Unquestionable valor

MSNBC host demonstrates his weak grasp of what heroism is

  • Follow Editorials

Chris Hayes, besides being an MSNBC-TV host, must be a magician.

How else could he exhibit the sleight-of-hand necessary to simultaneously take liberal America-doubting handwringing to an entirely new level – while also giving the back of his hand to America’s veterans and war dead?

The bespectacled Hayes gathered up all the big words in his vocabulary to admit in an oddly politicized Memorial Day broadcast that he is “uncomfortable” about calling our war dead heroes because “it seems to me that it is so rhetorically proximate to justifications for more war.”

The insensitivity of the remark is matched only by its
fatuousness. If you’re saved from a thug by the gun of a policeman, you’re not justifying gunplay by thanking the cop – or thinking he’s a hero.

Pseudo-intellectualism gets its rightful reputation for its failure to think things through.

Even other liberal commentators excoriated Hayes, with NBC’s Star Jones noting that, “The person that he was talking to (on the show) was the
officer whose job it was to call the families of fallen soldiers. Could you be more inappropriate on Memorial Day?”

Um, no. There is nothing more offensive than relaxing one’s limp brain under the blanket of protection that others provide and then proceeding to question its value and their valor.

Hayes later apologized, but his ornate verbiage makes it clear his insult was not a mere slip of the tongue; he had
obviously thought it all out.

We’ve hardly seen such anti-Armed Forces sentiment in public since the heady days of the Vietnam War protests. And President Obama this week
lamented how that went down.

“One of the most painful chapters in our history was Vietnam,” the president said during Memorial Day ceremonies at the Vietnam War Memorial, “most particularly, how we treated our troops who served there.

“You were often blamed for a war you didn’t start, when you should have been commended for serving your country with valor. You were sometimes blamed for misdeeds of a few, when the honorable service of the many should have been praised.

“You came home and sometimes were denigrated, when you should have been celebrated. It was a national shame, a disgrace that should have never happened. And that’s why, here today, we resolve that it will not happen again.”

Except on certain extreme cable channels.

What should make Mr. Hayes uncomfortable isn’t paying due respect to our war dead and war heroes, but questioning their value and valor in his little civilized, safe and peaceful world guarded by the men and women of our fighting forces.

What a disgrace.

For the next trick, a disappearing act ...

Comments (47) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
specsta
6592
Points
specsta 05/31/12 - 01:52 am
5
8
Wow, the Chronicle editorial

Wow, the Chronicle editorial staff quoting President Obama and not including some negative slam about his words? I must mark this day on my calendar...

Jon Lester
2367
Points
Jon Lester 05/31/12 - 03:51 am
4
11
Come on, now.

None of y'all wear glasses?

Seriously, are you arguing that every single service person, from cook to commando, is equally 'entitled' to be called a 'hero,' and are you arguing for whitewashing serious questions about the motivations of American militarism, most immediately concerning Iran? That, to me, would appear to be at serious odds with your ideas about macroeconomics and energy policy, to say nothing of inviting yet another large VA caseload.

Techfan
6461
Points
Techfan 05/31/12 - 06:04 am
4
10
By the logic of the AC, from

By the logic of the AC, from now on all pro football players will be entered into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, all students will be valedictorian, etc., because one who goes above and beyond is on equal footing with anyone who merely participates. Whaddya know, the AC's been full of closet commies all this time.

Retired Army
17512
Points
Retired Army 05/31/12 - 06:27 am
7
10
Anybody who has ever served

Anybody who has ever served in a military force of any kind knows for sure that not everybody who has served earns the title hero. To say that all are hero's denigrate those few who truly do exemplify extraordinary courage in the face of danger.

The fact is that almost all of the real hero's of direct combat actions will say the same things. "I was just doing what I was trained to do" or "There was no one else to do it" and "I'm no hero" are some of the most common.

You know there is a reason that the military has an awards system that differentiates between heroic service, extraordinary service and the "I was there badges".

I've got a couple of the extraordinary service medal and a couple of the "I was there" badges and every once in a while some well meaning individual especially on Memorial or Veterans day will call me a hero. I'm not at all comfortable with that. I've known hero's and would never put myself in that class. I've no right to belittle others service.

With that being said, what's your point AACOS? At least the jounalist you're attacking here has the courage of his convictions to own up to what he said and while not apologizing good enough for you signs his name to his paid "OPINION".

Uum an afterthought. You refer to mr. hayes as the "bespeckled Mr. Hayes". Was that a cheap shot to denigrate the man because he wears glasses? I meet with many of my fellow veterans at the VA optical shop once every other year to get fitted with my new glasses. Mean little kids used to pick on others misfortunes/deformities.

