This story is so bizarre. I can’t be sure what was running through Rick Sanchez’s mind, but somehow the intimacy of doing a radio program must have lulled him into a state of mind that allowed that little sensor in your head that stops you from saying something supremely stupid/racist/insane to malfunction. (The Box):
CNN has fired anchor Rick Sanchez, following a radio rant Thursday night where he called Jon Stewart a “bigot,” blamed CNN brass for discrimination against him and insinuated that the media industry is controlled by Jews.
Sanchez had gone on Pete Dominick’s Sirius XM show to promote his new book, “Conventional Idiocy.” While on air, he called Stewart a “bigot,” implied that CNN is controlled by Jews and that the network passed him over for promotion because he’s Latino.
The full transcript is here . It’s worth reading because no paraphrasing can capture the meltdown. I’m not particularly interested in his attacks on Jon Stewart; Sanchez has been the butt of his jokes, and Sanchez sees that as racist. All Rick’s done is give Stewart more to poke fun at.
Where Sanchez goes off the rails starts with his reference to “elite Northeast establishment liberals” that devolves into denying that Jews are an oppressed minority and are holding minorities back, by extension, on CNN.
There are a couple of things that most of the Sanchez-bashers are ignoring because of Rick’s anti-Semitism: 1) the reality of being a minority anchor on that network, and 2) CNN’s history of keeping bigot Lou Dobbs on the air, never reprimanding him for the numerous ON-AIR lies and inflammatory comments about Latinos and other minorities (remember Lou and Obama Waffles?).
Case in point:
RS- I had a guy who works here at CNN who’s a top brass come to me and
say, ‘You know what, I don’t want you to –
PD- ‘Will you wash this dish for me, Sanchez?’
RS- No no, see that’s the thing; it’s more subtle. White folks usually don’t see it. But we do – those of us who are minorities and women see it sometimes too from men in authority. Here, I’ll give you my example its this ‘You know what, I don’t want you anchoring anymore, I really don’t see you as an anchor, I see you more as a reporter, I see you more as a John Quinones – you know the guy on ABC. That’s what he told me. He told me he saw me as John Quinones. Now, did he not realize that he was telling me, ‘When I see you I think of Hispanic reporters’? Cause in his mind I can’t be an anchor. An anchor is what you give the high-profile white guys, you know.
Rick’s not pulling that out of his ass. Last year I had the pleasure of meeting Carol Jenkins, the former president of the Women’s Media Center, who had a storied 23-year career as a news anchor at New York’s local WNBC-TV. She anchored the 6PM newscast (and won an Emmy). She has said much the same thing (sans Sanchez’s slur, of course) about how female anchors are similarly siloed. One news director told her flat-out that viewers “want to see a man in prime time.” She asked what studies or polls he was basing his view on. He had none to cite. Yes, that’s right. Just a “gut feeling” about what people want to see.
The bottom line is that it’s hard to break that glass ceiling, a point Rick Sanchez could have made without resorting to his Jewish conspiracy theory.
Anyway, I suppose that Rick can continue his book tour and think about his next options…and about that broken sensor.
And about Lou “The Brown Menace Is Upon Us” Dobbs? Why the flip didn’t CNN have the hair-trigger trap door for him? The YouTubes of him going off on-air, on the network are numerous. And the Obama Waffles incident at the Values Voter Summit in 1998, Lou stopped by the vendor table to give a slamming endorsement of the product (“My wife will love this!”)? That didn’t cost Lou his job.
It doesn’t excuse Sanchez’s remarks, but it does call into question the objectivity of using bigotry as a principal reason for dismissal at CNN.