In prepared testimony this morning before the House Armed Services Committee, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel pronounced his dissatisfaction with how “some people” have been treating the family of Bowe Bergdahl, the Army sergeant who was recently freed from Taliban captivity. The testimony reads:
Like any American, Sergeant Bergdahl has rights, and his conduct will be judged on facts – not political hear-say, posturing, charges, or innuendo. We owe that to any American and especially those who are members of our military and their families. Like most Americans, I’ve been offended and disappointed in how the Bergdahl family has been treated by some people. No family deserves this. I hope there will be sober reflection on people’s conduct regarding this issue and how it relates to the Bergdahl family.
Those are strong characterizations. But just who are these “some people”? Can we get a bit more detail on that group?
With that purpose in mind, the Erik Wemple Blog reached out to a Defense Department official, who responded “[T]here are a number of individuals in the media who have jumped to conclusions.”
Aha! So it’s the media — who ever would have thunk it? Now that we’ve narrowed it down to this universe of navel-gazers, allow the Erik Wemple Blog to take it from there. Tops among the Bergdahl-family mistreaters are Joe Scarborough, the MSNBC host who went on a rant alleging that Robert Bergdahl was a bad father for allegedly encouraging his son to bail on his fellow soldiers: “Any good father would not tell their son to follow their conscience and leave men and women on the line,” ripped Scarborough; and Bill O’Reilly, the Fox News host who has claimed and re-claimed that Robert Bergdahl’s beard makes him “look like a Muslim” and whose behavior has been “inappropriate.” Between the two of these fellows lies a mound of jumped-to conclusions and innuendo.