA front. "Friday, CBS This Morning reported that 18 people died waiting for appointments at the Phoenix VA, this according to acting Veterans Affairs secretary Sloan Gibson. Thus far, the story has gone unreported by both ABC and NBC," said the MRC report.

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at