Rick Sanchez gets the boot from CNN

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Jason Kenosky
Journal Staff

On Oct. 1, cable news anchor Rick Sanchez was fired from CNN after making bigoted remarks toward Jon Stewart – and the media as a whole – on the satellite radio program, “Stand Up!” Sanchez has been used as fodder for many of Stewart’s jokes on “The Daily Show,” to which Sanchez claims was the impetus for the comments. The remark that caused Sanchez to lose his position with CNN was a casual assertion that the media, including CNN, is “run by people like Stewart.”

For those of you not familiar, Jon Stewart is Jewish. Sanchez apologized to the nation a week later on “Good Morning America,” stating that his comments were wrong and offensive. When George Stephanopoulos pressed that his comments were anti-Semitic, Sanchez responded by stating that although what he said was careless, he can’t rescind what was said and must be responsible for those words.

It is unclear if Sanchez meant owning up to his comments, or defending them.

Sanchez went on to explain how he was “overworked,” suggesting that his racial comments aimed at CNN were the product of a stressful workload.

As one who regularly puts in 14-hour days in the restaurant business, I can understand that occasionally hasty words are said in the heat of the moment. However, it is one thing to bandy a few expletives behind closed doors, and another to broadcast racial remarks live on the air.

Whether Sanchez deployed a Freudian Slip or if the slip of the tongue was a blind attack, the issue remains the same: someone in his position should know better than to make such comments.

Being in the public eye, and with such popularity, Sanchez knows that criticism and scrutiny are a part of the job. Similarly, it is a part of Jon Stewart’s job as a comedian to make fun of people like Sanchez, whose journalistic style is more akin to circus clown than news reporter.

Stewart never joked about Sanchez’s race or heritage, just his antics in front of the camera. So why did Sanchez feel the need to not only attack Stewart’s ethnicity, but that of an entire demographic?

Disagreements in the workplace are common, in particular between the employee and higher-ups. Any grievance between Sanchez and CNN should have been handled without the use of live microphones and cameras.

Race is a sensitive subject, so it is not okay to romp around with stereotypes.  As a Cuban-American, Sanchez has probably faced racism himself, especially during his climb as a television broadcaster.Yet, there are more mature means of discussing such matters than by manifesting a live breakdown for all to witness.

I can appreciate Sanchez’s quirky style; it is a relief to the deadpan poise that is common among journalists. I just expect someone in his position to be better than that. After all, we’re the ones placing trust in journalists to deliver information in a reliable and professional manner.

They should give us nothing less.

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