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Christopher Hayes

Editor at Large

Chris Hayes, Editor-at-Large of The Nation, hosts “All In with Chris Hayes” at 8 p.m. ET Monday through Friday on MSNBC.

Previously, Hayes hosted the weekend program “Up w/ Chris Hayes,” which premiered in 2011. Prior to joining MSNBC as an anchor, Chris had previously served as a frequent substitute host for “The Rachel Maddow Show” and “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell.” Chris became a MSNBC contributor in 2010 and has been with The Nation since 2007.

He is a former Fellow at Harvard University’s Edmond J. Safra Foundation Center for Ethics. From 2008-2010, he was a Bernard Schwartz Fellow at the New America Foundation. From 2005 to 2006, Chris was a Schumann Center Writing Fellow at In These Times.

Since 2002, Hayes has written on a wide variety of political and social issues, from union organizing and economic democracy, to the intersection of politics and technology. His essays, articles and reviews have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Time, The Nation, The American Prospect, The New Republic, The Washington Monthly, the Guardian, and The Chicago Reader.

His first book, Twilight of the Elites: America After Meritocracy, which is about the crisis of authority in American life, was published in June 2012. Chris grew up in the Bronx, graduated from Brown University in 2001 with a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy.


  • March 19, 2008

    The End of the Soundbite?

    Matt thinks so. (Though it's also worth noting that the entire Wright controversy was set in motion via a few choice soundbites.)

    Speaking of which, years ago, Mitchell Stephens observed that the catch-all critique of soundbites frequently obscures the real issue at hand: the media's habitual brevity and lack of depth in its analysis. Yes, in 1968, presidential candidates got an average of 43 seconds to uninterruptedly expound their views, while in 2004, the candidates got an average of 7.8 seconds. But Stephens argues that rather than attacking soundbites alone, it might make more sense to focus on the need for reporters' greater rigor in their question-asking. Longer soundbites "would not necessarily elevate television news or political discourse in general, and better use of short ones might." After all, it's as easy for a politician to drivel on without saying anything for 43 seconds as it is for eight.

    Christopher Hayes

  • March 19, 2008

    ‘Unrest’ in Tibet

    A friend of mine just sent me some new (graphic) photos from Tibet, including additional images from Monday protests in Kathmandu.

    While sometimes Chinese attempts at suppressing information are goofy (for example, putting white stickers over the section of Lonely Planets sold in Beijing that describes the Tiannamen Square massacre), in the case of domestic information about Tibet, such efforts have been effective and nearly monolithic. Accordingly, what's frightening here is the fact that as much as China has changed in recent decades, on territorial--and highly emotional--issues like Tibet and Taiwan, the conversation has not budged.

    Last fall for a brief moment during Burma's "saffron revolution," we heard a lot about the power of the Internet to undermine repressive regimes. Yet the lesson of cases like Burma and Tibet is, more than anything, that the flowering of the Internet is hardly a proxy for some kind of velvet coup from within. Fiberoptic cables can't stop dictatorships; major trading partners can (or can try).

    Christopher Hayes

  • March 19, 2008

    Funk the War

    It's the fifth anniversary of the war and here in D.C., Students for a Democratic Society are throwing a dance party. In an event themed, appropriately, "Funk the War," about 400 youth from Oklahoma to Vermont have converged to jostle and shimmy their way down K St. to the rhythm of electronic beats and anti-war chants.

    Unlike the massive protests organized by groups like ANSWER six years ago, today's actions are decentralized, more creative and cropping up all over. This morning, black-draped protesters wearing white masks that bore the names of Iraqis killed made an eerie pilgrimage down K St., while a group of veterans from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan marched from Arlington Cemetery to the National Archives, where four veterans risked arrest to jump on the ledge in front of the building and read a copy of the U.S. Constitution.

    "We consider the [National Archives] our territory," says James Gilligan, 27, one of the four. Five years ago today, Gilligan arrived in Iraq--ready, he remembers, to "defend my country." Now, after tours in Guantanamo and Afghanistan, he's returned home and is ready, he says, to fight for the constitution on his own home turf.

    Christopher Hayes

  • March 19, 2008

  • March 19, 2008

    If You Want It?

    War is over, if you want it. War is over now.

    Five years ago the bombs began to explode in Baghdad, the beginning of a violent tragedy that continues to this day. But five years and one month ago, in what was the largest coordinated act of protest, millions of people around the world and country marched in the streets in an attempt to stop the war before it started. It didn't work.

