Posted on Saturday, 2 October 2010 · 3 Comments
Rick Sanchez, a daytime anchor at CNN, was fired on Friday, a day after telling a radio interviewer that Jon Stewart was a bigot and that “everybody that runs CNN is a lot like Stewart.”
The latter comment was made shortly after Mr. Stewart’s faith, Judaism, was invoked.
CNN said in a statement Friday evening, “Rick Sanchez is no longer with the company. We thank Rick for his years of service and we wish him well.”
Mr. Sanchez’s comments came Thursday during a contentious conversation with the comedian Pete Dominick on satellite radio. By Friday afternoon, a recording of the conversation had circulated widely on the Internet.
In the conversation Mr. Sanchez, who is Cuban-American, repeatedly suggested that he had experienced subtle forms of discrimination in his television career.
He said that “a lot of elite Northeast establishment liberals” viewed him as someone “who belongs in the second tier and not the top tier.”
Among those establishment figures, he said, was Mr. Stewart, the host of “The Daily Show” on Comedy Central and a friend of Mr. Dominick’s.
At first, Mr. Sanchez called Mr. Stewart a “bigot,” but later took the word back, calling the comedian “prejudicial” instead.
Prejudicial “against who?” Mr. Dominick asked.
Mr. Sanchez said, “Against anybody who doesn’t agree to his point of view, which is very much a white liberal establishment point of view.”
One of the co-hosts of the radio show brought up the fact that Mr. Stewart was a Jew, saying to Mr. Sanchez that he was a minority “as much as you are.”
Mr. Sanchez answered sarcastically, “Yeah. Yeah. Very powerless people.” He let out a high-pitched laugh.
“Everybody that runs CNN is a lot like Stewart,” Mr. Sanchez said. “And a lot of people who run all the other networks are a lot like Stewart. And to imply that somehow they — the people in this country who are Jewish — are an oppressed minority? Yeah.”
Mr. Stewart has made jokes about Mr. Sanchez more than 20 times in the last five years, according to a search of the show’s Web site. Or as Mr. Sanchez put it, “You watch yourself on his show every day and all they ever do is call you stupid.”
Mr. Stewart was far from the only person known to mock Mr. Sanchez, who was once tasered on camera for a segment. He was a polarizing figure within CNN, but under the channel’s former president, Jonathan Klein, he was rewarded with more air time, most recently a two-hour block in the afternoons. Mr. Klein was fired last week.
On Wednesday, Mr. Sanchez ended two months as an interim prime-time anchor. He appeared on the radio show as part of tour to promote his book “Conventional Idiocy.” Attempts to reach Mr. Sanchez were unsuccessful.
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