In response to Up host Chris Hayes‘ viral musings on the word “heroes,” conservative commentator and exploding fireworks factory Ann Coulter tweeted “Chris Hayes ‘Uncomfortable’ Calling Fallen Military ‘Heroes’ – Marines respond by protecting his right to menstruate.”
Aside from the counter-intuitive use of her own gender as an insult, Coulter’s tweet actually goes a long way in proving Hayes’ underlying point.
On Sunday morning’s Up with Chris Hayes, the host mused about the way the word “heroes” is marshaled “in a way that is problematic,” but the resulting headline focused on his entree to the topic, that he is “uncomfortable about the word.”
The conservative website Newsbusters constructed the fake Frankenquote “Chris Hayes: I’m ‘Uncomfortable’ Calling Fallen Military ‘Heroes’” for its headline, while Mediaite reported it less deceptively as “MSNBC’s Chris Hayes Feels ‘Uncomfortable’ Calling Fallen Soldiers ‘Heroes’.”
Both could be considered fair interpretations of what Hayes said, but they are, self-evidently, interpretations. Both rely on a leap that Hayes never actually makes, from his discomfort with the word (and the way it is “marshaled”) to a reluctance to apply the word to fallen soldiers. It’s a reverse-engineered interpretation designed to bludgeon Hayes, rather than to convey what he actually said. The problem isn’t with calling fallen soldiers “heroes,” it’s with the things that word has in common with justifications for war.
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