The backlash continues over how some provinces of the U.S. media have treated the Bergdahl family after the release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl from Taliban captors. Last week, various hosts and commentators on cable news — most notably MSNBC and Fox News — criticized Bergdahl’s father, Robert Bergdahl, for growing a beard and learning Pashto as a means of learning about Afghanistan, where his son spent five years in captivity.
Time’s Joe Klein has no tolerance for any of it: “[W]e have leaped, with reflexive bloodlust, to crucify an American family that has already suffered too much–a scapegoat sacrifice to a decade of blood, during which we leaped into Iraq, which seems to be slipping back into civil war, and distended the war in Afghanistan, all based on things we surmised but didn’t really know,” writes Klein.
Klein’s scolding falls not on MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, who called into question Robert Bergdahl’s parenting, nor on Bill O’Reilly, who obsessed over how the beard makes Robert Bergdahl look “like a Muslim.” Instead, Klein chose Fox News host Sean Hannity and his fixation on how Robert Bergdahl broke into a foreign tongue in that famous White House appearance with President Obama:
Next, they come after you. Sean Hannity says you uttered a “war cry of Allah” in the Rose Garden. Hannity has two Islamic “experts” on his radio [and TV] show who don’t refute the claim. One of them asserts that you “radicalized” your son just as the mother of the Boston Marathon bombers “did.” But Hannity knows a main chance when he sees it. Back to the war cry: “And you think the father interpreted it that way and purposely said that in the Rose Garden, and it was sending a message and the President–you could see the President smiling there as he says it.”
Too bad Klein missed the most noteworthy aspect of Hannity’s treatment of Bergdahl the senior. It lies in the trivializing graphic on the lower-right part of the screen. It actually, truly does say, “What about Bob?”: