New S—t Has Come to Light!

June 5, 2014

I couldn't bear to watch The Amazing Chris Hayes for a second day in a row—really, who can?—but I was amused to hear via Twitter that he was, literally, reading random tweets on air from people who had called for the release of Bergdahl and are now denouncing the deal that garnered that release. (Sounds like riveting TV; no wonder he's a ratings dynamo.) Indeed, he had called in reinforcements in the form of the head of the Humorless Hack Brigade to really get into the nitty gritty. "Random people tweeted that they wanted this POW returned," one imagines the two excitedly saying. "And then they didn't approve of the terms under which he was reacquired. Amazing!"

Hayes hasn't been alone in making this remarkably asinine point. Several media outlets have highlighted that some people on Twitter—even some politicians!—called for the administration to work on getting Bergdahl back before wondering if the price paid was worth it. You can practically hear them channeling Super TroopersRod Farva as they gleefully peck away at their keyboards:

As we all know, hypocrisy is the Internet age's sole sin. Allow me to suggest, however, that another pop culture reference would be a more apt one to apply to this situation:

I'll tell you what I'm blathering about, man. New shit has come to light!

Considering that this administration has gone to great lengths to keep the circumstances of Bergdahl's "capture" under wraps—did you know that guys in his battalion were forced to sign NDAs?—it's no wonder that people might, just might, feel slightly differently about the guy once the facts started pouring out.

Now look: I get why this is hard for the left to understand. Chris Hayes doesn't like it when people call soldiers heroes, after all, so he's likely doubly confused when those same people who reflexively call a POW a hero then backtrack after finding out why he had been captured. (Especially since he's done something truly honorable in Hayes' eyes like denounce the American military.) But many of you journalists (you know who you are) are smarter than this! I know you! You're not dumb, not like everybody says. You're smaht!

So yes: Some people reflexively pushed for a POW to be released and urged the administration to do everything in its power to get him back. That's what folks on the right tend to do when it comes to POWs. But then—when it was revealed that his fellow soldiers consider him a deserter, when it was revealed that he may have renounced his citizenship, when it was revealed that we were giving up five al Qaeda-aligned war criminals to get this deserter back ... in other words, when new shit came to light—their tunes changed. It's not exactly particle physics, bro. And it's not really hypocritical either. Nor does it tell us something deep about voters. It is, quite the contrary, a wholly reasonable reaction.

"Oh, but Michael Hastings wrote about this in Rolling Stone two years ago, you should've known about these accusations!" may be the retort. I hate to break it to y'all—I know most journalists really loved Hastings' work! Hell, I thought some of his stuff was quite good!—but roughly 99 percent of America never read that story. I would guess that number is even higher when we narrow our focus to "the right." Because, believe it or not, most conservatives aren't getting their national security news from Rolling StoneI mean, I consider myself relatively up on the news and I had never read it. Had never even heard about it until a couple of days ago when, weirdly, it became relevant for some reason.

So, yes. Some people calling for Bergdahl's release now think that the deal was a bad one. And, honestly, I'm glad that they do. Because it suggests that they haven't fully taken leave of their critical faculties.

Note: I realize bowdlerizing "shit" in the headline is weaksauce. Sue me, I'm old fashioned.

Published under: Chris Hayes , MSNBC