Saturday, October 02, 2010

A Few Thoughts on the Sanchez Unpleasantness

MPF wrote this on my Facebook wall:

"Rick Sanchez calls Jon Stewart "a bigot" and says CNN is run by jews"

Please blog about this!

Any excuse to run my mouth! I always try to oblige a request from  M. Following is a repost of my response.


Thanks for the link. I've read a few other posts about this, and so far, I'm not sure I have anything of use to add. (Not that this criterion has stopped me from blogging before, I grant.) I'll say this: I don't care for the sort of bigotry Sanchez displayed in that radio interview, nor do I care for someone who plays the all-too-convenient "I am held back because I am a minority" card, when there is considerable evidence in this specific case to suggest he has for years been demonstrating the validity of the Peter Principle.

I should add that with the exception of Rachel Maddow, I consider cable teevee news … not worth my attention, to put it politely … so up until this thing happened, I thought Rick Sanchez was about as much of a minority as, say, Luis Alvarez. So, okay, let's give Rick Sanchez the benefit of the doubt for a moment, and without accepting his claim that he was being held back due to his ethnicity, at least accept that he is sincere in believing that he has been. If that was the case, then I would say that there are other, better ways he could have dealt with this problem. We have legal mechanisms to address on-the-job discrimination, and I'm confident CNN has their own, in-house mechanisms as well.

The merits and/or sincerity of his claims aside, there's also this: I am kind of a maniac about free speech, and to be so, one has to accept the hard part: free speech means sometimes people will say terrible things.[1] In that light, were it up to me, and I was judging only on this one event, I would not have fired Sanchez. (I probably would suspended him for a bit and made a condition of his return that he apologize sincerely. And perhaps some other things -- counseling, sensitivity training, what have you.) However, I am getting a bit of a sense that this event may have been more of a final straw and/or a convenient excuse. See Steve Benen, for example.

On still another hand, this from John Cole is also worth contemplating.

From that last, I think it is fair to say that some problems of uneven standards exist in the cable teevee news biz, whether or not Sanchez was actually one of those suffering from them. I guess in the end I am sorry he lost his job and sorry he has some poison inside of him. I expect he will get another job, and I hope that he will do something about his inner problems.

Oh, hey, that's almost a blog post by now, isn't it? ;)

Welp, if you see something streaming past your eyes in a little bit and have that odd feeling of deja vu …

Thanks for asking.

[1] More on the hard parts of loving free speech here.


Substance McGravitas said...

I like that he got fired for that. But even without the racism it'd be surprising to get away with trashing your own network as racist - although I'd be more okay with keeping him under those circumstances.

Firing everybody and replacing them all is also an option.

Brendan said...

I didn't really know what to say about the Concern For Our Corporate Image aspect that wouldn't have been obvious, so I left that part aside. (Concerns about corporate image are, as well, rarely in line with what I think they should care about, so it's always a bit of an effort for me, and a distasteful one at that, to try to see it from the suits' perspective.)

I like your closing thought. Not that it'll happen in my lifetime, but it's hard to say, for CNN at least, how that could make them any worse off than they are already.

Ah, well. I guess they're still selling ad slots to other companies who care mostly about aging adults and their concerns, so they'll probably not accept my view that they've got nowhere to go but up.

Ocean said...

Steve Benen's take on it makes a lot of sense. It's likely that he was going to be fired for other reasons and this gave CNN execs a timely excuse or last straw if you want. JCole's view is a bit more cynical, but it's true that we're living in a polarized culture, where there are the holy and the pariahs. Or at least there's a tendency to go in that direction.

Donald Douglas said...

"I guess in the end I am sorry he lost his job and sorry he has some poison inside of him."

Why? Why would you even care if he has any "poison" in him? You already said folks should be able to spew any filth they want according to the First Amendment. And of course, you made no mention of the "poison" inside Pale Scot, and that's because you endorse it and "approve this message" of hate and bigotry. You wouldn't have fired Sanchez because he was a brainless talking head for the progressive reconquista socialist left. Simple as that. And of course, there is no socialist progressive left aligned with the Democratic Party, right? Because us MalKKKin hatemongers are f***ed up in the head, as you always say. Well let's see you f*** this.

Yes ... wait ... I can hear it: The yelping. No! No! There are no socialists in the Democratic Party! AWWWHHHH!!! EVIL MalKKKins are attacking my TV screen ... AWWWHHHH!!!! (That second sound is the hospital wagon pulling up to place you on a strecher with your arms securely tied down so you won't injure yourself at the incommensurability of your ideology denials.)

Brendan said...

Why? Why would you even care if he has any "poison" in him? You already said folks should be able to spew any filth they want according to the First Amendment.

I don't understand why you can't grasp that I could simultaneously believe that people have the right to say what they want, while thinking that some of those things are unpleasant, and here, indicate something to be pitied.

Well, strike that. Of course I can understand why you can't grasp it. You can't grasp anything complex. If it's not an absolutist slogan that can be chanted with no brain power required beyond what's needed to move the tongue or fingers, it's beyond your ken.

And of course, you made no mention of the "poison" inside Pale Scot ...

I registered my distaste for his comment in several places. I do not think, however, one comment from someone I don't know is sufficient evidence to say he has a deep-seated problem. By contrast, Sanchez went on at length, even after being pressed repeatedly on what he had said. There's a significant degree of difference there, in my judgment.

The rest of your comment is not worth the bother to respond to. I will say one thing on a point of style, though: you do not need to elide words like fuck and fucked on this site. I'm pretty sure we all were familiar with those words by about age six, and I do not believe that anyone here is upset by seeing them in plain text.

I do think, however, your use of asterisks instead of the actual letters suggests you might be squeamish about these words. In that case, I'd recommend consulting a thesaurus.

Kevin Robbins (ex-ex-DLB) said...

Brendan, I couldn't find fuck in my thesaurus, so I'm just going to stick with fuck.

I'm a little pissed that Le Donalde is paying all these visits to you and LGM.

As to Sanchez, if CNN is still employing Erick Erickson then I can't imagine anyone saying something stupid enough or irresponsible enough to get fired. I would think it's kind of like Long Beach Community College.

Sorry I missed that Socialist rally. Sucks having to work to support capitalist oppression. BTW, do you suppose LBCC actually makes a profit or are they sucking at the government teat?

Donald Douglas said...

I do not think, however, one comment from someone I don't know is sufficient evidence to say he has a deep-seated problem."

Of course you don't, especially when you endorse those very thoughts. Frankly, bigotry is bigotry. Pale Scot would no sooner get away with a slur like that than Rick Sanchez would in slurring the Jews --- in the real world, that is, beyond your hate-cubby of a blog. Interesting though is that if Sanchez posted those very thoughts right here on your blog you'd be down with that, because you're an inauthentic moral disgrace, Brendan. You have no standing to even write about these issues, because you carve out bigotry and non-bigoty exceptions for friends and enemies. Kinda like how there's NO COMMIES in the Democrat Party, right big boy? Because you JUST KNOW IT All, according to your neatly-packaged world view of anti-MalKKKin demonology. And no, not squeamish about how fucking stupid your evasions and prevarications make you look. I just like how they (***) make stuff stick out.

But, now that you're pinned on the issues I must admit you don't sound quite as glib as is your normal wont. Sometimes even religion doesn't have all the answers, especially that of the Marxist faith.

Brendan said...

Brendan, I couldn't find fuck in my thesaurus, so I'm just going to stick with fuck.

Get a better fucking thesaurus.

I'm a little pissed that Le Donalde is paying all these visits to you and LGM.

I am sorry. I will ask: Donalde: please spend more time at American Niiiiihilist.

(He won't listen. He never listens. Too busy shouting about commies or some shit.)

As to Sanchez, if CNN is still employing Erick Erickson then I can't imagine anyone saying something stupid enough or irresponsible enough to get fired.

All right, being serious now.

First point: the more I think about this, the more I think Sanchez wasn't fired for this episode alone. If you listen to the audio (Mediaite link from main post repeated), I think it is reasonable to say he was not as overtly anti-Semitic as some reports have had it. (Not that his own rabbit ears give him any ground to stand on, to be sure.) I think it is even easier to imagine, from everything else he says in that interview, that he is not a particularly good guy to be around. So, I think it's possible certain of his bosses were just waiting for a moment like this.

