Hayes apologizes for “heroes” comments

posted at 2:41 pm on May 29, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

After an avalanche of criticism from his Sunday commentary, MSNBC weekend host and editor of The Nation Chris Hayes apologized for his comments on servicemembers who gave their lives in defense of the country:

On Sunday, in discussing the uses of the word “hero” to describe those members of the armed forces who have given their lives, I don’t think I lived up to the standards of rigor, respect and empathy for those affected by the issues we discuss that I’ve set for myself. I am deeply sorry for that.

As many have rightly pointed out, it’s very easy for me, a TV host, to opine about the people who fight our wars, having never dodged a bullet or guarded a post or walked a mile in their boots. Of course, that is true of the overwhelming majority of our nation’s citizens as a whole. One of the points made during Sunday’s show was just how removed most Americans are from the wars we fight, how small a percentage of our population is asked to shoulder the entire burden and how easy it becomes to never read the names of those who are wounded and fight and die, to not ask questions about the direction of our strategy in Afghanistan, and to assuage our own collective guilt about this disconnect with a pro-forma ritual that we observe briefly before returning to our barbecues.

But in seeking to discuss the civilian-military divide and the social distance between those who fight and those who don’t, I ended up reinforcing it, conforming to a stereotype of a removed pundit whose views are not anchored in the very real and very wrenching experience of this long decade of war. And for that I am truly sorry.

That didn’t satisfy all of Hayes’ critics.  A group called Silver Star Families wants Hayes fired:

An angry Steve Newton, Founder of the Silver Star Families of America, called on Chris Hayes to resign or be terminated for his recent comments on MSNBC on the fallen of the United States Military.

“Mr. Hayes comments that he is somehow “uncomfortable” with the word “hero” to describe our fallen Soldiers are reprehensible.  As with a lot of the pundits in Washington he seems unable to separate politics from the sacrifices of our military.”

He continued, “He seems to have no sense of the hurt his words will bring to the families and friends of those who have paid the ultimate price for his freedom.  I would strongly suggest another line of work for Mr. Hayes that might increase his empathy and his love of country—say in the military.”

While I understand how Chris Hayes made Newton and the families of those killed in service to our nation feel, for what reason would Hayes be fired?  He’s paid to have an opinion.  Granted, this opinion is out there on the fringe, but take another look at the video from Sunday.  Hayes didn’t foam at the mouth, slander or libel anyone, or call for the overthrow of the United States.  The opinion might offend a great number of people, but Hayes appeared to be at least sincere and somewhat thoughtful in his presentation of it.  Ed Schultz can be more offensive when he clears his throat than Hayes was in this segment.  His apology comes across as sincere and fully accepting of responsibility for his own words, not a “sorry if you were offended by my brilliance” non-apology apology that is so fashionable in media and politics on both sides of the aisle.

Hayes is certainly open to criticism, as are we all, for what he writes and says.  Honest opinions offered by opinion journalists shouldn’t result in demands for dismissals merely because almost everyone disagrees with what was said or written, with or without an apology.  We can offer our opposing views without chasing someone from the open market of ideas, and the better ideas will prevail.  An apology should be sufficient, and in the case of MSNBC, rather noteworthy.

What do you think?  Take the poll:


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Comment pages: 1 2

This moron (Hayes) doesn’t know the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day.

When I was in the Air Force, I was stationed stateside and did nothing heroic. But, the men and women who sacrificed their lives from the start of the Revolutionary War through Afghanistan certainly were heroes.

bw222 on May 29, 2012 at 3:57 PM

I have seen parts of several of his shows in the past. No question he is very liberal but he is not a fire breathing liberal. I accept his apology.

gerry-mittbot

gerrym51 on May 29, 2012 at 3:57 PM

Why is he not in jail ?

burrata on May 29, 2012 at 4:00 PM

I personally prefer giving lefties all the airtime they need to prove how stupid they are. If you take them off the air then they can quietly go about destroying the country. I say let people hear their idiocy in their own words.

The funny thing is I know what he meant to say which is that somehow we righties like to protect our warmongering by calling all criticism of war as somehow not supporting the troops, and that we use the troops to shield the war effort from criticism. However, this further illustrates the stupidity of the left. They see “war” and “the troops” as the same thing, while we understand they are much different, and we treat them as such. I don’t have agree with an invasion to still support my family members who are marching in it. And I will defend your right to be critical of the policy even if I don’t agree with your argument.

