Sanchez v. Stewart: El Error del Dia

My reading of the Rick Sanchez meltdown is that he was implying in his radio interview that Daily Show host Jon Stewart is prejudiced against the working class and against Latinos (apparently Sanchez’ evidence for this charge is that Stewart sometimes made fun of Sanchez). Even though I can’t imagine anyone taking it seriously, I think it is important not to let Sanchez’ implicit charge go unanswered. I’d just like to point out that Stewart has been absolutely scathing toward Arizona’s hideous new law on the treatment of people police even have a suspicion might be illegal aliens. That is, Stewart has shown solidarity with Latinos. Here is an example:

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Latino 911!
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Rally to Restore Sanity

If Sanchez wants to see bigotted toward Latinos or workers, he’s got the wrong channel on; it is there 24 hours a day on Fox.

The idea that Stewart, among the few genuine progressives on American mass media, is anti-labor is absurd. Here is an example of his clever attack on the regressive tax policies being advocated by the American Right, which is an implicit defense of workers and the poor against their exploiters:

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
That’s Tariffic
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Rally to Restore Sanity

I presume Sanchez was hurt at the cancellation of his 8 pm show by CNN and by Stewart’s barbs. But it is strange that he should lash out at an ally just because he has thin skin.

As for his charge that

‘ Yeah, very powerless people. [laughs] 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? ‘

— that is also bizarre. Of course Jewish Americans are a minority. They are only 6.5 million out of over 300 million. And they often face discrimination. My Jewish friends and acquaintances have spoken about how even living in small towns in the Midwest can be daunting, and the way they are signalled by locals sometimes that they are unwanted. In recent months Facebook pages with slogans like ‘kill a Jew day’ have been proliferating.

If the implication was that most American Jews are wealthy or upper middle class, that allegation is simply false. The Simon Wiesenthal Center points out that even before the economic meltdown, a fourth of Jewish New Yorkers were living near the poverty line.

Sanchez had it all wrong, from beginning to end. Stewart is the ally of the values he said he advocates, and there are lots of Jewish families, many of them fairly recent immigrants, who live a life his father would recognize. As for being made fun of by Stewart, Sanchez doesn’t seem to realize that it only means you have arrived. If he didn’t get that, he wasn’t anchor material.

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22 Responses

  1. I did not hear the radio interview with Sanchez myself, however I will say this. While Jews may be a minority, they are hardly “oppressed” (the adjective used by Mr. Sanchez). There has or there is still discrimination, but there is discrimination against many different types of people for varied reasons, and in fact, I would say that of all the “minority” groups in America who have faced discrimination, Jews have done very well for themselves and the discrimination they faced here is not anywhere near that faced by Black Americans. It also appears from reports that Jews are also the wealthiest or close to the wealthiest of ethnic groups. Nothing wrong with that, but it is true.

    Mr. Sanchez may have some misplaced criticism of Jon Stewart but it would be absurd to claim that Jews are an “oppressed” minority. That is simply untrue.

    • Great, an interview you haven’t listened to, “reports” you haven’t read and a life you haven’t lived. I can certainly see why CNN fired you, Rick, but maybe you should take this time between jobs for some education and reflection.

      link to

  2. Talk about being hoisted on one’s own petard. Sanchez went to the very top of his own hubristic “list you you don’t want to be on.”

    While his show did cover important subjects that other shows avoided (more a credit to his producers), and despite my best efforts to look beyond his endless self-promotion (beginning with his stunt of being tased on live tv in an effort to out-Geraldo Geraldo), I often found myself changing the channel or listening to the radio whenever his airbrushed countenance filled my screen.

    This guy gave narcissism a bad name.

  3. There are still hundreds of hate crimes against Jews each year, according to the last FBI count I read. “Oppressed” might not be the right word for it, but we should acknowledge that people are hurt because they are Jewish.

    That said, as ad said, black Americans are far more discriminated against.

  4. I agree with you that, among all media people, Stewart is perhaps the least deserving of a blast for racism or the like.