I'll state once again that I would not have fired him for this event, in and of itself. That may be coloring my suspicions about the "final straw" hypothesis somewhat.

Second point: As much as I loathe Erick Erickson, and as much as I deplore CNN for rewarding him with money and on-air time, I don't think it's legitimate to compare him and Sanchez. Erickson is an occasional commentator -- he's always a guest on someone else's show, where Sanchez is much more significant/prominent/the face of the company, call it what you will.

Also, it is obvious that the reason Erickson got the gig is exactly because of his act. Call him a right-wing blowhard or a representative of Teh Movement Conservatives or Teabagger Second-in-Command or whatever you like, the point is that he was hired precisely to have someone like him on the air. For "fairness," for entertainment, because making people outraged at your show gets some of them to tune in more regularly, etc. So no one really holds Erickson to the same set of standards, any more than, say, we judge pitchers by how well they can hit or power hitters on how neat their handwriting is.

I will of course agree that wingnuts can say all manner of things on the air and in the papers and not get booted that, if the equivalent was said by a strident liberal, simply would not be tolerated. This is not unique to CNN by any means. It is characteristic of the entire MSM. Has been all of my life.

This is not to say we shouldn't keep pushing back against it, but we also have to be realistic about what we hope to achieve in the near term.

P.S. Your closing paragraph was hilarious.

P.P.S. What's with the ex-ex? Did you get outed, or self-out? (Sorry if you wrote about this elsewhere, and I missed it.)

repsac3 said...

Dr Douglas, if you see no difference between Brendan's blog and CNN, you have far bigger fish that you ought to consider frying, before they rot.

If Sanchez posted his anti-jew rant on one of my blogs, or Pale Scott had offered his bit of wissdumb there, or had you posted your strange little rant about the Black Heritage Trail in Boston on my blog, rather than Octo's, I would've left the comment posted. (In case you forgot that one: “Black heritage. Whoo hoo! That is teh awesome. I goin' be try'n escpe from de massa's house to be goin' to dis heah black her'tge trail. Y'sm sir!") People deserve to see assholes acting like assholes. (You obviously agree with me, because you post these things on your own blog, do you not? Pale Scot's post is quoted at American Power for all to see, right? And you have a link to the Sanchez audio? So what makes you any better, Dr Douglas? The answer you're looking for is nothing. If posting bigotry is wrong, than posting bigotry is wrong... unless you do it, and then it's a-ok.)

We don't invite bigots and other fools to our blogs, but when they come and say something nasty, we leave it posted so that everyone can see their bigotry or meanness for themselves.

I'm sorry you remain unwilling to accept that--while posting the very same vile bigotry on your own site, oddly enough ("evil, except when *I* do it" seems to be your golden rule, in this regard)--but like it or don't, that's just the way it is... Our readers are big boys and girls, and they can figure out who deserves blame, and who doesn't... (Well, most of 'em, anyway. Your frequent presence of late is proving to be the exception to the rule.)

repsac3 said...

There's one socialist (Democratic Socialist) in the democratic party, and even he's not a Stalinist. The fact that you cannot tell the difference between Josef Stalin and Pete Seeger makes you a pitiful boy, and yeah, a bad political scientist, besides.

Kevin Robbins (ex-ex-DLB) said...

Brendan, in all fairness I have to say that Le Donalde is really at his most hilarious wingnutty best at your blog and LGM. So, we can't really get too upset about the short journey over here. I loved "progressive reconquista socialist left." I am a bit concerned it might be racist on his part since Sanchez is Cuban. I guess that would be a bit of Wrong Way Corrigan mixed in.

As to the ex ex, I got tired of aliases and decided to just go with the name my sainted parents, who BTW loved Pete Seeger and the rest of the Weavers, gave me. But then, they were simple folk and didn't know he was as evil as the genocidal lunatic Stalin.

Brendan said...


Nice catch on the "reconquista" bit. As with his posts on Obama that you, repsac3, and colleagues have documented, and no matter how many times he yells YORE TEH REEL RASIST!!!1! at me, La Donalde just can't stop his own inner poison from leaking out, can he?

Good on you for going with your AFK name. While I have changed my mind considerably and now accept pseudonymous posting as fully legitimate, there is still a part of me that likes to see people signing the names they are known by elsewhere to their words.