MSNBC’s Chris Hayes Defends Biden Coverage After #FireChrisHayes Backlash

MSNBC’s Chris Hayes Defends Biden Coverage After #FireChrisHayes Backlash

MSNBC host Chris Hayes on Friday addressed backlash from viewers regarding his Wednesday night show in which he criticized Biden for not addressing the allegations of sexual assault from a former Senate staffer.

Hayes explained that the feedback he received generally fell into one of three categories.

“[In] the first category were people who basically said, ‘I don’t believe Tara Reade, I believe Joe Biden,’ based on their assessment of the actual, verifiable facts of the story such that we have them and pointed out, as we did when we covered this, that her story has changed quite considerably,” Hayes said, providing several examples where Reade’s story has apparent faults, according to three of her former Senate colleagues.

“The people that fall into category one say the weight of those three people, those three staffers, plus Joe Biden’s long record of public life against what Tara Reade says about what happened at the time leads them to conclude that she is not telling the truth.”

“The second set of responses I got was from people that fall into the ‘I don’t care’ category,” Hayes continued. “Some use the phrase, ‘We’re in the midst of a national nightmare, the worst disaster in generations and we just need to get rid of Donald Trump.’ Now that is not the way that I think about analyzing this particular story, but it’s an honest expression how some view the trade off and the stakes here.”

Hayes then explained the third set of responses was the most concerning to him.

“A whole lot of people pointing to various aspects of Reade’s character or her writings or her politics as a kind of proof that she’s not credible, she’s making it up. ‘Oh, she didn’t report this sooner,’ or ‘She said nice things about Joe Biden, her former boss, at one point, so how could he have assaulted her?’ or ‘She supported Bernie Sanders, so clearly this was just a political hit job,’ or ‘She said things people find strange on social media,’ and on and on, much of it adding up to: ‘you can’t trust this woman.’”

Hayes then said that the point of the #MeToo movement isn’t to believe every accusation.

“The lesson is to take allegations seriously, to swiftly investigate the facts surrounding them as best as one can, while leaving aside the worst, age-old instincts to drag the women who make those claims through the mud.”

Biden denied the allegations Friday on MSNBC’s Morning Joe.

Watch the video above, via MSNBC.

William Vaillancourt

William Vaillancourt

William Vaillancourt is a writer and editor from New Hampshire whose work has appeared in The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, The Progressive, Slate and Areo Magazine, among other places. He holds a BA in Political Science and History from Boston University.