    And I agree that Jews generally in the USA are a minority, occasionally still oppressed.

    What Sanchez seems to have meant, however, is that the Jews with cushy jobs in media, and the Jewish multi-millionaires who own or control so many media outlets — that these people, even if a minority (and the entire class of millionaires is a tiny minority of Americans after all!), are not an oppressed minority (even if they are a minority and part of the larger and occasionally still oppressed minority of Jewish Americans).

  5. I agree, Sanchez’s frustration was misguided. I do feel sorry for him though because he clearly wasn’t intending to be derogatory towards Jewish people and was so abruptly discarded by CNN like a tainted piece of meat. He was ticked off about the cancellation, the comparison to John Quinones, and that Stewart makes fun of him for the manner he talks. Are there a lot Jewish people in executive positions at media companies? Are Latinos more oppressed than Jewish people? Even if those questions he was raising were correct, they don’t seem to be the reasons for losing his timeslot. I don’t think his comments were antisemetic, and I wouldn’t be surprised is Stewart reaches out to him and defends him on his show tonight. He’s a true class act.

    • There isn’t a non-antisemitic way to talk about how the Jews have it so much better than others and btw control the media. That’d be like looking for non-racist reasons someone might comment on the suitability of African Americans for coerced, unremunerated farm labor.

      • I would have to disagree with your statement. Discussion of Jewish influence in media, or whether or not it exist, is not any different than discussion or speculation about any other group”, corporations or whom ever, with certain interest or possible influence …much less anti semitic.

        There are no “criticism exemptions” or ‘taboos” any longer for anyone. ..discussions in this country have been out of the censorship lane for a long time now.

        The loose use of the definition of anti semite/ anti semitism doesn’t work in your favor or the Jews favor and certainly doesn’t change anyone’s opinion on the subject. If anything, unjustified use of slurs toward people expressing their opinions, regardless of whether right or wrong, just encourages them to be more outspoken…at least it does me…as you can see…and I recommend it to others.

  6. phil weiss has a good post on Sanchez.
    link to

    “I must point out that Rick Sanchez, who was unceremoniously fired by CNN today for talking some trash about Jon Stewart and the Jewish ownership of networks, was one of the few network anchors to give any attention to the Palestinian side of the story. He was plainly alarmed by the Israeli assault on Gaza in 08-09.”

  7. Not trying to stick up for anti-Semitism here (though that won’t stop anyone from accusing me of it, as Prof. Cole can testify to), but I am of the Norman Finklestein school on anti-Semitism in America– American Jews are, and deservedly so, a remarkably successful ethnic group in this country. They have contributes so much to our nation and I believe they are well recognized for it. If you haven’t seen it, there’s a most interesting film out there made recently by an Israeli filmmaker, called (in Hebrew) “Defamation”– and explores this very issue. Most instructive is what the ADL, which catalogues, essentially, every broken window or wayward comment related to American Jews, finds to be such a disturbing explosion in hate crimes against Jews.

    Frankly, when it comes to Jews, Italians, Blacks or what have you, I’m against any kind of “us” vs. “them” starting points for discussion. It’s all us, man. “Them” is a darkside Jedi mind trick.

  8. link to

    Weiss says let’s talk about Weiss’ claim. A thorough discussion might compare Jewish rates of near-poverty in NY cited by Prof Cole with that of other minorities. Context. An even more thorough discussion about “oppressed” minorities might cite the black equivalent to the Zionist Lobby which pushed the US into saving the Tutsis, for example.
    A researcher with a microscope might also find the small-town equivalent of evangelical “right-wing” dispensationalists who alleviate any rural and semi-rural provincial negative attitudes toward blacks with a “Chosen People” mythification.

