After causing a firestorm of controversy on Sunday, MSNBC’s Chris Hayes posted an apology for saying he felt “uncomfortable” calling fallen military members “heroes.”
“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,” he wrote Monday.
“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,” he added.
On Sunday, the liberal writer remarked that he felt “uncomfortable” using the term “heroes” to describe those who died in combat, arguing that “it is so rhetorically proximate to justifications for more war.”
The VFW responded by demanding that he and his network, MSNBC, apologize for the comment.
“Such an ignorant and uncaring and blatant disregard for people’s deep feelings are indefensible, and that is why the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States demand that Mr. Hayes and MSNBC provides an immediate and unequivocal apology,” VFW National Commander Richard DeNoyer told Fox News.
“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,” Hayes wrote.
“But,” he added, “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.”
Writing at the National Review, Greg Pollowitz couldn’t help but notice a pattern.
“A liberal says exactly what they mean in their heart. Then there’s some outrage over it. For Cory Booker, it came from the Left; for Hayes from the Right. Then the individual defends their first statement, as do their surrogates/supporters. And then the individual apologizes,” he wrote.
“Lost in all of this is that Hayes was making a good point about how Memorial Day is celebrated,” he added. “Here is a day that for many American families is a solemn day. A day of remembrance. A day of honoring those lost.”
But instead, Pollowitz observed, “it’s about the start of summer, and hot dogs, and grilling.”
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