Is The New York Times Trying to Paint Bergdahl as a Victim/Hero?

The New York Times has sunk, yet again, to a new low.  Only this time, they may have created an even bigger conundrum for President Obama.

In a clear and desperate attempt to whitewash Obama's ill-fated swap of what is increasingly appearing to be an army deserter for five unrepentant deadly dangerous terror leaders (two of whom have been named war criminals by the United Nations) for a U.S. soldier, The Times has gone into overdrive, now seemingly blaming those with whom Bowe Bergdahl served for his apparent desertion.

Richard Oppel Jr. and Eric Schmitt of the Times suggest that Bergdahl should somehow be exonerated for his crime because he was a victim of sorts, being a member of what the paper describes as "a misfit platoon that stumbled through its first months in Afghanistan and might have made it too easy for him to walk away."  Yet, even if we are to buy into this weak defense, we are still left wondering how this justifies the trading of five Taliban leaders for Bergdahl.


As a means to quell the voices of members of his "raggedy" platoon speaking out about Bergdahl, the leftist newspaper is joining other Obama apologists in slamming and smearing soldiers who have the courage to tell the truth.  What is also startling is that even if true and a soldier is serving in a less than stellar platoon, the Times deems this an acceptable reason to go permanently AWOL. That the deserter is who makes a platoon weak seems to be lost on the defenders of a dangerously flawed and incompetent Commander-in-Chief.

Oppel and Schmitt go on to describe the precarious situation this platoon found itself in, hoping readers will believe that most others who serve overseas, do so in safe, comfortable surroundings, again suggesting that being in danger of being harmed by enemy combatants is a justifiable reason to desert. "Indeed, an internal Army investigation into the episode concluded that the platoon suffered from lapses in discipline and security in the period before Sergeant Bergdahl — a private first class at the time who was promoted while in captivity — disappeared into Paktika Province."

The single firefight Bergdahl was involved in resulted in no injuries or death among the soldiers in the platoon -- a fact that would seem to call into question the assertion that the platoon was substandard and chock full of "misfits."  In fact, the platoon has never lost a soldier, but the battalion did -- several while on a mission to find Bergdahl.

That soldiers face danger is a fact that seems to be lost on The New York Times.

In the face of overwhelming evidence that Bowe Bergdahl was not captured, but instead, deserted, the Times seems to be easing into the inevitable position of admitting and acknowledging this unfortunate fact.  That they are also laying the groundwork for justifying possible treason is indefensible.

The problem for President Obama is how to justify the release of five Taliban leaders who are certain to return to the jihad mission, for a traitor.  The only option would seem to be a court martial for Bergdahl as a means for Obama to save face, politically.   Unless, of course, his minions on the Left can successfully market Bergdahl as a victim/hero.  The New York Times is obviously attempting to create an opportunity for the latter.

Cheri Jacobus is president of Capitol Strategies PR.  She worked on Capitol Hill, managed congressional campaigns, was an RNC spokesperson and was an adjunct professor at the GWU Graduate School of Political Management.  She also has a BS in Journalism.

Cheri Jacobus
Cheri Jacobus
Cheri Jacobus is president of Capitol Strategies PR.