  9. okay, so sanchez’s beef with stewart is that stewart can’t understand him because stewart isn’t a minority and because stewart hasn’t pulled himself up by his bootstraps like sanchez’s father did. i could grant sanchez having a point if the gist of stewart’s barbs was sanchez’s latino background. or his lower class background. but go back and look at all the times stewart has called sanchez out. stewart’s beef with sanchez is that sanchez is inept, irrelevant and idiotic – never that he is lower class or latino. unless sanchez is claiming that he should get a pass for his ineptitude because his father is a cuban immigrant, he really ought to shut his pie hole.

  10. This is the best write up I’ve seen on Sanchez and whether his remarks amounted to “anti-Semitism”.

    The Rick Sanchez dust-up: it’s a mirror
    link to


    So am I concerned with Sanchez’s rhetorical stupidity? No. I am concerned with the racism of the culture that excoriates Sanchez’s verbal clumsiness while celebrating far worse racist stupidity when it’s against a more politically vulnerable target. A racist culture is a racist culture. Jews of all people should be aware, at the level of self-interest if not of morality, that a culture willing to incite pogroms against Arabs and Muslims is one that could turn on Jews when a fundamentalist group, furious at the occupation, cites it as the reason for setting off a thermonuclear detonation in an American city. In that respect, the Jewish cultural elite are not merely morally corrupt. They are fools.

    End Quote

    • from referenced article:
      “It speaks to the double-standards that exist when an illiterate Islamophobic racist thug like Marty Peretz is feted at Harvard while a Sanchez is dismissed from CNN with a quick wave. Let us really ask: who is the threat here? Which countries are being bombarded with white phosphorus and are under foreign military occupation? What was the religion of the country which dug a million graves in the past 20 years? …”

  11. I have rarely watched Sanchez, and Stewart only occasionally, but some reports say this was a personal thing between Sanchez and Stewart. Reportedly Sanchez took some of Stewart’s ‘teasing” of him in their personal interactions the wrong way and perceived a insult where none was intended.
    The rant by Sanchez was very stupid, no other word for it…..every corporate employment contract I know of has dismissal clauses for “certain types of behavior”…and dissing your employer or one of your employer ‘s highy rated ‘stars” in that business would be one of those no-no’s.
    The “Jewish factor” is another thing, had he said the ‘evangelicals” control the networks and the evangelicals did indeed make up a large part of the ownership or control of content he would no doubt have been fired by the evangelicals also.
    However calling this a anti semitic tirade is nonsense. If there is a lot of Jewish ownership involved and there is evidence that there is, they are going to slant content in favor of their minority group and their group’s interest the same way evangelical owners or Cuban owners devoted to overthrowing Cuba would slant content in their agenda’s favor. We have all seen even highly respected figures like Carter, Freeman, Tutu, W&M savaged by Jewish writers,/elements/ activist in the press so to deny this attempt by some in a position to do so, to control public opinion regarding Jews, primilarily in the Israel issue, is nonsensical.
    While group or interest influenced media and press is detrimental to the country it is unfortunately what it has come to in the US in many cases.
    And Americans should, and should be free to, complain, criticize and point this out wherever they see it regardless of who or what group it involves.
    Just don’t do it if you are also working for the group you are criticizing unless you want to lose your job.

  12. Sanchez’s reaction to Stewart’s satire/occasionaly-vaccuous-mockery was definitely immature and un-proffessional. But his strange fate makes one wonder if there is some truth to his implied message. Since when is it a punishable crime to say that a particular group is or isn’t a “minority” or if they are “oppressed”? Such a statement may be categorized as true/false, but not appropriate/offensive, and you of all people, Prof. Cole, should understand what this sort of intellectual terrorization and stigmatization does to a free society. By these standards, no true scholar in sociology or history or political science including yourself should be allowed to keep their jobs.

    And will someone please explain to me why it is so wrong to suggest that a person who owns a business, “controls” that business? I’m sure I wouldn’t be offended if you said I “control” my restaurant, but somehow, saying that this or that billionaire owner of a TV channel controls what he owns, offends people. Maybe this is a symptom of the gnawing realization that owning the means of dissemination of information is different from owning a restaurant, that perhaps there is something fundamentally wrong about allowing the media to be the private property of a billionaire. But our attitude seems to be to crucify those who remind us of this disquieting reality rather than to condemn the social order that allows such evil to take place in the first place.