The left can’t understand this philosophy, which is why he completely fumbles his entire premise. It’s completely built on the idea that the right loves war, the troops love to kill people, and the lefties are the only ones standing between us and the poor innocents around the globe.

goflyers on May 29, 2012 at 4:08 PM

i’m a firm believer in free speech, but our side is the only side practicing it. this idea that you fire people on tv or radio because you don’t like what they said will only go away after some of those lefties get fired.

it’s called mutually assured destruction. once the left realizes their voices could get silenced and they change their tune, then we can go back to free speech.

jetch on May 29, 2012 at 4:10 PM

No good!

claudius on May 29, 2012 at 4:11 PM

I have seen parts of several of his shows in the past. No question he is very liberal but he is not a fire breathing liberal. I accept his apology.

gerry-mittbot

gerrym51 on May 29, 2012 at 3:57 PM

Do I really have to pretend to care what this socialist ahole has to say- and apologize about anything? MSNBS is getting way more attention than those moron antagonists deserve.

Thanks, but don’t need to be reminded.

FlaMurph on May 29, 2012 at 4:13 PM

How do we know he’s sincere unless we perform a test —you know, like they used to do for witches?

claudius on May 29, 2012 at 4:15 PM

This says it all.

Schadenfreude on May 29, 2012 at 4:18 PM

Worm.

Jeddite on May 29, 2012 at 4:19 PM

There needs to be a sixth option:

What is MSNBC and who is Chris Hayes?

saltydogg14 on May 29, 2012 at 4:20 PM

This says it all.

Schadenfreude on May 29, 2012 at 4:18 PM

Heh. Good thing there’s no “military vote.”

apostic on May 29, 2012 at 4:21 PM

As a conservative I can’t support having him fired. He said sorry lets move on. He will continue to say stupid things and we should call him out for it when he does.

Conservative4Ever on May 29, 2012 at 4:22 PM

How do we know he’s sincere unless we perform a test —you know, like they used to do for witches?

claudius on May 29, 2012 at 4:15 PM

So, if he weighs as much as a duck, then he’s made of wood*, and therefore, sincere!

*Like, say, Gregory Peck?

apostic on May 29, 2012 at 4:25 PM

Chris Hayes is not sorry he feels like that, he is sorry he’s being held acounbtable for being a babbling idiot.

volsense on May 29, 2012 at 4:26 PM

Chris Hayes is a douchebag and a weasel, but isn’t that par for the course at MSNBC? He fits in perfectly there. If you don’t like him, don’t watch, and leave him to his 10′s of viewers.

simkeith on May 29, 2012 at 4:27 PM

Listening to the original comments I think Hayes should be fired for the lack of ability to put together a thought into words and for using so many um’s.

Wagthatdog on May 29, 2012 at 4:32 PM

I’d rather they fire Meggie Mac and keep him. He has (according to Newsbusters) the Today Show panel attacking him and on his Twitter, celeb liberals giving him negative “Duuuude!” for apologizing. Which he did because he has a book coming out next week and needs interviews off that one network.

Marcus on May 29, 2012 at 4:37 PM

Mr. Hayes, Rachel Madcow’s turkey-baster-love-child, in his “apology” statement, spends more words justifying why he said what he said than he does apologizing for actually saying it. Sorry, Chris, no pass given out this time. Good luck on the rest of your short-lived career.

lonestarleeroy on May 29, 2012 at 4:38 PM

Can we stop putting this guy’s mug on here?

Looks like a Child molester for Christ’s sake!

ToddPA on May 29, 2012 at 4:43 PM

bw222 on May 29, 2012 at 3:57 PM

I noticed several pro-Dem media acting like it was Veterans Day. They’re so out of touch, they cannot comprehend a basic Venn diagram with two circles.

Christien on May 29, 2012 at 4:45 PM

And that’s no apology. It’s nothing but a lot of blather. Not that it would matter much.

dogsoldier on May 29, 2012 at 2:58 PM

Yeah, I’m still lost. I still can’t figure out where his apology is, or what it’s for. He apologizes to himself for not living up to his own standards — he wasn’t empathetic enough or something. So he should have, in his view, said what he said with more empathy?

And that last “And for that I am truly sorry” is like a Chevy Chase line, something following five minutes of twist as a punch line.

I give.

I’ll just assume he is still uncomfortable with the word “Hero” since I have no reason to believe any of that changed, is sorry that he said it out-loud, or for the way he said it, or something — and that “His apology comes across as sincere and fully accepting of responsibility for his own words” to many people that actually understood it — like Ed.

