When Helen Thomas said Jews should "get the hell out of Palestine," I thought her canning was warranted. But there was room for debate about whether her statement that they should go back to "Poland, Germany ... and America and everywhere else" was anti-Semitic. Paired with her previous treatment of Israel in the opinioneering she did for UPI, I argued the statement was. But, again, room for debate. Not so with (former) CNN anchor Rick Sanchez, whose rant Thursday against Jon Stewart and other Jews who run the media was swiftly met by CNN with a pink slip. Sanchez's comments to radio host Pete Dominick were abjectly racist. If you haven't heard already, Sanchez called Stewart a "bigot" and then said this:
"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."
Not surprising that Jon Stewart has had a little fun with this or that CNN cut ties with its long-time anchor.
It's no secret or mystery or part of a Jewish conspiracy that Jews are vastly overrepresented in the upper echelons of the American media -- both in terms of journalism and entertainment companies. (For centuries in the Old Country, journalism, like law and medicine, were professions that educated Jews tended toward because they were conducive to the transitory lives of a traditionally persecuted people.) As I've written before:
If Jews really worked in media to get out a unified message at the expense of their gentile neighbors, they sure do a poor job.
But pointing that out is not what undid Sanchez. Because that isn't what he did. As almost a non sequitur, Sanchez just had to get off his chest that the Jews were breathing down his back. In the process, he played into one of the most-pervasive canards about Jews since Gutenberg invented his printing press.
A little. I'm more shocked than offended. I'm sure a lot of journalists hold personal opinions that would not be appreciated in polite society. I hope, at the very least, that such opinions stay out of their reporting. Here Sanchez, against whom the greatest criticism was that he's probably a little too caffeinated, went from 0 to 60 in no time.
I like what my former colleague Danielle Berrin, who writes the Hollywood Jew blog, had to say before Sanchez got canned by those Jews who run CNN:
As we've seen in recent months, any insinuation of Jewish media domination explodes across public discourse like Fourth of July fireworks. Even though the notion of domination is quite silly since in today's media world there are more diverse and competing voices than ever before. But let's just say a disproportionate number of Jews hold positions of power in media: What's so terrible? Is it making Jews more Jewish? Is it encouraging mass conversion to Judaism? Is it bringing Israelis and Palestinians any closer to peace?
No: It's bringing you "Mad Men" and "Modern Family", "The Daily Show" and "The Social Network". And it's also given Rick Sanchez a soapbox on one of the most watched news networks in the world. Shame on those Jews.
Sanchez has yet to make any statement. Even his Twitter account has been silent.
It's surprising that after four days Sanchez has felt no need to apologize and try to save a little face. But, really, what could he possibly say?