Monday, October 4, 2010

Rick Sanchez Redux

Leave it to Jon Stewart to make us feel a little bad for piling on Rick Sanchez. He had some fun at Sanchez's expense, but saw that at this point kicking him when he's down would just be cruel.

Revisiting Sanchez's remarks, it seems Hitchens may be right, that Sanchez hardly said anything controversial, but as to getting his job back.... Let us go back to his words:

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.

"The Jews run the media/country/world" is old hat for anti-Semites, taking an objective fact, that of Jewish overrepresentation in government, media, and culture, and spinning it into grand conspiracy. Sanchez didn't do this, and was rather trying to make a (poorly supported) point about Jon Stewart being part of a liberal white elite that condescends to Hispanics like himself (nevermind that no one would know of Sanchez's ethnicity if it weren't for his last name).

But the long history of Jewish conspiracy theories makes mention of the Jewish presence taboo, much the same way depicting Barack Obama as a chimp is seen as offensive in a way it wasn't when the same was done to George Bush. Using the history of racists instead of the personal history of accused isn't entirely fair, but one has to wonder how dense people could be to wonder why such things could be thought offensive.

Rick Sanchez just happens to be very dense.

His offense, then, was running his mouth, which, as Stewart pointed out, he tended to do on CNN on a regular basis. (I'll take this moment admit to my own haste in writing my original snarky post on this incident.) So yes, his being fired for more or less doing what he was paid to do is unfair. But Helen Thomas went down in flames over similarly ill-considered (though much more offensive) remarks which she instantly regretted, and she was an actual journalist. If we are going to speak of capriciously rescueing a capriciously ended career, it might as well be one worth saving.

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