Our View: Hayes didn’t say it

Posted: November 18, 2013

As the kids are prone to say, we’ve been “punk’d” — and we’re hardly alone in this lamentable state of affairs.

This past Friday, if you recall, we featured an editorial, “A veteran’s ‘light,’” that spoke to contrasting views of “heroism,” particularly of that demonstrated by the men and women honored a week ago today, on Veterans Day.

In stating our opinion, we took at face value comments attributed to MSNBC host Chris Hayes, specifically that Veterans Day makes him so “sick” that merely passing by a parade honoring vets prompts a sudden rush of food to his face. Needless to say, we responded rather forcefully to the untoward notion, as did others — most notably Rep. Tom Latham, R-Iowa, and Patrick Bet-David, an immigrant from Iran who served in the U.S. military and now runs a thriving American business.

Well, it seems the “news account” that got our blood boiling, published on The Daily Currant news blog, was, in fact, a “satire.” Mr. Hayes, whose actual views about veterans and Veterans Day are at best cluttered — he once said calling fallen soldiers “heroes” made him “uncomfortable” — did not say the holiday made him “sick” to the point of “vomiting.” That was the work of The Daily Currant’s satirists.

But here’s the thing about satire — it must, upon due deliberation, be recognizable as such. Read Jonathan Swift’s 1729 essay “A Modest Proposal” — in which the case was put forth that impoverished Irish could ease their condition by selling their own children to the rich as food — and you quickly realize the author was using chilling hyperbole to make a deeper social point. But, in perusing The Daily Currant’s imagined conversation on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” one could easily envision the exchange between Mr. Hayes and Joe Scarborough actually taking place. At least, that is, if you tend to view the world through a conservative lens.

This is not to exonerate our gullibility, nor that of Messrs. Latham and Bet-David. We should have known better. Nonetheless, leftist rhetoric can be so noxious — and truly has been, of late — that assuming the worst of Mr. Hayes was hardly a stretch. Nor is it beyond reason to note that what passes for “satire” these days on The Daily Currant is of decidedly dubious taste.

Still, we do regret making the assumption. Editorial commentary demands heightened reflection. Lesson learned, anew.