Report: Simon & Schuster imprint rejected book about Bergdahl because it might hurt Obama

Via the Daily Caller, you would think an eyewitness account of the disappearance of the last American POW in Afghanistan would be easy money for a publisher.

But sometimes there are higher considerations.

While the U.S. Army weighs whether to bring charges against Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was freed earlier this year after spending nearly five years as a Taliban captive in Afghanistan, six of his former platoon mates are shopping proposals for a book and movie that would render their own harsh verdicts…

“I’m not sure we can publish this book without the Right using it to their ends,” Sarah Durand, a senior editor at Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, wrote in an email to one of the soldiers’ agents.

“[T]he Conservatives are all over Bergdahl and using it against Obama,” Durand wrote, “and my concern is that this book will have to become a kind of ‘Swift Boat Veterans for Truth’” — a reference to the group behind a controversial book that raised questions about John Kerry’s Vietnam War record in the midst of his 2004 presidential campaign. (Durand did not respond to requests for comment. “We do not comment about our editorial process,” said Paul Olsewski, vice president and director of publicity at Atria.)

That “Swift Boat” talking point comes straight from the White House itself. Imagine how upset Durand will be when she finds out Obama can’t be swiftboated because — sob — he can’t run again.

I trust that Michael Isikoff wouldn’t have run with this if he wasn’t confident that it’s true (he has some experience with publishers spiking stories that are unhelpful to Democratic presidents, as I recall), but it seems odd that Durand would have laid out her political motives so nakedly in an e-mail to one of the soldiers’ agents. Why do that knowing that it might leak and force Atria to explain precisely how damaging to Barack Obama a book can be before it’s unfit for publication? That’s something you’d say inside an office at Simon & Schuster while sticking pins in a Ted Cruz doll, not something you’d put down in print and then hand over to someone whose book you’re rejecting.

Here’s the “about” page for Atria Books, by the way, which begins by emphasizing the vision of its publisher. Any guesses as to which presidential candidate she favored in the last two elections? Do a search at Open Secrets if you can’t stand the suspense.

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