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Chris Hayes Apology

by John on 05/29/2012

Here’s some Informed Not Inflamed thinking on Chris Hayes.

Hayes is a writer/journalist/TV host who started a Memorial Day uproar, then apologized.

On his show, Up with Chris Hayes, he questioned using the term “hero” for soldiers who died in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

He later apologized.  Most of his apology is here.  Here’s a portion.

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.

You should watch the video clip on that link.

  • Whoever edited it, stopped it and superimposed the word “Prick”, then showed a clip with George W. Bush saying how proud he is to be the commander in chief of our troops.  Clearly there is some media bias here.
  • During the clip, Hayes was raising a question and even admitted he might be wrong.

The Informed Not Inflamed Take: This is another example of TV and the blogosphere creating more heat than light.

  • Hayes clearly made some bad choices.  His words definitely hurt family members of those who have fallen in our wars.  And he said it, of all times, on Memorial Day Weekend.  I have spent time with the wounded warriors at Camp Lejeune, so I would tell Hayes, “Dude, walk it back.”  And he did.
  • Hayes’ apology was heartfelt.  He said, “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.”
  • I also think, if you watch the clip, Hayes was questioning himself for even asking the question.  That is a trick for a TV host to spur conversation – offer an opinion that will be contrary for the panel.  Maybe he was trying to get ratings although I don’t think I sensed that as a motive.
  • But Hayes also hit a guilty nerve in the American psyche.  We are guilt ridden for sending our troops, sometimes on multiple tours, where they might survive physically but maybe not psychologically, to wars that we question whether they’re relevant or not. 
  • We are also guilty about those things thanks to President Bush.  The wars, we later learned, were paid for by Chinese IOUs.  And worse, the President told us to help the war effort by going shopping.  Are you really comfortable with a leader that says that?  Are you comfortable with yourself for not voicing your disapproval?  They actually did that in the Civil War.  Irish immigrants were given paid by citizens to fight for them in their place for the Union.
  • And if you listen to the video, Hayes was trying to make that point.  Yes, he didn’t do it very well.  But his point is a good one.  If we keep glamorizing our wars, and creating an atmosphere of U.S. military initiatives, aren’t we hurting our nation economically?  Hayes has the right – and it’s his job – to raise that question. 
  • And aren’t there people, certain lawmakers, and industries that make money thanks to war?  These people and their motives need to be questioned as well by all of us — including the families of those who lost heros in the wars.  As a nation, we don’t ask enough.
  • Let me go back to my time with the wounded warriors at Camp Lejeune.  Too often I sat talking with these guys and gals and saw their young faces, knowing they could not go back into combat, and they may have a difficult time finding work because their physical or mental capabilities have been damaged, and I wonder, “Why were we fighting over there?”  Seeing the increase in suicides and murders is gut-wrenching.  What’s worse, we saw this in WWI, WWII, Korea, and Vietnam.  Sometimes I think we are the most uneducated people on earth.
  • I hope Hayes doesn’t get fired.  He was raising an issue and asking a question.  If he is ousted, then why isn’t Trump fired for questioning the President’s birth location?  Dan Rather was canned for questioning George W. Bush’s lack of military commitment.
  • Hayes’ show, I will admit, is a good listen.  I say “listen” because it’s a two hour round-table discussion.  It’s on Saturday and Sunday mornings on MSNBC.  Sure, it leans liberal.  But he brings on conservative panelists as well.  It’s one of the few shows I will actually watch since it catches my attention as I wake up on weekends.  The other reason: the discussion is usually smart with people who have actually read or even written books.  (Too snarky on my part?  Hey it beats the NHL crap that breaks out on Fox News.)
  • Hayes, of course, will be attacked for what he said because he is a liberal.  What’s worse for him, his wife works as a Assistant Counsel to President Obama.  That’s another irony since this President has only pulled back, not obliterated the Bush war policies.
  • Now this would be news if somone on Fox News had said it.

OK, let’s move on.


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