After witnessing the spectacle of MSNBC host Chris Hayes getting pelted with rocks by an angry mob in Ferguson, Mo., Monday night, I was struck by a feeling of anger and frustration. Not at the rioters. Rioters throw rocks. That's what they do. My anger was at the despicable display of "tolerance" and "understanding" displayed by Hayes, as he lowered his expectations for civil behavior to accommodate his liberal need to be accepted by the mob.
Chris Hayes and his MSNBC colleagues Rachel Maddow, Laurence O'Donnell, Ed Schultz, Chris Matthews, and Al Sharpton, have spent hundreds of hours of air time explaining to the world how the grassroots conservative movement known as the "tea party" is the greatest threat to our democratic republic. Indeed, if Hayes or any of his colleagues were covering a tea party protest against Obamacare or big government spending and a stray rock was thrown his way, he would be suing everyone from Sarah Palin to Sean Hannity to Ted Cruz, and we'd be hearing all about the "violent extremists" on the right.
But, when multiple rocks are thrown at Hayes while reporting on a week-long riot, we are treated to this mind-numbingly stupid exchange:
HAYES: "People are throwing rocks at us"
RIOTER: "Y'all tell the true story!"
CRAIG MELVIN: "We ARE telling the true story!"
RIOTER: "Tell the true story!"
HAYES: "People are angry, man… they're really angry."
RIOTER: "Tell them what's really goin' on!"
HAYES: "We're trying to… (To audience) A few rocks chucked at us. We're fine, we're fine!"
MELVIN: "This is something else we've seen a lot of tonight, Chris. People wearing masks."
So, imagine if you will: The scene is a small town in Missouri and the tea party is holding a protest against high taxes, illegal immigration and Obamacare. Chris Hayes is reporting on the scene and conservatives wearing masks start throwing rocks at him and screaming at him to "tell the real story."
Would Hayes' response be "People are angry, man"?
Of course not. Why? Because Chris Hayes agrees with the rioter in Ferguson but not the tea party protester? I think there's more to it than that. I think maybe it's also because in Chris Hayes' own arrogant, intellectually self-satisfied superiority, he actually expects less from the rock-throwers Monday night than he does other members of society. And that's the real problem with progressivism.
But we don't need a hypothetical like this to tell us how MSNBC would react to this scenario. In 2012, an MSNBC producer physically assaulted a person at the RNC convention merely for heckling Chris Matthews over his famous "thrill up his leg" comment. No rocks involved in that incident, just good, old-fashioned free speech.
Beyond that obvious hypocrisy and double-standard for one set of Americans involved in protest during a live broadcast versus another, there's one other reason why we know Chris Hayes would never have reacted this way to a tea party protester throwing rocks at him: Because we know that a tea partier would never do such a disgusting thing.
Remember, these are the people who leave a place cleaner than it was before they arrived for a protest.