    Today, several groups are sponsoring protests and acts of civil disobedience around the capital to call for an end to the war and occupation in Iraq. I don't think anyone who's participating in the blockade of the IRS or dance party on K street thinks these actions will end the war. At best, they attract media attention and help focus the national conversation on the fact that we are still killing and dying in Iraq. They also serve as necessary expressions of moral disgust and despair.

    Christopher Hayes

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  • March 19, 2008

    Obama’s Speech

    I tend not to be very good at instant analysis, so you'll forgive a 24 hour delay in posting a few thoughts on Barack Obama's remarkable speech on race. I agree with Ezra Klein, that the speech's unique force (I, like a lot of people I know, found myself crying at points) derives from its sheer honesty.

    It felt like Obama was transgressing the norms of campaign discourse during the speech by directly discussing the narrative of the campaign itself. When he spoke about speculation that white men would vote for John McCain, I sucked in my breath, feeling as he was violating some sacred taboo. A presidential campaign is theater, and the conventions of that theater is that you suspend disbelief, stick to the script and don't break the fourth wall. But in discussing the role that race plays in his candidacy, it was almost as if in the second act an actor just stopped reciting his lines, walked to the stage's edge and talked to the audience about his life. The subversive nature of this rejection of convention is part of what made the speech so gripping to me, and so powerful. It was risky, and made him vulnerable, but his very ability to note the stage and lights that surrounded him, the rituals of the theatre, the clips playing on the news and the exit poll archeology that searches for racial divides, imbued him with wisdom. It made him seem as if he truly has perspective on the surreal craziness that is a presidential campaign. And it displayed to me what is his most appealing character trait: an ability to step outside of one's own vantage point while remaining moored to a set of certain core principles.

    As he walked through the history racial resentment as seen from both sides of the black/white divide, I was reminded of the mythical Greek figure of Tiresias, the blind seer of Thebes. After coming upon snakes copulating, Tiresias was transformed into a woman, and spent seven years in a woman's body before coming once again upon snakes mid-coitus and being transformed back into a man. When Hera and Zeus were arguing about the question on whether the man or woman derives greater pleasure from sex, they sought out Tiresias to resolve the debate. Tiresias, much to Hera's displeasure, answered that it was women, and was struck blind by Hera in a fit of rage. To compensate him for his loss of sight, though, Zeus bestowed the gift of prophecy upon him.

    Christopher Hayes


  • March 18, 2008

    Spring Break Links

    Congress is out on spring break until the end of the month, so here at J Street we won't be posting our regular weekly previews and round-ups of legislative action.

    For now, please enjoy the following:(1) Live streaming video from Take Back America. (2) And just in time for Easter, this. (It's a rabbit! And it's huge!)

    Christopher Hayes

  • March 18, 2008

    Bill Gates Sr. on the Economy

    If the economy is the "number-one issue" in this current election, here at TBA, Barbara Ehrenreich and William Gates, Sr. are arguing that a better way to frame it may be inequality.

    In 1982, someone on Forbes' list of the richest 400 people held an average wealth of $400 million. Today, that figure is $3.9 billion.

    As Gates noted--to scattered chuckles from the audience--it's far past time for Americans to break our committed faith in the link between merit, virtue and wealth. Sheer nonsense, he says. If you're wealthy, he notes, "a basic reason…is that you were born in America," benefited from certain public investments, and got lucky upon the way. Which is why when you die, you owe it to your country to pay some of that luck forward.

    Christopher Hayes

  • March 18, 2008

    Crisis is Opportunity

    Maybe it's been my choice of panels, but thus far, the events I've attended here at Take Back America have felt curiously subdued. Under the pall of the plummeting economy and the Iraq War's fifth anniversary, there's not much people seem to feel that sanguine about. "Crisis is opportunity," said Rob Johnson yesterday. But in light of how neither Clinton or Obama look poised to take on Wall Street (given the contents of their campaign coffers), and how narrowly focused the left has been for years on simply kicking Bush out of office, according to Johnson, "Right now, progressives aren't prepared to seize that opportunity."

    What surprises me more about TBA, though, is the complete lack of programming that directly addresses the criminal justice system. There are few institutions that better represent the entrenched nature of race and class in America, or do more to replicate those inequalities over time. And even at a minimum out of political self-interest, I'd think TBA would be more engaged with the issue (nationwide, 5.3 million have lost the vote because of felony convictions--a figure that may very well have cost the Democrats the White House in 2000). One of TBA's organizers tells me that the schedule filled up too quickly with groups representing other issues, but that absence still seems like a conspicuous oversight.

    Christopher Hayes