Should Rick Sanchez Have Been Fired From CNN?

I don’t watch cable news. I don’t have cable. All my news comes from good old fashioned sources like print media and of course, the internet. I don’t follow Rick Sanchez on twitter nor have I seen much of his work. What I have seen from him usually irritates me and represents a narrow minded, assimilationist perspective of what Latinidad should look like.
What I do know for sure, is that Rick Sanchez was fired from CNN last Friday, one day after making remarks that have been called everything from controversial to anti-semitic.

According to CNN’s own site, Sanchez “left” the company following a critique on Jon Stewart that ended up being a rant against CNN management and then against Jewish people, whose oppressed status he doubted.

On Thursday, Sanchez appeared on the XM Sirius radio program “Stand-Up with Pete Dominick.” During the interview with Dominick, Sanchez called “The Daily Show’s” Jon Stewart “a bigot” and then said that he was bigoted against “everybody else who’s not like him. Look at his show, I mean, what does he surround himself with?”…I’m telling you that everybody who runs CNN is a lot like 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,” Sanchez responded.


What some Latinos are doing however, is calling racism and double-standard on the part of CNN. It has been noted by some in the Latino blogosphere that Sanchez was fired quickly for a few seconds of anti-semitic speech while it took a national campaign and years of struggle for Lou Dobbs to be fired from CNN after years of almost daily anti-Latino, anti-immigrant, and anti-Mexican hate speech.

Some have called for Sanchez to be reinstated. Others are saying that Sanchez was playing the “woe is me as a Latino song”.

There is no doubt in my mind that being a Latino working in the media is a complex space to navigate and that yes, there is racism against Latinos. I have experienced it myself working in this “new media realm” and I have spoken/written about it and it seems like this is whst Sanchez was trying to do too. Albeit, he did it by playing oppression olympics.

Does this give Sanchez a free pass though? Could CNN have handled it a different way and was this about the anti-semitism of the remarks or the accusations of racism?

The National Association of Hispanic Journalists, who has Lou Dobbs as a lifetime member, hasn’t commented.

Image via/ The Maynard Institute

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26 comments on “Should Rick Sanchez Have Been Fired From CNN?
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  3. There is definitely a double standard. CNN showcased Lou Dobbs and his vile, racist lies for many years until his ratings fell and he no longer made them money. As for Sanchez, if you work in the media you make an unspoken deal never to utter certain things regardless of their validity. I doubt Rick was surprised when CNN fired him.

    Have you heard the entire interview? I don’t know if it’s still avaibale, but I have seen many news outlets attribute quotes to Rick that he never said. He was talking about the bigotry and classism of northeastern liberals as a whole, not about any one religious group. He said that his bosses at CNN see him as “second tier” because he is Hispanic, and he said that Stewart cannot relate to anybody outside of his own northeastern, upper middle class background.

    It was the radio host who injected religion into it by saying that Stewart was an opppressed minority himself, and by implication could not be a bigot. Rick called BS on Stewart being an oppressed minority in America and said that the networks were run by people like Stewart.

    That’s what did Rick in. Not validating the victimhood of a people who see themselves through the prism of their own history as opposed to their current status.

    I stopped watching CNN when Dobbs was on, and I see no reason ever to watch it again. It was a great news station–the best in the world–when Ted Turner owned it. Now, like most media today, it’s junk.

  4. It looks like our little hermanito Ricky Sanchez had a little flash of “self-realization” there for a minute..
    He must have been saying to himself..”shit, my name ain’t Hank,Chuck or Jack ..my Goddamn name is Ricardo and fuck all these Jews that run and control the media..I’m sick and tired of being Chanuka News Network’s (CNN) token brown ..what the hell am I anyway a schmuck?
    A couple of things here..first of all I don’t give a rats ass about CNN or for that fact any of the MSM whores..as far as I’m concerned their success is in inverse proportion to my freedom and self-determination..fuck em..they piss on Latinos all the time..
    The Jews..hmmm..me thinks Ricky Sanchez had a momentary fit of love/hate for them during his interview..envidia mixed with a dash of resentment because Jews are so goddamn tight,smart,intellectual and highly sophisticated..and Latinos are not so..(at least yet…)
    The National Association of Hispanic Journalists..
    What can I say..Oy Vey!!..Mi Raza..they who have Lou Dobbs as a lifetime member, they who have not commented..
    What a bunch of pathetic schlemeils ..Que lastima!
    I just wanna shout out..
    Hey! you bunch of MSM pendejos at NAHJ..got a news flash for ya.. the real talent is not with you puffed up ego tripping self-important culos ..the real talent is out here on the internet..especially the blogs..we’re the rebels,the fighters..we kick ass..we are the real spirit de La Gente Latina..we are the future..
    So,get the hell out of our way because we’re coming!
    Oh! I forgot about Ricky Sanchez..
    Hey!CNN..give him his job back or I’ll start watching Univision!

  5. Some people can take ridicule and abuse when it’s funny. Repeated too many times it becomes unfunny and some people get angry and say things they don’t mean or believe. This may have happened to Rick. See: Maynard Institute: Others Compare Lou Dobbs’ Fate, Assess Racism Claim: http://mije.org/node/1226

  6. @Chicano future tense
    You do know that there are People who are Latino and Jewish and they are not mutually exclusive things.
    Hate breeds hate, I knew Latinos that thought they could make anti-Semitic jokes or have anti-Semitic beliefs. I said this before and I will say this again. I honestly think Sanchez got fired because he criticized the bosses of CNN. I would like to point out the the Chicano and Hispanic community tends to overlook Atheist, Jewish, Muslim and other non-Christian Latino ( o.k we are a minority but where is the support?) As a Latina, I’m upset that Sanchez is giving this impression that Latinos are Anti-Semitic. To me he is like those frat boys I went to high-school who thought they were kings porque eran hombres.

  7. Karen, I did hear the whole interview and I got what Rick was saying. I think perhaps he was baited or quien sabe. It wasn’t the smartest thing to have said no doubt, though. But other people have been kept on the air at CNN for alot longer after saying alot worse.

    From what I hear (not a regular CNN viewer) the quality has gone down and been going down there for a while.

  8. Chicano Future Tense: you crack me the hell up. Pero that being said, it seems as if you watched Rick before..what was your assessment of him and his work on CNN?

    A colleague of mine asked me to join the NAHJ…couldn’t bring myself to do it as long as Dobbs is alive and kicking

  9. Ricardo, I actually linked back to that site above at the photo credit part and read it as well.

    Lady Morgue : YES! Thank you for saying that there are a good number of Latinos that are also Jewish and in fact many of them from Cuba, where Sanchez hails from. I can’t imagine that he wasn’t aware of that.

    Do you know if there are any Latino Jewish organizations that have commented on what went down?

  10. I forgot about that. Yes, it probably did have an effect because obviously nobody wants to be boycotted in this economy. But I also know that Dobbs had slipped in the ratings.

    Next time let’s not wait years after the fact to boycott. We need to do it immediately.

  11. I did hear/read the show/transcript before I wrote the original post. Just wanted to gauge what others specifically our readers thought. Like I said, never have been a fan and I don’t think he was any spectacular representation of Latinos on CNN

  12. As an agnostic Jew, I feel badly about the complete meltdown of Rick Sanchez. He had a lot of potential, but you could see where he was going, especially in the last 3 months. He was awful on CNN, and had me tuning him out those 2 hours before the Situation Room.
    Sorry Rick, cannot stick up for you. Obviously you have forgotten what the Jewish people went through since 1919, especially here in the United States,
    You talked about your upbringing, your father being verbally abused, but what really happened is that you personally melted under media pressure, and probably do not belong.
    Good luck: go back to school and become an MD, DDS, JD, MA, Phd, or a qualified businessman like most of the rest of us. The remaining population just work hard.

  13. WOW. Well at least there’s a variety of opinions here. I do agree that we (Latinos in all our variations) need to get used to being quicker to react we get shit on. We need to do it quicker and bigger. It’s like in everyday life, if someone’s being an asshole to you you need to be able to stand up for yourself. As for Rick Sanchez, he was a looser, but he probably shouldn’t have been fired. What he said wasn’t worse than what all those other babosos say.

