Under the Radar

Sound Off: Solving the 'Mystery' of Sgt. Bergdahl



The desertion case of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl has attracted the journalists behind the popular podcast Serial and it's rumored that Bergdahl will be the focus of the program's upcoming second series.

Wait, what?

For anyone needing some background: a podcast is a sort of on-demand radio program distributed online and Serial, created by the producers of actual public radio show This American Life, became a sensation last fall with the kind of college-educated, bearded and/or tatted-up baristas who make your $5 coffee drinks at Starbucks. The first series was about the 1999 murder of Baltimore high school student Hae Min Lee and questioned whether her (convicted) boyfriend Adnan Syed was actually guilty of the crime.

The hipster class went crazy, everyone talked about it around their online water cooler of choice for weeks until the series ended without a clear solution to its mystery. Since, you know, real life doesn't usually follow a Hollywood story arc. There was a lot of complaining and disappointment, but interest now seems high in what happens next. You can think of this as the online equivalent of the True Detective obsession after season one, since the two shows probably share a fan base.

Most fans of Serial have probably heard Bergdahl's name, but very few will have the kind of knowledge and prior interest that Military.com readers certainly have. The podcast has the potential to bring his story to a class of Americans who haven't paid much attention to the War on Terror and generate a lot of new interest, something that doesn't impress the men who served with Bergdahl. As one (anonymously) told the Military Times, "I think it's the height of crassness for them to do this when it could potentially affect the legal proceedings. I assume it will be a great way to paint us as kooks and sore losers."

Lead reporter Sarah Koenig was spotted in the courtroom at his Article 32 hearing last week, so her interest is all but confirmed. (Side note: Zero Dark Thirty screenwriter Mark Boal was also there. We'll keep an eye on future developments with that guy.)

Should Bergdahl's story be the subject of a True Crime series? Is this kind of thing journalism or is it the audio equivalent of true crime recreations that run endlessly on obscure cable networks? Take our survey below and sound off in the comments!


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