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Media: What's Wrong With Chris Hayes?

image from nyoobserver.files.wordpress.comThe good news about Chris Hayes' weekday MSNBC primetime show, All In, is that it covers education issues more than other MSNBC shows such as the one hosted by Hayes' mentor Rachel Maddow.  

On the show and its weekend predecessor, Hayes has done segments on the student loan crisis, desegregation, the Tony Bennett resignation, Michelle Rhee's controversial tenure in DC, and the Philadelphia budget crisis, among other topics.  

There's an education page (for all of MSNBC, really) and even an RSS feed for education. See below for a few segments I've posted or written about in the past.

The bad news is that All In isn't doing very well, ratings-wise -- as outlined in a recent New Yorker article (MSNBC Tries to Figure Out What Liberals Really Want) -- and that the show's coverage of education issues hasn't been very good (in my opinion).

Or perhaps I'm just being ungrateful and hypercritical, per usual.

I criticize Hayes not just because I often don't agree with the angle he and his guests come at education issues, or even because I haven't been (and probably never will be) invited to be on the show, but rather because Hayes' liberal/progressive take on education issues just doesn't seem all that smart or intellectually rigorous.

Sure, he's super-smart, a quick study, and talks fast, and yes, he's got a bunch of other (non-education) issues to master and talk about every night, but -- for lack of experience or insufficient preparation -- he doesn't seem as savvy or deep as he might be.  

Take his recent interview in Jacobin, for example (since the videos aren't transcribed to my knowledge, it's easier to talk about a written interview) I'm not sure what the Atlanta cheating scandal really has to do with meritocricy, or that Hayes gets that it's liberals not conservatives (or reformers) who have traditionally supported opportunity to learn. (He flips things again in this Brooklyn Quarterly interview.) I think  Hayes overstates the current emphasis on education-based solutions to societal issues. The crack about charter schools and hedge fund guys is a misleading cheap shot.

Bottom line:  I'm glad he's there and hope he gets to do the show for a long time, and that his take on education issues deepens and sharpens even if it never shifts ideologically.  Liberals and progressives need smart, thoughtful commentary and analysis, not more fear-mongering or context-free debate.

Previous posts: Hayes & Merrow Discuss Bennett ResignationCollege Tuitions, Student LoansThe School Integration Riddle Remains Unsolved;  MSNBC Juxtaposes Philly Layoffs & PrisonsWhat MSNBC's O'Donnell Gets Wrong About DenverMSNBC Segment On Connecticut... Image via Daily Observer (UK).

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in This Week In Education are strictly those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Scholastic, Inc.