CNN has fired Rick Sanchez from the network after his comments on a radio program received widespread criticism.
(Oct. 1) — Television anchor Rick Sanchez makes a living talking to America, but it looks like the folksy CNN commentator put his foot in his mouth on a radio talk show.
Appearing Thursday on the Sirius radio program “Stand Up! With Pete Dominick,” Sanchez, who was born in Cuba and grew up in Florida, repeatedly took aim at Jon Stewart, calling him a “bigot.”
When pressed by Dominik as to what he meant, specifically, Sanchez gave the following explanation.
“I think he looks at the world through his mom, who was a schoolteacher, and his dad, who was a physicist or something like that,” Sanchez said, according to transcripts provided by the radio program’s blog. “Great, I’m so happy that he grew up in a suburban middle-class New Jersey home with everything you could ever imagine.”
Dominick then asked what group it was that Stewart held a prejudiced view toward.
“Everybody else who’s not like him,” Sanchez responded. “Look at his show, I mean what does he surround himself with?”
Later in the program, Sanchez retracted the word “bigot” from his criticism of Stewart. “All right,” Sanchez said. “I’ll take the word bigot back; I’ll say prejudicial, uninformed.” But as the conversation continued, Sanchez hammered away at Stewart, and after Dominik noted that, being a Jew, Stewart had a sense of what it was to be an oppressed minority, Sanchez laughed.
“Very powerless people,” Sanchez said with a snicker. “He’s such a minority, I mean, you know. … Please, what are you kidding? 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 argued that Jews don’t experience the same level of discrimination as blacks and Hispanics.
“I grew up not speaking English, dealing with real prejudice every day as a kid; watching my dad work in a factory, wash dishes, drive a truck, get spit on. I’ve been told that I can’t do certain things in life simply because I was a Hispanic,” Sanchez said. “My friends who are black, I’ve seen that with them; I’ve seen that with a lot of minorities. I can’t really think — although I understand the plight of Jews, and all the experiences, and the things that have happened historically for them — but I can’t say that my buddy Glen or my buddy Izzy who I grew up with in South Florida ever were prejudiced against directly simply because they were Jewish. There may have been jokes around them or about other things, but it’s kinda — you know what I’m saying, it’s kind of a different thing.”