UPDATE: Off-Topic: MSNBC or The Simpsons' "Rock Bottom"? You make the call!
I like Chris Hayes. He's the host of MSNBC's "All In with Chris Hayes". I wrote a post about the interview he did with former GOP Senator Judd Gregg, in which Gregg showed a jaw-dropping ignorance of basic statistics. I received a lot of traffic from Hayes last month thanks to him retweeting my post about Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin officially pulling the plug on the kynect exchange. Hell, Hayes even cited my work/this website on his show about two years ago, at the tail end of the 2014 Open Enrollment period (even if he didn't know who I actually was). So believe me when I say that I'm not posting this lightly.
However...this is simply embarrassing:
All day Friday, the anti-Hillary internet was abuzz over former President Bill Clinton‘s slamon President Obama at a rally in Memphis Thursday night, a damaging narrative given the herculean effort the Clintons have made to repair the rift with Obama coalition voters, particularly black voters, that was created during the 2008 campaign. Holding the president close has also become particularly important in view of the upcoming South Carolina Democratic primary.
...Here’s how Chris Hayes reported it Friday night:
Hayes: If that’s Clinton’s winning strategy, she might want to make sure her husband is in the loop. Bill seemed to go a bit off-message last night in Tennessee while campaigning for his wife.
Clinton: She’s always making something good happen. She’s the best change maker I’ve ever known. A lot of people say, you don’t understand. It’s different now. It’s rigged. Yeah, it’s rigged because you don’t have a president who is a change maker...
Hayes: (knowing glance)
However, as Mediaite notes, this is actually the full clip:
She’s always making something good happen. She’s the best change maker I’ve ever known. A lot of people say, you don’t understand. It’s different now. It’s rigged. Yeah, it’s rigged because you don’t have a president who is a change maker with a Congress who will work with him. But the president has done a better job than he has gotten credit for. And don’t you forget it!
(Applause so huge Bill has to wait for it to die down, then continue talking because it won’t)
Don’t you forget it! Don’t you forget it! I’ve been there, and we shared the same feeling. We only had a Democratic Congress for two years. And then we lost it. And yet some of the loudest voices in my party said, it’s unbelievable, said “Well the only reason we had it for two years is that President Obama isn’t liberal enough!”
Is there one soul in this crowd that believes that?
As the Mediaite story notes, it's possible that Hayes was in a hurry and didn't have time to double-check the clip before going on the air. If so, he should tear apart whichever producer/editor cut off Bill Clinton mid-sentence. And sure, news programs always show partial clips; they have to cut down a 30-minute speech for a 2-minute segment. Still, there's a big difference between a quote being incomplete and being utterly out of context, and this bit was way over the line.
Quite frankly, the first thing which came to mind was the classic "Rock Bottom" scene from an old episode of The Simpsons:
Hayes should issue an unequivocal, flat-out apology to both Bill Clinton and the Hillary Clinton campaign for this, along with showing the full clip.
UPDATE 2/15/16: Hayes has kind of, sort of apologized:
“We did not characterize Clinton as trashing the president or slamming them, as others did. We said he went off-message, which is arguably true. Here’s the important thing. In cutting off that clip, we didn’t allow you the chance to make that judgment for yourself in the full light of context. We shouldn’t have done that.”
As Mediaite notes:
There’s just one problem with that, which is that All In’s production team didn’t simply omit a huge block of context that changed the meaning of what Bill Clinton said, they cut him off in mid-sentence.
So...kudos to Hayes for showing the full clip, and semi-kudos to him for at least acknowledging his error and saying that they "shouldn't have done that'...but that's still a far cry from a proper apology.