Moving on. :)

Axe on May 29, 2012 at 4:48 PM

Was Rush Limbaugh afforded continued employment at ESPN for his opinion.

Wade on May 29, 2012 at 4:56 PM

A male Ashley Banfield, or maybe just a slightly less feminine one. Although Ashley may have more gravitas after this.

curved space on May 29, 2012 at 4:56 PM

Which is exactly what Hayes was saying. So what makes his comments “reprehensible”? Talk about pretzel logic.

lostmotherland on May 29, 2012 at 2:57 PM

No pretzel logic here. My comment was a discussion of the tenancy to label everyone who has ever served in the military a hero. But his comment was directed specifically at calling those we honor on Memorial Day — those who have DIED in service to their country — heroes. Those are two very different things.

Memorial Day isn’t about remembering everyone who ever served. It’s about remembering those who have died in service.

Put more simply, heroes.

Typhoon on May 29, 2012 at 3:04 PM

A very good point. I should have made myself clearer. I wasn’t saying Hayes was talking about anyone who had ever served. I was using his comments as a springboard to discuss the broader issue of the blanket application of the term “hero” to anyone in the military. But, as I said above, Hayes wasn’t talking about that. He was very clearly addressing the fallen soldiers that we remember on Memorial Day. And they are, without a doubt, true heroes.

Shump on May 29, 2012 at 4:57 PM

Maybe. Maybe not.
The only way to evaluate such a comment is to ask what does constitute a hero in his opinion.
Somebody needs to ask. Personally, my bet is that answering the question will reveal his “thoughtful demeanor” to be a pose for the cameras.

drwilliams on May 29, 2012 at 4:58 PM

America then and now. My father after being wounded for the second time in Italy was standing on a street corner in California during a parade. The war was still going on and when the flag passed a woman standing there said she didn’t salute the flag because they were Jehovah’s Witnesses. He said he slapped her like he would a man and the crowd began to applaud him.

bluesdoc70 on May 29, 2012 at 5:04 PM

While I don’t believe in firing everyone who says something offensive, I also don’t want to see this guy get off the hook too easilly. His apology was weak and amounted to more of a rationalization than an acceptance that he was an offensive bonehead and that his boneheadedness included insensitivity to the vets and to the holiday itself. I would have better understood his idiotic opinion on the subject being spouted say, next weekend. But this buffoon basically said,”look, this sacred day that America has set aside to remember and honor those who make the ultimate sacrifice (so that I am FREE to live out my wildest marxism-promoting dreams), I’d rather we talk about what a sham it is and point out what stooges those so-called ‘heroes’ are in the great consevartive warmongering conspiracy…”

That’s what I heard and until I hear a real apology for that, I think we should give this tool as much “rhetorical” hell as we can throw at him. We owe it to the real heroes to not let this guy off with a wink and a fake apology.

mxt on May 29, 2012 at 5:05 PM

No… But whenever he is on the clock they should make him wear a shirt that says…

I’m a Class A-Hole

.

RalphyBoy on May 29, 2012 at 5:21 PM

And on the back it should say…

Kick me

.

RalphyBoy on May 29, 2012 at 5:23 PM

I retired from the Air Force with 21 years service many years ago. I am still offended when folks comment about Vets or thank Vets for their service on Memorial Day! That isn’t what Memorial Day is about.

We have a Veterans Day to honor vets like me that still walk the earth. We have Armed Forces Day to honor those who are currently serving… Memorial is a very special day to remember and thank those who never returned from the battle field…. not those that returned and died fifty years later from smoking too much or old age.

Do I think this loser should be fired? Hell No…. and we can look to those millions that died on behalf of his First Amendment right to speak his mind for that.

May they all Rest In Peace. BTW, now that we are over the faux Monday Bank Holiday that Congress imposed on us as the ‘last Monday in May’ —- Tomorrow, 30 May, at Three PM, we can ‘celebrate’ the true Memorial Day.

Greatest oxymoron of the 21st Century? “Happy Memorial Day”…..

Pecozbill on May 29, 2012 at 5:33 PM

His apology doesn’t make sense, doesn’t even address what he said. It addresses the thrust of his argument, but not why anyone would find his argument offensive. His “apology” simply tries to re-enforce his original point that “calling dead servicemen “Heroes” just makes it easy to justify war because so few of us are willing to serve and die for this country”. Duh, that is why we commonly refer to them as a Hero.

