Miami homeboy Rick Sanchez, who often comes in for a beating on Jon Stewart's Comedy Central show, fired back Thursday -- but his ammo may have exploded in his face. Sanchez was appearing on comedian and sometimes-CNN-contributor Pete Dominick's XM Sirius Radio show when the subject turned to racism in the news business. Sanchez, expressing some irritation at being lumped in with other Hispanic TV journalists by one of his own bosses at CNN, said that racist attitudes aren't necessarily rooted on the political right but also extend to “elite, Northeast establishment liberals.”
“Deep down, when they look at a guy like me, they see a guy automatically who belongs in the second tier, and not the top tier.” Sanchez said. Then he added: “I think to some extent Jon Stewart and [Stephen] Colbert are the same way. I think Jon Stewart’s a bigot.“
How's that? asked the puzzled Dominick. "I think he looks at the world through, his mom, who was a school teacher, and his dad, who was a physicist or something like that," replied Sanchez, speaking of Stewart. "Great, I’m so happy that he grew up in a suburban middle class New Jersey home with everything you could ever imagine."
“What group is he bigoted towards?” pressed Dominick.
“Everybody else who’s not like him. Look at his show, I mean, what does he surround himself with?” said Sanchez. When Dominick seemed surprised that Sanchez could level a charge of bigotry against Jews, who themselves have been subjected to discrimination, Sanchez dismissed the idea.
"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?" Sanchez said, then added with sarcastic emphasis: "Yeah."
You can read more of the exchange and listen to some audio clips on Dominick's website while we wait to see how CNN reacts to all this. Prediction: roughly. The network fired a news editor this summer for sending out a sympathetic Twitter message about the death of a Hezbollah official. And though everybody will claim this has nothing to do with it, it's not going to help Sanchez that Nielsen numbers released earlier this week showed that his 8 p.m. show had the smallest quarterly ratings on CNN since 2001.
UPDATE, 6 P.M.: Sanchez didn't appear on his show Friday afternoon. Brooke Baldwin, who often fills in for him, was in the anchor chair.