MSNBC's Hayes Tries to Invoke Politics in Manchester Bombing; Correspondent Wasn’t Having It

By and large, the news media remained calm, collected, and hesitant to speculate on Tuesday night following the terrorist attack in Manchester, England at the Ariana Grande concert. That being said, the evening was not without notable comments, including some from MSNBC’s All In host Chris Hayes (and others here and here).

Hayes was speaking to NBC News foreign correspondent Kelly Cobiella when he thought that it was appropriate to talk about British politics and a possible connection between the attack and the June 8 Parliamentary election.

Hayes opined: 

We should also say the context here, which may or may not be germane, but just so folks know what's going on, the background, of course, is an election. There's political election coming up. We know that in France, in the run-up to the election there there was an attack. A believed-claim by ISIS on the Champs-Elysees. The timing, it seemed not coincidental to the election that’s happening there. They're gearing up for a big election in the UK right now.

Cobiella wasn’t having it, to put it bluntly. She replied that, “we don't know, whether it's simply targeted toward, you know, a large, very westernized venue, whether it's some or of attack geared toward, you know, a concert, people out and about, having a good time, listening to fun music.”

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Repeatedly throughout the rest of the hour, Hayes attempted to pump the brakes on any talk by guests to suggest that this attack of terrorism was perpetrated radical Islam. 

“We've seen attacks that have been used a wide variety of implements in various different settings. We had a man — a ROTC officer stabbed here in the U.S. recently by someone who appears to be a white supremacist. We've got car attacks and truck attacks. There's a logistical threshold to put together explosives like this,” Hayes wondered to MSNBC counterterrorism analyst Malcolm Nance.

Before handing off to a surprisingly cautious hour led by Rachel Maddow, Hayes wanted to leave viewers with the point that anyone could commit acts of terrorism: 

I just want to note obviously that if indeed it first a suicide bomb, it's definitionely terrorism, no matter what the sort of ideological component ends up being or what group or network. If you blow up a bunch of people at a concert, you are at some level elementally and definitionally engaged in terrorism, regard — full stop, regardless of what we learn about the specific ideological motivations of the people that may have done that. 

A minute later, he emphasized that “we should be clear that — in a numerous violent attacks that happened in Europe have been French citizens, British citizens, and in fact, there was one example in Germany of essentially a framing of ISIS attack on a soccer bus by essentially a right-wing neo-Nazi.” 

“This has also happened in Europe in the last several months, so we should just be careful about attribution at this point, although, obviously there's certain patterns that is very hard to ignore,” Hayes concluded. 

Here’s the relevant portions of the transcript from MSNBC’s All In with Chris Hayes on May 22:

MSNBC’s All In with Chris Hayes
May 22, 2017
8:07 p.m. Eastern

CHRIS HAYES: We should also say the context here, which may or may not be germane, but just so folks know what's going on, the background, of course, is an election. There's political election coming up. We know that in France, in the run-up to the election there there was an attack. A believed-claim by ISIS on the Champs-Elysees. The timing, it seemed not coincidental to the election that’s happening there. They're gearing up for a big election in the UK right now.

KELLY COBIELLA: Yes, they are and, you know, whether this is part in parcel of that, we don't know, whether it's simply targeted toward, you know, a large, very westernized venue, whether it's some or of attack geared toward, you know, a concert, people out and about, having a good time, listening to fun music.

(....)

8:10 p.m. Eastern

HAYES: Let me ask you this, this is something you spent a lot of time thinking about. We've seen attacks that have been used a wide variety of implements in various different settings. We had a man — a ROTC officer stabbed here in the U.S. recently by someone who appears to be a white supremacist. We've got car attacks and truck attacks. There's a logistical threshold to put together explosives like this, am I right? 

(....)

8:57 p.m. Eastern

HAYES: I just want to note obviously that if indeed it first a suicide bomb, it's definitionely terrorism, no matter what the sort of ideological component ends up being or what group or network. If you blow up a bunch of people at a concert, you are at some level elementally and definitionally engaged in terrorism, regard — full stop, regardless of what we learn about the specific ideological motivations of the people that may have done that. 

(....)

8:58 p.m. Eastern

HAYES: We should be clear that — in a numerous violent attacks that happened in Europe have been French citizens, British citizens, and in fact, there was one example in Germany of essentially a framing of ISIS attack on a soccer bus by essentially a right-wing neo-Nazi. This has also happened in Europe in the last several months, so we should just be careful about attribution at this point, although, obviously there's certain patterns that is very hard to ignore.


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