He shouldn’t be fired actually. I like him right where he is. Showing the world who progressives are.

Mord on May 29, 2012 at 5:37 PM

Translated, his apology really says:

My last post resulted in my being slammed for insulting true heros.
As a result, I need to appear to apologize. And, hey, most Americans have never fought a war, either, so I’m not so
removed from them… my vile comments are not far from what most Americans think.

Just because I never read the names of the fallen heros, this must mean most Americans don’t.

And, since I feel guilty about defending our freedoms, this must be true for most Americans.

Chitownmom on May 29, 2012 at 5:47 PM

Why is he not in jail ?

burrata on May 29, 2012 at 4:00 PM

Because this is America and he has the right to say what he thinks and earn MSNBC all four viewers.

dogsoldier on May 29, 2012 at 6:12 PM

I believe everyone has the right to make a fool of themselves. This is America still with the right of free speech. Just call these fools on it when they say foolish things.

dddave on May 29, 2012 at 6:17 PM

I’m not a fan of firing someone for exercising the right to speak their mind. I choose to vote with my remote.

That said, the apology is NOT accepted and I will continue to not watch MSNBC. Frankly, I don’t believe he would have apologized had he not realized that he was being rightfully vilified. And anyone who is so out of touch with real issues in the real world should should be rightfully ridiculed for his biased stupidity.

EdmundBurke247 on May 29, 2012 at 6:17 PM

He said this:

“One of the points made during Sunday’s show was just how removed most Americans are from the wars we fight….and how easy it becomes to never read the names of those who are wounded and fight and die”

He is only removed from the wars we fight because he chooses to be. For someone who wants to work in the news industry and give his opinion on these wars this statement is very revealing. Is it not like an electrical engineer saying: “none of us really study electricity”? Also, I find it kinda sad that he finds it so “easy” to just blow off and never read the names or appreciate the sacrifice of our war dead. He finds it easy to never give them a second thought. What is worse is how clueless this guy is to what a terrible explanation these statements reveal. This is a guy who can’t understand the meaning of the sorrow Americans feel inside for heroes we never knew. He clearly doesn’t get it.

Dollayo on May 29, 2012 at 6:38 PM

I retired from the Air Force with 21 years service many years ago. I am still offended when folks comment about Vets or thank Vets for their service on Memorial Day! That isn’t what Memorial Day is about.

Pecozbill on May 29, 2012 at 5:33 PM

I agree. It’s become something other than a day of reflection and rememberence.

lexhamfox on May 29, 2012 at 7:10 PM

I’m shocked that he even offered such a heart-felt apology. I wonder if that sincerity stemmed from the threat of losing his job. Either way, it doesn’t matter. We know what MessNBC is all about and he’s just one of their many puppets.

leftophobe on May 29, 2012 at 7:44 PM

This is America. Hayes has every right to his view; MSNBC has a right to theirs, and I to mine. He should be kicked to the curb.

SomeCallMeJohn on May 29, 2012 at 8:26 PM

Jerk. Jerks, actually. I watched the entire video supplied by HuffPo. This group had an agenda to get this thought out. They are still claiming Bush Lied with this tripe. Same siht – different different way.

ericdijon on May 29, 2012 at 9:10 PM

What reason is there to fire him? How about any reason. No reason. Good reason. Bad reason. Who cares? It’s called an “at will” contract. Look it up.

besser tot als rot on May 29, 2012 at 9:25 PM

I think it is offensive to actual heroes, like someone who won the Silver Star or above (except self awarded ones like John Kerry’s), to call anyone who joins the military, a hero.

VorDaj on May 29, 2012 at 9:51 PM

One of the points made during Sunday’s show was just how removed most Americans are from the wars we fight, how small a percentage of our population is asked to shoulder the entire burden and how easy it becomes to never read the names of those who are wounded and fight and die, to not ask questions about the direction of our strategy in Afghanistan [Operation Enduring Insanity/The Trillion Dollar Bridge To Nowhere/Mad Hatter's Sociology Experiment from Hell with American Soldiers and Marines used as Lab Rats], and to assuage our own collective guilt about this disconnect with a pro-forma ritual that we observe briefly before returning to our barbecues.

This is absolute truth.

VorDaj on May 29, 2012 at 9:56 PM

No need for an apology. Apologist. Just keep talking.

Bmore on May 29, 2012 at 10:19 PM

for what reason would Hayes be fired?

