The gaggle of Latin American and Hispanic journalists who came on the Anti-Defamation League trip to Israel that ended this week included the bombastic former CNN anchor Rick Sanchez.
Cuban-born Sanchez, 53, acquired his “former” tag just over a year ago after calling Jon Stewart, the Jewish host of the hugely popular satirical news program, The Daily Show, a bigot in a live radio show. He followed that up with the claim 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.”
ADL brings Latino journalists to Israel
These comments, unsurprisingly, unleashed something of a firestorm against Sanchez, with many pundits and organizations, including the ADL calling his comments anti-Semitic for implying that Jews run the US media.
Speaking with The Jerusalem Post this week, Sanchez, not for the first time, apologized for the incident but insisted that he wasn’t trying to imply anything about Jewish influence in the media.
“I wish people had taken the time to understand the context of what I was saying. Throughout the entire interview we were discussing my views on the liberal, Northeast elite’s dominance in the media. When I said, ‘People like Stewart,’ it’s obvious that I was referring to his political agenda and what I see as the exclusion of Hispanics and other minorities from senior media roles. I didn’t even know Stewart was Jewish until the radio host mentioned it.”
Sanchez subsequently called Stewart to apologize, did several mea culpas on TV, and basically underwent a number of months of self-imposed anti- Semitism rehab under the auspices of ADL, Abe Foxman and Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, to name but a few.
Finally, last week, Sanchez made a bid for ultimate salvation and participated in the ADL-sponsored pilgrimage to Jerusalem and the Land of Israel.
Was all this necessary? It seems much more likely that instead of
holding the kind of insidious, villainous anti-Jewish prejudices that he
was accused of, Sanchez is simply extremely prone to putting his foot
in his mouth. Previous gaffes include him expressing surprise that there
are volcanoes in Iceland because of how cold the country is,
deprecating the metric system, and referring to Barack Obama as the
And it is his general buffoonery that
led Stewart to take numerous comedic pot shots at Sanchez on The Daily
Show, which most likely triggered Sanchez’s outburst in the first place.