Chris Hayes Apologizes For Memorial Day Weekend Comments

Chris Hayes posted the following to his MSNBC blog earlier today:

On Sunday, 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.

And with that, I consider this matter closed.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Ben Wolf says:

    Too bad. He said nothing in the slightest wrong and should have stood firm.

  2. Hey Norm says:

    Without commenting on the specifics….a lot of people could learn how to issue an apology from that statement.

  3. WR says:

    Boy, what a smug apology. I sure see why Doug hates him!

  4. Racehorse says:

    I would say that many of the things he said were very true. We are not connected to the soldiers and their families the way it was in WWII. This country is distanced from the suffering that continues for a long time after they come back home. The government doesn’t ask the country to share in this.

  5. MBunge says:

    Hayes’ problem was thinking that whether he uses the term “heroes” or not matters a whit in the first place.


  6. the Q says:

    So everyone who dies in battle is a hero? Yes, but it cheapens the term.

    i think everyone has great respect for what the military demands and the sacrifices made by our men and women in uniform, but not everyone is a “hero”.

    Just watching the last few Medal of Honor winners on CSPAn over the weekend and none considered themselves “heroes”.

    Of course they are, but we shouldn’t throw this term around loosely. Can we call the mercenaries from Xe heroes then? They have died in “battle” in Iraq as well, but I don’t consider them heroes.

  7. Racehorse says:

    “Above and beyond the call of duty”
    As a young person, I remember reading and hearing about Audie Murphy. He typifies a hero.

  8. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Ben Wolf: While I can see your point also, I have to say that his statement was strong and addressed his critics well. Good job on both days!

  9. LC says:

    And with that, I consider this matter closed.

    After reading the comments thread in the previous post on this topic, and then this, I think it is entirely possible Doug has gone his entire life not knowing what the word smug actually means.

  10. superdestroyer says:

    Considering that Chris Hayes attended Hunter College high School where probably there were no graduates who enlisted in the military and attended Brown University that does not even have ROTC, and works, partially, for MSNBC where one has to an Ivy Leaguer to even get on a program, is it any wonder that he has no interest in making the military look good?

  11. @WR: Don’t forget self-important.

    @superdestroyer: You have no idea what Hayes actually said, do you?

  12. superdestroyer says:


    I actually saw it live. I like watching UP with Chris Hayes because it is perfect for learning what the conventional wisdom of Ivy League educated, upper class progressives in NYC believe.

    That none of the demographic group of Chris Hayes know anyone is the military and could never imagine serving in the military. Thus, the elites just do not want to use words or phrase that make people that they do not know sound worthy or honorable.

    On the same show, it was humorous to listen to three Brown University graduates and a Harvard grad discussing how to improve poor public schools. Those people have no concept how public schools work but keep believing that everyone is as capable and as driven and Ivy league students.

  13. @superdestroyer: How did any of that screed apply to Hayes’ actual words?

  14. superdestroyer says:


    Chris Hayes said that he was not comfortable using the term “hero” because it mad service members and their actions sound too good and thus could be used to support war. Of course, Mr. Hayes has had to apologize more than once for his stupid statements.

    Maybe if Mr. Hayes lived in a diverse enough world that he actually knew a few heterosexuals who had served in the military, Mr. hayes would have had a very different opinion. But a prep school, Ivy League graduate probably only knows a few militant homosexual activist who have been in the military.

  15. @superdestroyer: And, um, you have the commiserate service record that qualifies you to make such claims?