Just demanding that the democrats go by the same rules they have set for the GOP.

multiuseless on May 29, 2012 at 10:54 PM

“I would strongly suggest another line of work for Mr. Hayes that might increase his empathy and his love of country—say in the military.”Steve Newton, Founder-Silver Star Families of America

While I understand how Chris Hayes made Newton and the families of those killed in service to our nation feel, for what reason would Hayes be fired? Ed M

Steve Newton made it explicitly clear!
Throwing the young Bum out, would free up his
calander to schedule in some mind expanding
activities that may help the lil fop to
grow some sense from the experience.
I know it’s a lot to expect from a
pusilanimous punk, but heck just
maybe he’ll grow a pair too, and
learn that hiding behind his
gibberish doesn’t protect
a Nation from enemies!
Plus,the 4-eyedCreep
is bad for ratings!
“Let’s Roll”

On Watch on May 30, 2012 at 5:19 AM

Liberals only apologize because they got caught–not because the mean it.

BMF on May 30, 2012 at 7:20 AM

VorJa says “I think it is offensive to actual heroes, like someone who won the Silver Star or above (except self awarded ones like John Kerry’s), to call anyone who joins the military, a hero.”

Wrong.

I was a Marine platoon commander in Vietnam. When we received an order to attack, I’d tell my Marines “OK, we’ve been ordered to seize an objective, here’s what we are going to do.”

They’d listen. Unspoken was the fact that some of us would not see the sunset that day or would be severely wounded.

We’d saddle up, check our weapons, pass out extra ammo, and move out. Some didn’t see the sunset. Some were medically evacuated.

The rest of us prepared for night operations. Some would never see the sunrise. Some would be wounded.

The next day, we’d do it again.

I can tell you that the absolute truth is that everyone of those Marines performed heoric acts that have never been officially recognized. Very few awards that I submitted were approved and most were down graded to a lesser award.

But it’s not just the soldier with a rifle. It takes the entire team to get the mission accomplished with the least casualties. I would not be here today if were not for the pilots flying close air support, the mechanics that kept them flying, the artillery support, the personnel who prepared and delivered the resupplies, the doctors and nurses, the intelligence analysts, and the list is endless. They all gave their personal best with sacrifices that only a tiny fraction of Americans will ever understand, much less appreciate.

When our position was in danger of being overrun, every individual is a rifleman. The enemy doesn’t give a rat’s flying potato what your job is. He will kill you if you give him the chance.

They were all heroes. A medal only recognizes a specific achievement. It does not define heroism.

I’ve been retired from the Marine Corps for more than twenty-five years. I still marvel at what those Marines accomplished in the rice paddies, jungles, and mountains of Vietnam. Believe me. They were all heros.

BMF on May 30, 2012 at 7:55 AM

Leave him there to rot, maybe they can lose more viewers…if any are left…

insidiator on May 30, 2012 at 8:04 AM

They were all heroes. A medal only recognizes a specific achievement. It does not define heroism.

BMF on May 30, 2012 at 7:55 AM

Words of truth and experience. Thank You!

Dollayo on May 30, 2012 at 8:30 AM

Cowards issue statements or tweets.

madmonkphotog on May 30, 2012 at 8:34 AM

I would like to know how this ignorant bloviator landed on the air at BSNBC. Was he hired because his wife is The Won’s lawyer, or because of the Chicago Sun Times connection his ‘reporter’ father-in-law has with the administration? I wish someone at Breitbart would look into this. I would be willing to bet the house that someone in the White House arranged for his job.

maryo on May 30, 2012 at 8:36 AM

I retired from the Air Force with 21 years service many years ago. I am still offended when folks comment about Vets or thank Vets for their service on Memorial Day! That isn’t what Memorial Day is about.

Pecozbill on May 29, 2012 at 5:33 PM

Men and women who serve, serve to protect our freedoms and that includes personal freedom. I am always grateful when others recognize my service, be it Memorial Day or any other day.

Gunny Wade – USMC 1962 – ???

Wade on May 30, 2012 at 10:31 AM

Don’t be haters like them. This is still America and you can say what you think, no matter how obnoxious. Despite his apology, clear he does not think much of our forces. His opinion sucks, but he can have it. We don’t go after people’s jobs becasue we disagree with them. His words are his punishment, he can’t take them back. They are bitter pills that will follow him.

StevC on May 30, 2012 at 11:09 AM

StevC on May 30, 2012 at 11:09 AM

well said

Wade on May 30, 2012 at 11:36 AM

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