Fox News topped off its week of negative coverage surrounding the release of U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl by suggesting on Friday that America’s only prisoner of war in Afghanistan is a jihadist.
Pointing to a Fox News report, which claims that Bergdahl “converted to Islam, fraternized openly with his captors and declared himself a ‘mujahid,’” the network’s morning hosts bantered about Bowe’s comfortable experience in captivity and his noticeable good health, implying that he did not deserve to be rescued or exchanged for five Taliban-linked prisoners being held at Guantanamo Bay. Then, Fox & Friends anchor Steve Doocy asked, “did we trade five Islamic warriors for one Islamic warrior?”
But the Fox News story that sparked the discussion, written by reporter James Rosen, is based on “secret documents prepared on the basis of a purported eyewitness account.” The documents also claim that Bergdahl had at one point escaped his captors and was later recaptured and placed in a metal cage. These on-the-ground reports are based on dispatches collected by the Eclipse Group, which Rosen describes as “a shadowy private firm of former intelligence officers and operatives.” The firm is run by Duane R. (“Dewey”) Clarridge, who was indicted for lying to Congress about his role in the Iran-Contra scandal.
Though details of Bergdahl’s capture remain murky, the Pentagon has repeatedly said that it will investigate the circumstances surrounding his captivity and take appropriate disciplinary action, if necessary.
Earlier in the week, the network suggested that Bowe’s father looks like a member of the Taliban, implied that Bowe may have deserted his unit because he danced ballet, and linked the incident to the attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.