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The Kernel of Truthiness Behind Rick Sanchez's Ugly Rant

5 years ago
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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.
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We still have freedom of the press. Sanchez can say whatever he likes. That does not mean there will be no consequences when he engages in a bigoted rant. Nor does freedom of the press guarantee him the right to be a bifot on network tV. The problem is, Sanchez thinks he is the only one who has encountered discrimination. Everyone does. In CA, whites are now the minority and come up against racists attitudes all the time. The Irish were discrimianted against. So were the Poles. Whites are discriminated again in Miami by Cuban Amerians... it goes on and on.

October 02 2010 at 10:08 PM

Must be politically correct(liberal) for CNN.

October 02 2010 at 10:00 PM +1

I don't watch TV, cable or otherwise, and never heard of this Rick Sanchez before today that I can recall. His statement that "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." seems to indicate a mind-set that can't imagine a woman in authority. Sad...

October 02 2010 at 9:36 PM -1

Just reviewing this article, I believe Rick only did what was natural to him! When your attacked whether verbal or physical you decide in seconds to fight back. Now I did not see the interview, however I experience racism everyday at work and within the community I reside. It's very frustrating, however you cant let ignorant, totalitarians, get under your skin, thats what they want you to do. Just keep trying to be the best and God willing no one will hold you down and the those idiots will be the one frustrated!

October 02 2010 at 9:35 PM -1

I think what we have here is a version of the Stockholm effect/syndrome. I know I experienced that when interviewed many years ago. Being interviewed by a talented person causes you to let down your internal guard which self censors what you say. I know when I did it, I made the front page of a small town paper. Even 4 decades later, I regret what I said, even though it was of like kind of what Jon Stewart says.

October 02 2010 at 9:35 PM

Stewart can speak his mind and Sanchez must take it to be a professional? But isn't that exactly what people claim is bigotry? That one group gets to make comments about another group and that group is supposed to take it and pretend it is OK? I wish someone would post all of Stewart's remarks, and how many times Sanchez did take it as a joke. A joke is a joke, when everyone is laughing. But there comes a point when it goes to far, and we know all know when it is. At that point, Stewart is just needling the guy and he knows it. I have to ask myself, why is Stewart so obsessed with needling Sanchez?

October 02 2010 at 9:31 PM +1
1 reply to rcwaechter's comment

Stewart is not a CNN news commentator. He's an entertainer on Comedy Central. How can you not see the difference? Stewart's job is to make fun, and he certainly doesn't have to look far to make fun of the pea-brained commentators who are populating today's television news programs.

October 02 2010 at 10:14 PM

To qoute our president "Buck Up" Rick!!

October 02 2010 at 8:50 PM +2

I found Sanchez to be offensive and always turned him off.

October 02 2010 at 8:40 PM -3

Huh?? "White folks don't see it. But we do.....those of us who are minoriies." Exactly when was it that Jews escaped their "minority status?" Without question Jews understand bigotry. Sanchez evidently needs to recognize the value of discretion.

October 02 2010 at 8:32 PM +1

Among your opening statements it is stated that his book is a favorite "among Jew-haters" How would you know?

October 02 2010 at 8:31 PM

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