And you have a problem with "big words"? Here's a couple of little words for you. Mean spirited.

InChristLove
22481
Points
InChristLove 05/31/12 - 06:46 am
12
4
RA wrote "Anybody who has

RA wrote "Anybody who has ever served in a military force of any kind knows for sure that not everybody who has served earns the title hero. To say that all are hero's denigrate those few who truly do exemplify extraordinary courage in the face of danger."

Well I suppose since you stated you had yourself received a few extraordinary service metals, it appears you might be a tad put out that some who served their duty faithfully but weren't in your opinion "extraordinary" would be considered a hero.

Definition of hero: A person, typically a man, who is admired for courage or noble qualities.

Any man or woman who has served in our armed forces, I believe, deserves to be called a hero. Thanks to all the men and women who serve. I appreciate your sacrifice.

seenitB4
90855
Points
seenitB4 05/31/12 - 06:52 am
6
2
Close it

Put a sock in it Mr Hayes...

southernguy08
499
Points
southernguy08 05/31/12 - 07:04 am
0
0
MSNBC
Unpublished

The 12 people who watch MSNBC will probably hail Mr. Hayes as a hero, instead of war dead. Like most liberals, they rant about Fox News, especially when the latest ratings says it is kicking the other networks butts to the moon. I wouldn't worry about it, AC. This is the same network of Einsteins who gave us Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews talking about that "tingling up his leg" when he heard Obama speak.

TParty
6003
Points
TParty 05/31/12 - 07:36 am
7
1
It's Chris Hayes opinion, and

It's Chris Hayes opinion, and instead of being upset about his comments- we should be happy he can speak his mind and not worry about disappearing tomorrow. Besides, who is Chris Hayes anyways? And who watches MSNBC still?

nofanofobama
6856
Points
nofanofobama 05/31/12 - 07:38 am
5
1
jl--we are talking about

jl--we are talking about respect for fallen service men and women..many who served in viet nam disagreed but did their duty..so please dont make this into an anti-military comment like HAYES and others and yourself .. ...its a day for simple respect for thoses who gave the greatest sacrfice whether you agree or not with the overall involvement...keep it simple and respectful as it was intended...

justthefacts
22728
Points
justthefacts 05/31/12 - 07:40 am
7
3
New addition to the Envy list

Add heroism to the list of things Libs envy.

JohnBrownAug
1962
Points
JohnBrownAug 05/31/12 - 08:02 am
10
1
Memorial Day is to honor

Memorial Day is to honor servicemen who died in battle. There should be no debating their honor.

effete elitist liberal
3147
Points
effete elitist liberal 05/31/12 - 08:19 am
8
5
The Old Lie

MR at his sanctimonious worst. The English poet Wilfred Owen said it best in one of his poems. Owen was himself killed in battle in 1918. He wrote that the idea it is heroic to die for one's country was "the old lie," the lie perpetuated by governments to keep enlistments up, and men safe at home glad to have their rear ends protected by proxy. What Chris Hayes actually said (if more conservative readers are actually interested) is that while there are undoubtedly individual cases of true heroism among those who serve and die, indiscriminately calling all men and women who die in service "heros" made him uncomfortable. I'd go further and say the reflexive use of the word "hero" diminishes and cheapens those examples of true heroism found readily among those who serve.

southernguy08
499
Points
southernguy08 05/31/12 - 08:32 am
0
0
TRUE HEROES
Unpublished

I will be the first to say that I'M NO HERO! However, I did have the honor of serving with many I would describe as heroes...most of whom, thank God, are still alive. Alvin York, Audie Murphy, and now Dakota Meyer, all medal of honor winners who put others ahead of themselves, and all heroes who thankfully returned home from the war. Chris Hayes and other liberals can spout their garbage freely because we have men and women willing to put on a uniform and defend with their lives the right to speak. God bless our veterans.

JohnBrownAug
1962
Points
JohnBrownAug 05/31/12 - 08:55 am
4
2
The problem with the

The problem with the negativity is the fact these people signed up or successfully completed training if they were drafted, knowing they could be in harms way and gave their lives. The very act they joined or honored their draft committment speaks of herorism.

Has America actually come this far where their fallen soldiers are not to be honored? Has any society in history ever had such a slanted view?

mikesaul
1020
Points
mikesaul 05/31/12 - 08:57 am
4
1
"lie perpetuated by

"lie perpetuated by governments to keep enlistments up":

The modern US military is an ALL VOLUNTEER force, and as with any occupation where individuals CHOOSE to volunteer, putting themselves in harms' way to protect their families, communities, country, and freedom, they should all be considered heroes. They have done what was asked, because they offered to do so, for the good of the rest of us!

This in no way takes away from those who served and gave their all in the past wars...even in 1914, and again in 1941 (I would also add 1939 for all those who served in the services of other nations while our government shied from the hard decisions!), many lined up to join the fight on their own, and many others tried but were denied for various reasons. They, too, are heroes in my book!

mikesaul
1020
Points
mikesaul 05/31/12 - 09:09 am
5
1
Yes, there are always some

Yes, there are always some bad apples in any grouping of people, but that they served and died in that service (again, we are talking of MEMORIAL DAY honors) says more...

And yes, soapy...I was disgusted when they gave the berets to all soldiers in 2001! The beret has always been a symbol of excellence, be it green, red, or black. That was another incident of the "don't stand out as it might make someone feel bad" sentiment growing in this nation! No scorekeeping in games, no winners and losers in schools, everyone get a trophy...the more we diminish the meaning of success and the reasons for hard work and dedication, the more we will be falling behind the rest of the world! (sorry, slightly off topic, there, but...)

dichotomy
34448
Points
dichotomy 05/31/12 - 09:16 am
8
1
RA..."war dead"

"he is “uncomfortable” about calling our war dead heroes because "

RA...they were discussing WAR DEAD. Memorial Day is a day for the entire country, most of whom have not served in the military, to remember those who have died in military service to this country. I think it is perfectly acceptable for those who have not served to refer to those who have died while serving as "heroes". And Jon Lester.....YES when we are talking about one day a year referring to those who have died serving their country as heroes that certainly does include "from cook to commando". If you, RA, and Chris Hayes don't want to refer to our war dead as heroes because all of them did not die charging a machine gun bunker while pulling grenade pins with their teeth, well feel free to remain quiet and respectful on Memorial Day. A cook, mechanic, truck driver, etc. who volunteers to serve, deploys to a combat zone, and is killed by a mortar round, IED, or suicide bomber is just as much a hero on Memorial Day as anyone else in my book......with due deference of course to RA's "extraordinary service medals". I'm kind of proud of my "extraordinary service medals". Especially proud of the fact that I am still around to wear them. The ones that never got to wear thiers are my "heroes'.

effete elitist liberal
3147
Points
effete elitist liberal 05/31/12 - 09:28 am
5
6
keeping enlistments up

mikesaul: say wha???? Your response to me was "The modern US military is an ALL VOLUNTEER force," as if this somehow was an answer to my point. But "keeping enlistments up" can only mean a VOLUNTEER army. In the most obvious sense, draftees aren't enlistees. Owen's point, and mine, was that governments perpetuate "the old lie" that fighting for one's country and possibly dying is by definition heroic to keep enlistments up. Governments who draft to fill the ranks don't need the lies so much.

itsanotherday1
45435
Points
itsanotherday1 05/31/12 - 09:29 am
5
1
Good points Dichotomy. My

Good points Dichotomy. My problem with Hayes is not necessarily what he said, he is as entitled to his opinion as any of us; but WHEN he said it. It was a totally disrespectful and unnecessary thing to say on Memorial Day. If he wanted to air his opinion on heroism, pick another night and have it on the agenda to talk about.

allhans
24009
Points
allhans 05/31/12 - 09:40 am
6
0
We hear and read of "heroes"

We hear and read of "heroes" everyday, and there are many.
To me a real hero is someone who risks his own life to save that of another,
and these men certainly put their life at risk to save us.

southernguy08
499
Points
southernguy08 05/31/12 - 09:44 am
0
0
EEL
Unpublished

Don't know why, or if, you enlisted. But for myself, and many others, it WASN'T for glory. I enlisted to serve my country, so did most of the guys I served with. We never saw ourselves as heroes, or our service as heroic. As for government lying, most of us, including those of us who have or are serving in the military, are sensible enough to tell when a politician, Democrat or Republican, is lying...THEIR LIPS ARE MOVING. This certainly applies to the blowhard batch in office now, including the incompetent-in-chief in the WH. And still, we have men and women willing to put themselves in harm's way, not for glory, but to serve the country. Imagine that!

justthefacts
22728
Points
justthefacts 05/31/12 - 09:59 am
8
0
Motivation

I doubt many enlistees do so with the idea of becoming a hero.

howcanweknow
2306
Points
howcanweknow 05/31/12 - 10:01 am
10
1
If someone voluntarily gave

If someone voluntarily gave up their life for me or to defend my freedoms, then I would consider them a "hero".

If current liberals or aging leftists from the 1960's still want to consider anyone serving in the military a traitor or a "bad person", so be it.

Anyone who protects my rights and my freedoms is my hero.

effete elitist liberal
3147
Points
effete elitist liberal 05/31/12 - 10:12 am
2
8
Motivation

jtf: no, of course not. But the choice of whether to volunteer or not is almost certainly influenced by the aura of patriotic rhetoric surrounding military service. There must be many young men and women living relatively trivial and meaningless lives who are attracted to a choice which they are told is selfless and noble. And of course few if any enlist expecting to die. But as we have read here often, men and women continue to put their lives "in harm's way" (what a euphemism!), and doing so must be easier if they believe that if the worst happens, they will be viewed by many as "heroes."

JohnBrownAug
1962
Points
JohnBrownAug 05/31/12 - 10:13 am
7
1
I'm seriously disillusioned

I'm seriously disillusioned about the country if we can seriously debate honoring those Americans killed in war.

effete elitist liberal
3147
Points
effete elitist liberal 05/31/12 - 10:14 am
3
8
If someone voluntarily gave....

hcwk: "Anyone who protects my rights and my freedoms is my hero."
If you believe this, then I am sure you will join me in honoring those dedicated members of the ACLU who work tirelessly to protect my rights and yours.

Jake
32883
Points
Jake 05/31/12 - 10:17 am
5
1
Heroic

RA stated that the military has a system for the awarding medals based upon the degree of courage and difficulty involved in certain heroic deeds. That is very true and it is a good system to judge heroism.
As far as everyone that dies in combat should be considered a hero, I don't know about that. I am sure there have been some who were shot in the back while leaving their comrades to fight alone, some who were killed in accidents that had nothing to do with combat, some who even killed themselves, etc. Should these people be considered as heroes compared to Audie Murphy, Pat Tillman or the hundreds of others like them? I think not.

avidreader
3377
Points
avidreader 05/31/12 - 10:20 am
1
1
Vietnam, What a Travesty!

In 1971, I rarely met a war hero. Most of the troops I knew were frightened boys, smoking lots of weed and staying clear of the civilian population, praying for their discharge to come through. We were treated with distain and contempt, and often ridiculed in public. I NEVER wore my uniform when off post. I am proud of my friends who served in Vietnam, but I am not proud of the many Americans who hated us. I did not raise my sons to be soldiers.

I know this comment will offend many people, and I am sad about this. But, my experience in the military was not a pleasant one. I rarely speak of my Army days, but I do know that Chris Hayes was way out of line in his commentary. I miss Walter Cronkite and his generation of news celebrities.

On Monday, I was at a picnic with a young troop who recently returned from Afghanistan. I envied and admired his approach to respect and duty. He spoke so fondly of the soldiers-in-arms he served with and the camaraderie they built during trying times. He spoke warmly of the many Afghanis who appreciated the support of the U.S. military. In my eyes, this young man is a hero. It just took me forty years to recognize one.

Swampman
46
Points
Swampman 05/31/12 - 10:25 am
7
2
Words matter

Retired Army's point could not have been clearer: "hero" is a superlative, not a synonym for "anyone in uniform". The overuse of the word "hero" to describe ALL military personnel, police officers, & firefighters effectively weakens and cheapens the word to the point of triteness.

Y'all do understand that this semantic quibbling over "hero" is one of those "political correctness" arguments, right? And that American commentators have been examining the role of heroic language in military indoctrination since (at least) Stephen Crane's _The Red Badge of Courage_?

You want to talk about semantic overreach, let's talk about calling the World Trade Center site "Ground Zero"! Hiroshima and Nagasaki each have a "Ground Zero", which is the point directly beneath a nuclear blast. Calling the World Trade Center site "Ground Zero" is melodramatic hyperbole, a reflection of the appalling hysteria and overreaction to the terrorist attacks. I'm sure Osama Bin Laden was delighted that American equate the actions of his suicidal hijackers to the ultimate military strike.

southernguy08
499
Points
southernguy08 05/31/12 - 10:26 am
0
0
ACLU...HEROES?
Unpublished

Is this the same bunch of Bozo the Clown morphs who defend the right to burn the flag? The same bunch who said to the Nazis, "Sure, go ahead and march in Skokie."? The same bunch who rush to defend some dirtbag who killed people, then is hiding behind endless appeals to save his worthless hide? The same hypocrites who refuse to defend those who can't defend themselves...unborn children? EEL, the sound you hear is me and a lot of others laughing.

Back to Top

Top headlines

Nunn gains in Senate race, poll says

ATLANTA -- The closer the election gets, the harder it is to tell who is going to win, according to a poll released today showing the races for governor and the Senate effectively tied.
Search Augusta jobs