A day after Chris Hayes apologized for his Memorial Day comments questioning whether soldiers should be called "heroes," pundits are debating the meaning of his speech, with some arguing that the backlash to Hayes was too strong.
"Hayes wasn't actually expressing discomfort with granting the bravery or achievements or noble qualities of American troops," wrote The Atlantic's Conor Friedersdorf, coming to Hayes' defense. "His fear was that in addition to its strict definition, hero had an unavoidable connotation attached to it -- that for some people, hearing that a warrior is a hero carries with it the implication that the war in which he bravely partook was a just one."
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On his MSNBC show, Hayes explained that, "I feel ... uncomfortable about the word hero because it seems to me that it is so rhetorically proximate to justifications for more war."
Matt Lauer also came to Hayes' defense on NBC's Today show: "I'm not sure he was criticizing those young men and women. He was just saying that the word is overused," Lauer said.
However, the consensus among many pundits and bloggers was that the word is, not, in fact, overused. "You know what? The four of us aren't fighting those wars," Nancy Snyderman responded to Lauer, according to News Busters.
Outside the Beltway's Doug Mataconis agreed that Hayes was reading too much into the meaning of the word hero. "That strikes me as a deeply myopic, politically-obsessed, view of the world," he wrote.
Perhaps the least-nuanced criticism of Hayes' remarks came from pundit Donny Deutsch: "I hope that he doesn't get more viewers as a result of this...this guy is like a – if you've seen him...he looks like a weenie."