The folks at Fox News have long had it in for former POW and alleged deserter Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. Now Bergdahl is back in the news, having requested a pardon from President Obama before leaving office. That has sent the folks at Fox and the amen chorus of head-bobbers who follow them into full freakout mode.
Fox and Friends, the show where host Brian Kilmeade once attacked Bergdahl’s father for sporting a beard exactly like those worn by the Fox heroes of Duck Dynasty, is leading the anti-Bergdahl charge again. On Monday morning the show hosted retired Sgt. Matt Vierkant, who they advertised as Bergdahl’s “platoon leader.” Vierkant weighed in with the opinion that Bergdahl’s legal team is getting desperate because they don’t have a defense for his actions. But, as Kilmeade surprisingly admitted, Bergdahl’s lawyer Eugene Fidell says the reason for the pardon request is because they do not believe he can receive a fair trial under a Trump administration. In 2015 Trump called Bergdahl a “dirty, rotten traitor.”
Fox has pushed hard on the story from the beginning, claiming that a 2009 report said Bergdahl had been attempting to defect to the Taliban. That narrative stuck in conservative circles and was widely reported and shared. The problem with it is that the report in question doesn’t exist, according to Newsweek. But the “Bowe Bergdahl-traitor” image, like so much other Fox misinformation, has become part of the conservative belief set.
One of the main reasons the right hates Bergdahl is because he was part of a prisoner exchange with the Taliban arranged by the Obama administration. The Obama-haters have put aside their support for the troops in the case of Bergdahl because criticizing both him and the deal that brought him home plays into the larger narrative that Obama hates America. So, throw “support the troops” out the window — even a former POW — and while we’re at it, let’s forget about that whole “innocent until proven guilty” thing. Daddy Trump says Bergdahl is a “traitor,” so that’s all we need to know.
We know this much about the Bergdahl case: he deserted his post, and he was taken prisoner. We also know his history before joining the Army paints the picture of a somewhat confused young man. But because he hasn’t come to trial yet, and because the Army refuses to release any information on the case, there are a lot of missing details. There may be some information that weighs in his favor, and some that weighs against him. We simply don’t know.
The comments on the Fox News Facebook post about the story are about what you would expect. Obama and Bergdahl are both traitors, even though the former has not indicated whether he would consider a pardon and the latter has yet to be judged guilty of anything.
Apparently Bergdahl “undermined” the U.S. by being captured? I guess Radford agrees with Trump’s opinion of John McCain: “I like people who weren’t captured.”
Some commenters wonder why Bergdahl wasn’t simply shot.
It wouldn’t be a right-wing hate-fest without bringing Hillary into it.
And this guy illustrates what has so many of us worried about Trump and his fans.
No, Michael, your god-emperor can’t just decide to give Bergdahl a death sentence. It seems that would be obvious to these self-professed constitution lovers.
So we found the one troop that the right doesn’t support, even though the full story of what happened to him is yet to come out and he has yet to be convicted of anything. It doesn’t matter who you are, if you want the right to hate you, all you have to do is find yourself connected in some way to President Obama.