Memo to CNN news hacks: Don’t fuck with Jon Stewart.
I’m not saying there is any connection, but the last time a CNN anchor went toe-to-toe with Stewart he also found himself out of job. Today Tucker Carlson is an Internet peddler of borrowed stories and Rupert Murdoch’s fluffer on Fox News.
When Rick Sanchez agreed to be interviewed today to plug his new book he probably had not planned to end his career, it was just one of those things that happens. We’ve all been through it. He just got caught up in the excitement of spewing anti-Semitic stereotypes and thought he could one-up Mel Gibson. Here is what he said:
“Everybody that runs CNN is a lot like [Jon] Stewart. 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.”
So Sanchez thinks that Jews are not victims of discrimination, and they are in control of the media. And he feels perfectly at ease expressing that opinion aloud. That is certainly justification for terminating a network anchor, but I am somewhat skeptical that that’s how it happened.
Generally it takes some period of time for a gaffe like this to build up a head of steam and accumulate some outrage from offended parties. But Sanchez got the boot before most of America even knew he had screwed up. What’s more, CNN has a new chief, Ken Jautz, who is not known for being controversy-averse. Jautz was the man who hired Glenn Beck at Headline News. With all the crap that Beck has said, we are now supposed to believe that Jautz was suddenly shocked by Sanchez’s remarks? Beck said that he hated the 9/11 victims’ families while he was working for Jautz. Then there was the time that Beck asked Keith Ellison, a Muslim member of Congress, to “prove to me that you are not working with our enemies.” Yet Jautz didn’t rush to call security and have Beck removed from the studio.
Beck has continued his reign of error at Fox News, famously saying that President Obama was “a racist with a deep-seated hatred for white people.” Yet Fox keeps him on the payroll, as they do Liz Trotta who joked that Obama should be “knocked off” along with Osama. Fox contributor Michael Scheuer opined that the only hope for America was for Bin Laden to hit us again with a WMD. And Ralph Peters, another Fox contributor, advocated military strikes on the media.
There doesn’t seem to be an outer limit of acceptable behavior for Fox. Which makes it a great place to work for bigots and psychopaths who won’t have to worry about saying something totally insane. On the other hand, MSNBC has David Shuster on an indefinite suspension for having done a screen test for CNN. And they canceled Don Imus for making racially insensitive comments about a women’s basketball team (he now works for, that’s right … Fox). CBS fired Jimmy the Greek. ESPN canned Rush Limbaugh. And now CNN shows Sanchez the door. Fox may not have a crossable line, but every other network seems to.
Still, I have to wonder what precipitated Sanchez’s departure. Could it really have been a revulsion of his clearly offensive remarks? Or did he walk out indignantly after being reprimanded? Perhaps Jautz wanted the schedule cleared for some new programming he is developing. Who knows? It just seems like there is more to this than has been made public. We may not know the answers for a while, or until Sanchez tweets. But just for old times sake, here are a couple of occasions where Sanchez did some work for which he could actually be proud:
This will actually be a good opportunity to find out what kind of programmer Jautz intends to be. Will he fill Sanchez’s slot with his next Beck-like discovery? Will he shoot for more tabloid sensationalism? Or will he develop a show that has journalistic ethics and standards and returns CNN to its original mission of producing honest news?
For the record, I had a suggestion for a new CNN program when Campbell Brown left the network: Replace Campbell Brown With The Daily Show. The idea still works. A man can dream, can’t he?