Give not one, but two golf-claps to MSNBC. They managed to do an outstanding job of calling attention to themselves by allowing yet another opinionated jackass of an anchor to speak on the air. The saying goes that there is ‘no such thing as bad press’. Well, MSNBC might have proved that wrong this weekend.
Admittedly, I don’t watch MSNBC very often at all. They lean so far left that they’re about to tip over, fall on their heads, and hurt themselves. Not even Fox News, which is the most right-leaning news station, is that bad. Usually I’ll watch CNN for center-left wing news, Fox for right-wing news, and between the two, I can get the actual picture, which tends to be far more moderate than either of them want to admit. Being moderate, after all, is about as exciting as watching me clean cat hair out of my keyboard.
This weekend, Chris Hayes, one of the MSNBC hosts, stepped in it. And by ‘stepped in it’, I mean ‘built up an entire barn full of manure in which to immerse himself fully, then walked in and took a swan dive into the giant steaming pile’.
Here’s a transcript of what he said on Sunday, May 27th.
CHRIS HAYES: Thinking today and observing Memorial Day, that’ll be happening tomorrow. Just talked with Lt. Col. Steve Burke [sic, actually Beck], who was a casualty officer with the Marines and had to tell people [inaudible]. Um, I, I, ah, back sorry, um, I think it’s interesting because I think it is very difficult to talk about the war dead and the fallen without invoking valor, without invoking the words “heroes.” Um, and, ah, ah, why do I feel so comfortable [sic] about the word “hero”? I feel comfortable, ah, uncomfortable, about the word because it seems to me that it is so rhetorically proximate to justifications for more war. Um, and, I don’t want to obviously desecrate or disrespect memory of anyone that’s fallen, and obviously there are individual circumstances in which there is genuine, tremendous heroism: hail of gunfire, rescuing fellow soldiers and things like that. But it seems to me that we marshal this word in a way that is problematic. But maybe I’m wrong about that.
“Maybe” you’re wrong about that, Chris? Let’s get one thing straight. You ARE wrong. Those who signed up to serve our country, and even those who got drafted and served honorably, are all heroes to me, especially those who gave their lives for us. They even gave you the opportunity to sit in that chair on that lovely set with your perfectly coiffed hair and manicured hands to announce to us that you feel calling these people heroes is ‘rhetorically proximate to justifications for more war’. I think you forgot just who is responsible for securing your ‘freedom of speech’.
More importantly, how in the world do you even begin to justify this utterly ridiculous argument? Please explain to me how calling our war dead heroes is in any way related to any justification, ‘rhetorically proximate’ or otherwise, for war? My great uncle, who was killed in action in World War II, was hardly in a ‘rhetorically proximate’ position to justify our goal of stopping Hitler from taking over Europe. Dead people don’t get the opportunity to determine any justifications for war. Their families certainly don’t get the opportunity. The justification for war, at least in the US, is determined by Congress and the President, who order those soldiers and sailors into battle. Your argument is such a non sequitur, it’s stunning. Do you really think that people run around saying “Ooooh! We call our fallen soldiers and sailors heroes, therefore we can now go to war!!!” If I said that to someone, they’d wonder if my head was rhetorically proximate to my anal sphincter. The less polite ones would tell me I had my head up my arse.
Hayes issued a written apology later. He didn’t bother to say it publicly, however. For all we know, someone in the public relations department wrote it for him.
To MSNBC: I’m never watching your network again, but not because Hayes expressed his opinion. I’m never watching your network again because you hired an idiot, put him on the air, and allowed him to talk to people like he knows things.
First, Hayes insulted veterans and war heroes on Memorial Day weekend. That’s just dumb with a capital ‘DUH’. I’m sure the public relations people are having a collective heart attack right now over his tacky statements. Does he have the right to say those things? Sure. Our heroes fought and died to give him that right. Did he exercise good judgment in saying those on a weekend where we remember our fallen heroes? Just in case you want an actual answer, here it is: NO.
Second, if he makes mindless and foolish statements, passing that off as ‘journalism’ in order to drive ratings, I’m not going to support that. Give me someone who can actually put together an insightful and well-constructed argument. Hayes clearly can’t, and I’m not going to waste my time listening to someone whose brain is rhetorically proximate to that of a dodo bird.