To Right-Wing Media, Bergdahl Release Is A Distraction From VA Problems

››› ››› SOPHIA TESFAYE

Right-wing media greeted news of the release of the only U.S. soldier held captive in Afghanistan with claims that his freedom was timed to distract from the controversy plaguing the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl Is Freed By Taliban In Prisoner Exchange

Longest Serving Prisoner Of War In Afghanistan Returned To American Special Operations In Prisoner Exchange. Bergdahl, who was captured by Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan in June 2009, was released on May 31 in exchange for five Taliban detainees held at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. [The New York Times5/31/14]

Right-Wing Media Claim Bergdahl's Release  Meant To Distract From VA Scandal 

Glenn Beck: Bergdahl Release A Distraction By Obama ''To Get Everybody To Stop Talking About The VA." On the June 2 edition of of his radio show, Glenn Beck claimed "the only reason why this happened is because the president is trying to get the VA off of the front page of the newspapers. That's all he's doing. He's just trying to get everybody to stop talking about the VA." [Premiere Radio Networks, The Glenn Beck Radio Program, 6/2/14 via Right Wing Watch]

Laura Ingraham: "Given The Onslaught" From "Managing The Veterans Affairs Scandal" The "Timing Is Suspicious." During the June 2 edition of The Laura Ingraham Show, Ingraham questioned the timing of Bergdahl's release as "interesting" given the "justified onslaught against the adminstration for what it did, didn't do with managing the vVeterans Affairs scandal of treatment." Ingraham claimed that this news "comes out at an opportune time for the commander-in-chief" before predicting it would "backfire." [Courtside Entertainment Group, The Laura Ingraham Show6/2/14]

Red State's Erick Erickson: "The Administration Is Focusing On This And Distracting The Press" From The VScandal. In a June 2 RedState column, Fox News contributor Erick Erickson claimed that the news of Bergdahl's release was timed to distract from the news of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki's resignation, writing, "we have gotten back Bowe Bergdahl from the Taliban. The Administration is focusing on this and distracting the press, most likely willingly, from a few issues that require focus. First is the ongoing V.A. scandal. The Secretary in charge resigning does not change the story." [RedState, 6/2/14]

Daily Caller's Matt Lewis: Bergdahl's Release Either "A Coincidence Or A Machiavellian Plot" To "Change The Subject From The VA Scandal." Lewis responded to the news in a June 2 column in The Daily Caller and accused President Obama of attempting to shift attention away from the ongoing VA scandal, "if President Obama was secretly hoping this announcement would engender comity, or even change the subject from the VA scandal to something more positive, he was sorely mistaken." [The Daily Caller, 6/2/14]

Ben Shapiro: "Disastrous Bergdahl Deal Attempt To Distract From VA." In a June 2 TruthRevolt column, conservative writer Ben Shapiro responded to Bergdahl's release with skepticism and attacked the White House's motivations. Shapiro wrote, "perhaps the Obama administration, panicked at the continuing Veterans Administration scandal and the growing perception that it does not care about those who serve, went for the quick photo op at the expense of American interests." Shapiro also posted a similar sentiment to Twitter: 

[Twitter, 6/2/14], [TruthRevolt,6/2/14]

Right-Wing Media Have A History Of Casting Legitimate Issues As Distractions

Fox's Allen West: "Fishy" Focus On Boko Haram Is Meant To Distract From Benghazi. In a May 12 blog post, Fox News contributor Allen West accused the Obama administration of disingenuously caring about the kidnapping of Nigerian schoolgirls so they could distract the public from "all the scandals facing the Obama administration, especially Benghazi and the Select Committee." [AllenBWest.com, 5/12/14]

Fox's Pavlich Calls Review Of Inhumane Deportation Practices A "Distraction" From Obamacare. During the March 13 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends Saturday, Fox contributor Katie Pavlich claimed a directive from President Obama to find more humane ways to handle deportations was "ridiculous" and labeled the move a "distraction" away from "the debate on Obamacare." [Fox News, Fox & Friends Saturday, 3/15/14]

Fox's Jonah Goldberg: Minimum Wage A Distraction To "Get People Talking About Anything Other Than Obamacare." On the January 2 edition of Fox News' Happening Now, Fox contributor Jonah Goldberg insisted that Obama and Democrats are focusing on "populist issues such as the minimum wage" in order "to get people talking about anything other than Obamacare." [Fox News, Happening Now1/2/14]

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