  14. The question of whether Jews are an oppressed minority is, to me, hard to answer.

    Put it differently, Jews lost half of their population. There are plenty in this world that would like(See Bin Laden) to cut out the second half. So even though, on paper, Jews generally are high up on the socio-economic ladder, they are still vulnerable to very insidious attacks.

    Also in all of this, I think most of us tend to lose the poignancy of the past. The holocaust was not that long ago. There is a price for humanity to pay for that.

  15. Well Bryan, I don’t think that the point here is if Jewish people are an oppressed group or not. I think like within all groups there are varying levels of privilege that people try to leverage and then fall back on the idea of their oppression. I know I have been outright verbally attacked and harassed here and been accused of being anti-Semitic for my support of Palestine and taking an stand against Israeli occupation. But that is not the same as dismissing oppression of a group of people (not a nation).

  16. Wow, I just read the transcript. Sanchez: “Wait. Let me get back to the Jon Stewart thing. You ready?”

    Host responds: “You’ve said enough. You’re digging a hole.”

    Yet Sanchez went on.

  17. @ Sabina…..”You go girl!”…

    @Dr. Edward Teitleman….Hey Doc..sure Rick Sanchez screwed up and said some stupid things…but,I don’t think he should have been fired for that.It would be wise for him to apologize and for CNN to give him his job back..fyi..compassion plays a vital role in Latino culture..it is our RX and is always in our doctor’s bag..I suggest you prescribe it more often and add it to yours as well..
    ..having said that I have to take another cheap shot at CNN..”don’t be such a bunch of chikenshit assholes..
    for christ’s sake give Rick Sanchez his job back!”…
    there,I said it..

  18. First off, Rick Sanchez is not CNNs only Latino. Second, it really isn’t very smart to make negative comments about your boss. When you do you get fired. If he felt that strongly about his boss then why didn’t he find a new job? Third, look what happened to Imas when he made the comment about the woman’s basketball team when he said they looked rough. Well I would expect those women to look rough when they are playing.
    Racist remarks cannot be tolerated. There can be no double standard. To excuse remarks of that nature is the same as saying it’s ok for certain races to make racial comments. It seems that if a white person makes a comment or takes actions like firing someone of any other race making such comments it is the white person that is called the racists. WRONG, anyone who makes negative comments about ANYONE of another race is a racist. If Rick made antisemitic statements or racial slurs he should be held accountable. I like Rick and have watched him for years but I have also noticed a racist tone. He was in a powerful position as an anchor an should be more responsible because of his position and the influence it has on a global audience. Racist comments and attitudes do nothing more than create division and right now we need unity not division. As for compassion playing a vital role in the Latino culture, how can that be if there are such racist opinions? It appears to be a case that suits a cause and not vital in the Latino community or we wouldn’t be having this conversation would we?

  19. Sharon,

    Indeed he wasn’t the only Latino on CNN. Soldedad O’Brian is still there and look at the great job she did with Latinos in America (sarcasm).

    For me it has never been an issue of representation. Just like I am not immediately enamored by a Latino in political office, nor am I instantly supportive of a Latino in a prominent spot in the media.

    And sure Dobbs wasn’t fired….(sarcasm) I wonder if he will show up again on tv like he did last night on the Good Wife.

  20. Re: ” they looked rough”

    He didn’t say they looked rough. He called them nappy headed hos when he thought his mike was turned off. He was only fired after people threatened to boycott. Rick didn’t say anything even remotely like that, and now he is being accused of saying things he didn’t even say.

    As for Lou, I almost barfed when I saw him last night, ugh..those big false teeth. I quickly changed the channel. And I will never use Remax to seel a house because that’s the commercial I remeber from that show.

  21. I dont undertand what is racist about questioning whether Jewish people in America are still an oppressed minority. I didnt even realize John Stewart was Jewish! He doesnt seem very oppressed to me! He seems like another talented, rich American who worked hard and is well deserving of the recognition he has received. I think it should have been taken as a compliment! I think that Martin Luther King’s dream was that we dont make any of these distinctions. Rick Sanchez and John Stewart are the same! Both American!

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