MSNBC's Chris Hayes Disses Most of Network's Hosts, Claims MSNBC Is So Much Fairer Than Fox

MSNBC host Chris Hayes granted an interview to the liberal blog TPM-DC and dissed most of his MSNBC colleagues. When asked what he watched before he snagged his weekend gig, he admitted “I would say Rachel’s (Maddow) show is the only cable news show that I’ve ever really watched consistently or routinely. Morning Joe sometimes.” Ouch.

Of course, now that he’s on Team MSNBC, he claimed “Our network is on all the time. I’ve learned to appreciate the craft of television hosting much more. Like Martin Bashir’s amazing preternatural equilibrium on set and talking and managing a show.” Hayes also aped Maddow in contending ridiculously that MSNBC has such higher standards than Fox News, with a much higher level of discourse:

TPM: Do you feel MSNBC is moving closer to mirroring Fox News on the opposite side of an ideological scale?

HAYES: It’s very important that we’re clear about what it is that we find objectionable about Fox, or objectionable about the model. The first thing that I think is important is transparency. If you found out that a mainstream news anchor at a major network was secretly emailing with a political operative, scheming on how to best present their case, you would be furious. The reason is there’s fundamentally a fraud being done, there’s a betrayal. Someone’s saying, ”I’m a neutral, good-faith arbiter of these things, when I’m not. I actually have skin in the game.’ That’s the greatest betrayal.

That’s the most objectionable thing about Fox, is its claims to neutrality. The whole ‘fair and balanced’ thing. Because that is fundamentally a misleading way of advertising themselves. Fox is a conservative network. It’s more than that. It’s a partisan, Republican network. And I think a multiplicity of voices is great. So let there be a conservative network or a Republican identified network.

Hayes is just as indifferent to the reality of their daily MSNBC presentation as Maddow, claiming they’re not on a Democrat-talking-points channel (“Next hour, more pounding away on the War on Women theme.”)

As for cellphone partisans, Hayes wasn’t asked how he felt then about George “Just Got Off the Phone with Carville” Stephanopoulos, or his fellow JournoList political plotters like his fellow Maddow sub Ezra Klein. But it continued:

HAYES: The other thing we have to realize is that there is an impossibility of any symmetry between Fox and MSNBC. And the reason is because of the two men who run the networks. Roger Ailes is a lifetime, hard-right, conservative ideologue and Republican partisan. He worked in politics. He helped get Nixon elected. This is his vision. If he wasn’t doing this, he probably would be doing something else that would be furthering those goals.

Our network is run by someone who worked in TV. And he wants to make a TV network that performs well, that gets viewers, that attracts advertisers, that lives up to certain standards. There’s such a big difference in that.

This is bizarre on several levels. First, obviously, Ailes is someone who's worked in TV for decades, including for CNBC. Then there's the notion that MSNBC could mirror Fox News in “performing well” in the ratings. Third, thinking that an executive who’s recruited in far-left radio hosts like Maddow and a weekend talk bloc with two writers for The Nation magazine is somehow not demonstrating or hotly pursuing an ideological edge? Hayes also claims he can be successful in the ratings (please ignore the regular crushing by Fox):

There are enough people out there who have a sensibility that is in line with mine that I think I can be a successful cable news host. That’s an amazing fact about the current media market in television that I can be simultaneously authentic and true to what I want to talk about and believe and also be successful from a market perspective.

The interview wrapped up with a very tender and tangential reference to his Memorial Day mess dissing the idea of military "heroes":

TPM: In the wake of your ‘heroes’ remark, is it possible to have those kinds of difficult conversations on television? Is TV a place where you talk about those things?

HAYES: Yeah, I think it is. You have to take care when you talk about sensitive things. You have to be sensitive when you talk about things that might give occasion for people to be hurt. If you are imprecise in trying to do that, then you’re going to get a lot of blowback. We saw that. I will be more sensitive. I will take greater care. That doesn’t mean that there are things that are out of bounds to discuss. That’s my take away.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis