The question was asked in broadcast studios and
journalism classrooms all over the country Monday after Sanchez’s
weekend firing from his CNN anchor desk.
“I think his career is over,” said
“You’ve seen Rick up, and you’ve seen Rick down, and he reinvents himself every time,” countered
A wildly popular
anchor during the 1980s and ’90s when he was one of the first Cuban
Americans to make it on television, the 52-year-old Sanchez was fired
Friday night from CNN after six years at the network.
His dismissal followed a satellite-radio interview
in which Sanchez said he was the victim of anti-Hispanic prejudice by
Jewish media bosses. Sanchez, frequently the target of derisive punch
lines by Comedy Central host
“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?” Sanchez said,
then added with sarcastic emphasis: “Yeah.”
Sanchez’s bitter complaints were anything but a momentary blurt — the raw exchange with
Monday that he felt badly about the outcome of the interview but that
Sanchez had entered the studio with “a live grenade in his mouth.”
“If Rick didn’t do it on my show, he would have done it somewhere else,” Dominick said.
Practically everybody in TV news was talking about
the Sanchez situation Monday, although almost no one was willing to be
quoted by name.
Some television journalists and academicians said
Sanchez’s rant was all the more surprising because several other media
figures have come to grief in recent months for hard-ball remarks on
scramble to save his upcoming television series about American history,
apologizing for telling a British newspaper that the U.S. media is
preoccupied with the Holocaust because of “the Jewish domination of the
—Tough-love radio host Dr.
“There are people in television who think they’re
smart because they’re on television,” Roberts said. “They think they
don’t have to think. And Sanchez is a victim of that. He really thought
that what came out of his mouth was pearls of wisdom, and the stupidity
just flowed. … Is he anti-Semitic? I don’t think so. But he was very
intemperate in his remarks, and he deserved to be fired.”
Sanchez was born in
He returned 18 months later, once again an instant
success as he led a new tabloid-ish WSVN news format that became known
as “if it bleeds, it leads.” Even a drunk-driving conviction after an
accident that left a pedestrian (who was also drunk) paralyzed didn’t
dent his popularity there.
But a shot on the national stage as an anchor at MSNBC was a ratings disaster and so was his return to host a
Sanchez’s career finally seemed to have stabilized since he joined CNN, first as a reporter and then as an afternoon anchor.
“He’s a very passionate guy, and that can maybe sometimes get the best of him,” said
a Hispanic lobby. “But he was an important advocate within CNN for
diversity and an important voice for lowering the heat on coverage of
the immigration issue. … We were sad to see him go.”
And, Navarette added, the anger over Sanchez’s
remarks about Jews is masking the truth of his complaints about
discrimination against Hispanic reporters and anchors in the
English-speaking television world.
But for Jews, Sanchez’s words were just more salt in an ancient anti-Semitic wound.
“This is an old story, and there are left-wing and right-wing versions of it,” said
professor of sociology and journalism. “The intensity and ferocity and
dementia of the claim transcend many normal political differences. …
No sooner were the modern media born than we started hearing the
accusation that not only do Jews control the media, but they do it
invidiously, deploying newspapers and other media against other groups.
It’s one of the old arrows in the quiver of routine anti-Semitism.”
(c) 2010, The Miami Herald.
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.