    In any case, Sanchez is as much a victim of our prejudices and irresponsibilities as his own error.
    By the way, he was the only major TV anchor who investigated the breakout of the Gaza war and demonstrated that it was an Israeli incitement that started it. I had a feeling he wouldn’t last long.

  13. Note: Stewart is not a “genuine progressive” – he’s a middle of the road liberal. Only by our tainted and slanted MSM narrative is he a progressive.

  14. I would like to stand up for the ability of my people, the white Protestants, to control media, corrupt banks, and oppress minorities. We have been unfairly ignored in these capacities. Everyone talks about the Jews controlling Hollywood. But who owns the studios? Warner is owned by Time, the spawn of Henry Luce. Disney was created by an anti-Semite. NBC Universal is owned by WASPy General Electric. Fox is, well, Fox. They all have shareholders, reaching into the pension funds of every corporation in the US. The megaWASP US car industry, spawn of Hitler-loving Ford, got its bailout along with the finance industry. As for the Jewish bankers, Goldman Sachs and all the other banksters are in an alliance with every corrupt debt pimp in every goyim subdivision from Maine to San Diego, with redneck car dealers, with Sunbelt defense contractors, with Jew-free Big Oil. Is every Jew selling life insurance, or medical or home insurance that never pays when you really need it, or shipping jobs to China, or trucking in illegals to work in their sweatshops? No, it is the good Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians and Episcopalians who do the hard work of cheating ordinary Americans of all faiths in the name of the God of Greed. And capitalism ultimately lives on the certainty that all these bastards can order the government and its peckerwood army to gun down anyone who takes a stand against it – at home and abroad. Give the Zionists points for seeing that the sick neoconservative movement started by Scoop Jackson and Jeane Kirkpatrick was a useful way of melding American and Israeli militarism into a crusade against the entire rest of the human race, but those Zionists speak for fewer and fewer American Jews every year. In fact, as has shown, the Zionists now seem to be looking at inviting deranged Baptist gun nuts to emigrate to Israel to do what even Israeli Jews lack the stomach to do. If you want genocide done right, my kin from Tennessee and Texas are still the best America has to offer.

  15. Holy moley. You allow someone to assert the media isn’t owned and controlled by Jewish people, but didn’t check the facts. I just looked for the first two companies mentioned.

    Time Warner’s CEO is Barry Meyer.
    Disney’s CEO is Bob Iger.

    That’s as far as I’m going to check since I’m not wasting any more time with this since I’m sure this won’t be published. Apparently we’re not allowed ask who controls the US media because it’s anti-Semitic. However, both these men are Jewish. What would a careful investigation reveal?

    • Jimmy Carter is a Southern Baptist.

      Would you say that he is therefore part of the militant Christian Zionist conspiracy that has dominated Southern Baptism?

      And Harry Reid is a Mormon. But he’s also a Democrat. Most of his fellow Mormons probably wish he was dead.

      You can tell which persons put theocracy ahead of democracy. In the case of Jewish Americans, it’s very easy to tell. But all this Jew-bashing makes it easy to avoid the responsibility of America’s white conservative ownership class that controls the shares in the firms headed by Jews.

      Face it, we’re in a class war, the same class war we were in when all our Russian Jews were living in urban ghettoes. They did what they had to do to get hired out of the ghetto, but who owned the banks and factories and oil fields then, and how rich are their great-grandchildren still?

      Trying to fantasize that there’s a “good” capitalism of steel mills and weapons factories run by conservative Gentiles and a “bad” capitalism of movie studios and banks run by liberal Jews is a hallmark of Fascist thought. It’s all one racket, and it has no loyalty to ordinary Americans at all. You should worry about how much economic power they’ve already transferred to new host bodies like China.

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