No, not the anti-Semitic part, no word of which deserves defending.
But there is a sad, circular pattern to the bigotry that Sanchez obviously experienced and was scarred by, embittered to the point that even as a successful cable anchor, it escaped his lips one day and blew up his career. That's why racism, and every form of discrimination, is so insidious: It can make you crazy, and is very, very hard to make a clean break from.
For those who missed the story, Sanchez was fired from CNN
on Friday after an Oh-My-Lord
Sirius/XM radio interview in which he may have made his new book, "Conventional Idiocy," a best-seller among Jew-haters.
Sanchez is one of the many cable-news guys and gals Jon Stewart regularly pokes fun at
on "The Daily Show," but Sanchez couldn't laugh off the treatment; instead, he was humiliated by the teasing in a way that clearly tapped into earlier slights and ongoing self-doubt.
Asked by his interviewer, Pete Dominick, about the ribbing, Sanchez, who was born in Cuba, went out with a bang
: "I've known a lot of elite Northeast establishment liberals that may not use this as a business model, but deep down when they look at a guy like me they look at a – they see a guy automatically who belongs in the second tier and not the top tier.''
When pressed to explain what he was talking about, he said it was subtle stuff, mostly: "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.''
True, that. Also true: we humans say insensitive things to each other every day, but regularly being treated as "second tier" takes a toll, and can deform the way we see the world.
Sanchez said that one CNN exec told him, "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...Now, did he not realize that he was telling me...An anchor is what you give the high-profile white guys, you know...To a certain extent Jon Stewart and [Stephen] Colbert are the same way. I think Jon Stewart's a bigot.''
At that point, he veered into wild talk that conflated past experiences with Stewart just mocking him the same way he mocks everybody. From there, it was a steep, steep drop into the sewer, complete with ancient stereotypes about Jewish power. And before you could pick your jaw up off the floor, CNN had done the only thing they could do, which was send him off with a terse announcement
that "We thank Rick for his years of service and we wish him well.''
Afterwards, I saw some of my fave friends on Facebook and Twitter laughing that he'd have more time to hand-sell his book now. But really, people, what happened here isn't funny.