Bowe Bergdahl’s name has been emblazoned across cable news chyrons all week, but on Tuesday Rachel Maddow was talking about a different American POW: Jessica Lynch.
Maddow opened her show with a lengthy recollection of the 2003 rescue of Lynch, who was captured after her vehicle was ambushed on the third day of the Iraq war. Lynch was initially portrayed by the Washington Post as a hero, a “little girl Rambo” as she later described it, who went down guns blazing and riddled with bullets. The story proved a myth; as Lynch quickly clarified, her gun had jammed and she wasn’t able to shoot anyone.
For Maddow, freeing Lynch was analogous to freeing Bergdahl because both had complicated backstories. Only in Bergdahl’s case there are these damned right-wingers we must contend with. She played a montage of conservatives objecting to the prisoner swap that freed Bergdahl. After a phony pregnant pause, she concluded, “On the American right, in Republican politics and in conservative media, there apparently is nothing to celebrate in an American prisoner of war coming home after five years.”