Chris Hayes (journalist)

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Chris Hayes
MSNBC host Chris Hayes on 2012 Brooklyn Book Festival panel (8024131849).jpg
Hayes on a 2012 Brooklyn Book Festival panel
Born Christopher L. Hayes
(1979-02-28) February 28, 1979 (age 36)
Bronx, New York
Nationality American
Ethnicity Italian American mother
Irish American father
Education B.A. in Philosophy, Brown University (2001)
Occupation News Anchor
Notable credit(s) Up with Chris Hayes (MSNBC)
Editor-At-Large of The Nation
Spouse(s) Kate Shaw
Children 2 (born 2011, 2014)
Christopher Hayes interviewed by Alan Miller

Christopher L. “Chris” Hayes (/hz/; born 1979)[1] is an American political commentator. Hayes hosts All In with Chris Hayes, a weekday news and opinion television show on MSNBC. Hayes formerly hosted a weekend MSNBC show, Up with Chris Hayes. He remains an editor at large of The Nation magazine.[2]

Early life[edit]

Hayes was born in The Bronx, New York,[1] the son of Roger, an Irish Catholic, and Geri Hayes, an Italian American.[3] His father moved to New York from Chicago while studying at a Jesuit seminary, but began community organizing in the Bronx.[4] Roger Hayes spent several years leading community organizing at the Community Service Society of New York and now works as an assistant commissioner for the NYC Department of Health. Hayes's mother was a school teacher and now works for the NYC Department of Education.[4]

Hayes attended New York City's Hunter College High School,[5] and then attended Brown University for his undergraduate education, where he received a bachelor of arts in philosophy and worked with student theatre group Production Workshop. Hayes was raised Catholic.[6]



From 2006 through 2007, Hayes was a Puffin Foundation Writing Fellow at The Nation Institute,[7] and a contributing writer for The Nation. On November 1, 2007, The Nation named him its Washington, D.C. editor, succeeding David Corn. He was later a senior editor at In These Times, a labor-focused monthly magazine based in Chicago.

Hayes wrote extensively on issues central to the liberal community, including what ails the Democratic Party in the post-9/11 era[8] and how the labor movement is changing.[9] He also reported on progressive activists' work to resuscitate the "public option" during the 2009–2010 health care fight when many political insiders wrote it off as dead.[10]

Hayes was adjunct professor of English at St. Augustine College in Chicago and a Bernard L. Schwartz fellow at New America Foundation from 2008 to 2010. He was also a regular contributor to the Chicago Reader, an independent weekly newspaper, where he covered local and national politics.

Cable news[edit]

Hayes guest-hosted The Rachel Maddow Show in July 2010, while Maddow was traveling in Afghanistan and often filled in for Maddow when she was absent. Hayes has also hosted other MSNBC shows such as The Ed Show, Countdown With Keith Olbermann, and The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell. On November 5, 2010, MSNBC announced that Hayes would be filling in for Keith Olbermann during Olbermann's suspension. However, the network later backtracked after finding out that Hayes had also made political contributions—the issue over which Olbermann was being suspended.[11] Hayes credits Maddow with his becoming a host at MSNBC, saying, “I absolutely would not be doing this if it weren't for her.” [2]

Up with Chris Hayes[edit]

On August 1, 2011, MSNBC announced that Hayes would host a two-hour morning show on Saturdays and Sundays, each going into depth on current issues.[12] The first airing of Up With Chris Hayes was September 17, 2011,[13] and featured a live interview with former speaker and current House minority leader Nancy Pelosi.

On May 27, 2012, Memorial Day Weekend, Hayes made comments on air regarding the use of the word “heroism” as applied to American servicemen killed in action, stating, “I feel uncomfortable about the word because it seems to me that it is so rhetorically proximate to justifications for more war. And I don’t want to obviously desecrate or disrespect memory of anyone that’s fallen, and obviously there are individual circumstances in which there is genuine, tremendous heroism, you know, hail of gunfire, rescuing fellow soldiers, and things like that. But it seems to me that we marshal this word in a way that is problematic. But maybe I’m wrong about that.”[14] His remark generated widespread controversy.[15][16][17] Hayes initially defended his comment by urging people to listen to what he had actually said,[18] Nonetheless, he apologized on his blog.[19] Furthermore, on his June 2, 2012, show, he devoted a discussion to his comments and the disconnect between civilians and the military.[20]

All in with Chris Hayes[edit]

On March 14, 2013, MSNBC announced that Hayes would take over the time slot formerly hosted by Ed Schultz who would move to the weekends. At 34 years old, he became the youngest host of a prime-time show on any of the country’s major cable news channels.[21]

According to The New York Times, the change was made in the hopes that MSNBC can win a wider audience than it did with Schultz. Hayes was said to transition better to The Rachel Maddow Show because he is seen as just as policy oriented as Maddow. “Chris has done an amazing job creating a franchise on weekend mornings,” said Phil Griffin, the president of MSNBC. “He’s an extraordinary talent and has made a strong connection with our audience.”[22]

All In with Chris Hayes, Hayes’s first prime-time show, premiered Monday, April 1, 2013.[23]


Hayes’s first book, Twilight of the Elites: America After Meritocracy was published by Crown Publishing Group in June 2012.[24] A review in the The Atlantic called it "provocative" and "thoughtful," but faulted its policy suggestions as less satisfying.[25] Kirkus Reviews called it “forcefully written” and “provocative.”[26] Aaron Swartz described the book as "compellingly readable, impossibly erudite, and—most stunningly of all—correct."[27]

Personal life[edit]

Hayes is married to Kate Shaw, assistant professor of law at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.[28] Hayes and Shaw resided in Washington, D.C., until they moved to New York City, where All In With Chris Hayes is produced.[29] Their daughter, Ryan Elizabeth Shaw-Hayes, was born in November 2011.[30] Their son, David Emanuel Shaw-Hayes, was born in March 2014.[31]

Hayes’s brother Luke worked on Barack Obama’s 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns.[32]


  1. ^ a b Stoeffel, Kat (October 19, 2011). "MSNBC’s Fresh-Faced Chris Hayes Makes it ‘Up’ as He Goes Along". New York Observer. Retrieved October 30, 2011. At 32, he is the network’s youngest anchor... 
  2. ^ a b Shaw, Lucas (2011-08-01), New MSNBC Host Chris Hayes Channels Rachel Maddow – and Tim Robbins, Reuters, retrieved 2011-09-21 
  3. ^ "Chris Hayes Is Still ‘All In’ At MSNBC, Even As Everyone Counts Him Out". International Business Times. Retrieved 2015-11-24. 
  4. ^ a b "Meet MSNBC's Next New Host, Christopher Hayes". Alternet. June 15, 2011. Retrieved November 24, 2015. 
  5. ^ Chait, Jonathan (2009-09-14) Wealthcare, The New Republic
  6. ^ The Raw Story: "Chris Hayes declares Francis to be ‘the best pope ever’" By David Ferguson September 13, 2013
  7. ^ "Bio page at The Nation". 
  8. ^ Hayes, Christopher (2005-11-30). "Can the Democrats Win the Ground War at Home?". The Nation (The Nation Company, L.P.). Retrieved 2007-10-10. 
  9. ^ Hayes, Christopher (2005-01-21). "The Fight for Our Future". In These Times. Retrieved 2007-10-10. 
  10. ^
  11. ^ "Keith Olbermann's Suspension Points to Contribution Double Standard", Hollywood Reporter, November 7, 2010
  12. ^ Joyella, Mark (2011-08-01), MSNBC Gives Chris Hayes His Own Weekend Show, Mediaite 
  13. ^ Martel, Frances (2011-09-17), MSNBC’s Up With Chris Hayes: A DVR Gem In The Making, Mediaite 
  14. ^ Chris Hayes 'Uncomfortable' With Word Hero – Daily Intel
  15. ^ Carney, Timothy P. (May 29, 2012), "The war dead & conservative political correctness", The Washington Examiner, retrieved June 2012 
  16. ^ Friedersdorf, Conor (May 29, 2012), "In Defense of Chris Hayes", The Atlantic, retrieved June 3, 2012 
  17. ^ Kain, Erik (May 29, 2012), "Chris Hayes Is Right About Heroes", Mother Jones, retrieved June 2012 
  18. ^ Murray, Rheana (May 28, 2012). "TV host: It's hard to call dead veterans 'heroes.'". Daily News (New York). 
  19. ^ MSNBC's Chris Hayes apologizes for saying he's 'uncomfortable' calling a fallen soldier 'hero' |
  20. ^ Bridging the civilian-military divide, MSNBC, June 3, 2012, retrieved June 2012 
  21. ^ "Chris Hayes to Take Over 8 P.M. Slot on MSNBC". The New York Times, March 14, 2013.
  22. ^ Chris Hayes to Take Over 8 P.M. Slot on MSNBC, New York Times, March 14, 2013, retrieved 14 Mar 2013 
  23. ^ "ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES PREMIERES ON APRIL 1 at 8PM ET" (Press release). NBCUniversal. March 26, 2013. Retrieved March 28, 2013. 
  24. ^ Nonfiction Review: Twilight of the Elites: America After Meritocracy by Christopher Hayes. Crown, $26 (304p) ISBN 978-0-307-72045-0
  25. ^ "The Cult of Smartness: How Meritocracy Is Failing America". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2015-11-24. 
  26. ^ TWILIGHT OF THE ELITES by Christopher L. Hayes | Kirkus Book Reviews
  27. ^ Aaron Swartz (2012-06-18). "Aaron Swartz: Chris Hayes' "The Twilight of The Elites"". Brad DeLong. Retrieved 2012-07-16. 
  28. ^ Kate Shaw staff page
  29. ^ Mirkinson, Jack (2011-08-01). "Chris Hayes MSNBC Weekend Show Announced". Huffington Post. 
  30. ^ Hayes, Chris (29 November 2011). "Christoper L Hayes Twitter Account". Retrieved 28 January 2012. 
  31. ^ Hayes, Chris (27 March 2014). "Christoper L Hayes Twitter Account". Retrieved 27 March 2014. 
  32. ^ Hayes, Chris (10 November 2012). "A toast to the organizers". MSNBC. Retrieved 14 December 2015. 

External links[edit]