Massa v O'Reilly

Eric Massa's call to fire Bill O'Reilly made the Messenger-Post, as well as some big audience national blogs.

For those new to the controversy, it concerns Pfc. Bowe Bergdahl, who is serving in Afghanistan, was captured by the Taliban under unclear circumstances, and was featured in a recently released propaganda tape. Here's a CNN update on the case.

Fox analyst Ralph Peters, a retired Army Lieutenant Colonel, said the following about Bergdahl on Fox:

If, when the facts are in, we find out that through some convoluted chain of events, he really was captured by the Taliban, I'm with him. But, if he walked away from his post and his buddies in wartime, I don't care how hard it sounds, as far as I'm concerned, the Taliban can save us a lot of legal hassles and legal bills.

Obviously, calling for the murder of an American soldier by the enemy is a bit beyond the pale, even for Fox News.

In what was apparently a misguided attempt at damage control, Peters appeared on the Bill O'Reilly show, where O'Reilly said he thinks that Bergdahl is "crazy", and Peters said that he's sure that Bergdahl has "shamed his unit", though "I do hope for his family's sake this guy comes back safely". This is apparently what passes for an apology on Fox News.

The Army is running an investigation, and at some point we'll know what happened to Pfc. Bergdahl. In the meantime, over 500 people in the town of 6,000 where Bergdahl grew up are having a vigil for him. Here are a few words from them:

"It was part of his adventurous spirit that carries on," said Blaine County Sheriff J. Walt Femling, who rented an apartment to Bergdahl in 2006, on why he joined the military. "Not only that, but he wanted to serve."
Bergdahl showed up at the Blaine County Gun Club in 2007, looking for summer work. He and manager Dick Mandeville got along well, with Bergdahl's duties including helping shooters on the trap fields, stocking targets and cleaning racks full of rifles.
"He was good every which way you looked at it," Mandeville said.

I don't know what happened to Pfc. Bergdahl, and I doubt that Bill O'Reilly will resign because of this, but Massa's right to make some noise about this one. It stinks.


Those of us in Ontario County call the Daily Messenger and Gatehouse Publishing's Messenger Post offices, Ontario County Democrat's Campaign Headquarters. Having been a candidate for political office in Canandaigua and a journalist for a couple of small independent weeklies, I can personally attest to the rampant bias that fills most every political article printed on the DM's pages.

I agree that the editorial policy of the Daily Messenger leans towards Democrats. But, on occasion, they have taken Massa to task. Here's an example: