Chris Hayes Apologizes For Criticism of Calling Fallen Soldiers "Heroes"

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MSNBC's Chris Hayes sparked major controversy and debate when he said that he felt uncomfortable using the word "hero" for members of the U.S. military.

Hayes' point was that the word is inadvertently used to start more potentially unjust wars - not unreasonable - but now says his own word choice was poor.

After speaking with a former Marine whose job it was to notify families of the death of soldiers, he said that while he means no disrespect to those who serve us all, the word "seems to be rhetorically proximate to justifications for more war."

Hayes also said that, on the flip side, it is "noble" to join the military.

While a "liberal caricature" like himself would not truly understand "submitting so totally to what the electorate or people in power are going to decide about using your body," Hayes conceded, he saw valor in it.

Nevertheless, Hayes' words, on Memorial Day of all days, caused a predictable furor with some. He issued a statement Monday apologizing for his comments:

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.


As if anyone expected ANYHING different from this guy....surprised enough people watch him to even know what he says. Hope people realize his wife works for Obabma ... go figure! My dad & grand dad fought, my son fought. I figure if these people put on a uniform for this country, they are ALL heros. What has this fool done for our country...before trying to soundso philosphical. Idiot.


@ Bessie- figures! I would guess this turd has a relationship with Obama. This democratic group wants to pay back everyone that has been effected by America! Even Slave retribution! I hope we get our head out of the sand. Hayes is a Wiesel. An Obama Sheep that hates our Country. I pray that we will see the light!


knee jerk reactions from both sides, the issue here is not simple and does not deserve simple slogans. Hero is not one size fits all, a hero is an individual based on their behavior. It is merit, not a suit.


Try telling the people of Syria that we should sit and watch! Obama is a Coward! Just like- Hayes.


Chris 'coward' Hayes, wife Kate A. Shaw works as assitant counsel to Barack Obama and is the daughter to Andy Shaw a Chicago journalist "dedicated" to outing corruption...with the exception of his own conflict of interest.


Hey "Shit 4 Brains" my own father was at Normandy! He fought and never once complained! If it wasn't for people like that you would be speaking German! It's assholes that sit behind the scenes and claim they know something about Heroes! Obama ended the war and wants to cut Veterans benifits! What a disgrace this country has turned itself into - giving this asshole air time. Freedom is something you earn! You people can't find vets worthy but your up Gay people's ass! Romney 2012


@marine corpse...take you ass elsewhere! You dont have to agree with the war to support the people who have given you to freedom to be a moron and speak trash about them. Go to another country and see how free things are there and then you can come crawling back. They are doing a job, and no one likes war, but they are risking their ass for yours!


Excellent and unique memorial day program. keep up the intelligent work.


Apology be damned, leave the country and don't come back. You speak only because HEROES fought and died to give you that freedom. Try using only the freedoms you fought for and see how far you get.


Hayes should have never have apologized. What has the military done for anyone except cause more conflict in the world that they magically have to defend themselves against (aka Perpetual Money Machine!). Do heroes murder tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi citizens? Are the Nazis all heroes since they were all military? I guess the Taliban are heroes too? The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country. - Hermann Göring