This post originally appeared at No More Mister Nice Blog.
I think I understand where CNN's Rick Sanchez is coming from -- I didn't grow up with a lot of money and my parents never went past high school, and even though I got a degree from a fancy-schmancy Ivy League school, then wound up working media jobs (albeit unglamorous ones), I still worry about gaffes -- verbal, sartorial, cutlery-based, whatever -- that might "prove" I don't deserve to be in the presence of my betters.
Sanchez clearly feels the same way -- though what the hell this has to do with Jon Stewart's Jewishness, I don't know.
Sanchez, if you don't know, went on the satellite radio show of Pete Dominick and railed against Stewart and others in the media
he feels are harmful to his career. Sanchez is obviously extremely sensitive about gaffes. He said of Stewart and his colleagues:
Here's what they do. This is the game they play. "I just picked on Fox News, because they just had a bold-faced [sic] lie about something -- damnit, that means I gotta find something on CNN. Oh, I know… wait, hold on, let me find, oh that Rick Sanchez, that little Puerto Rican guy. I'll make fun of him. Do you have anything." "Uh, yeah, last week, he mispronounced the word indutably or whatever." "Yeah, that's it, find me that and we'll do a whole 4-minute segment on how he mispronounced the word arithmetic."
So Sanchez (who's actually Cuban-American, and who reminded listeners at least twice on the show that he grew up not speaking English) is clearly sensitive about his command of the language. On the one hand, I get that. On the other hand, he's gone into a field that requires an ability to speak well. If you grew up poor and without a real bat or baseball, you still have to be able to hit a real ball if you want to get called up to the big leagues.
Sanchez's anger against Stewart is class-based, and, again, he focuses on speech, among other issues:
Anybody who's different than you are, anybody who's not form your frame of reference; anybody who doesn't look and sound exactly like the people that you sound [like] and grew up with.
After Sanchez said this, the host of the show said that Stewart should understand ethnic prejudice because he's Jewish. Sanchez scoffed at that notion, and lashed out in a way that could destroy his career:
Very powerless people… [snickers] He's such a minority, I mean, you know [sarcastically]… 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? Yeah. [sarcastically]
The notion that Stewart singles out Sanchez's gaffes is nuts, because Stewart attacks the button-nosed Botoxed blonds of Fox (male and female) far more than he attacks Sanchez. If Sanchez thinks he's singled out for especially poor treatment, it's clearly because this insecurity eats away at him and distorts his reading of reality. If he thinks he's
singled out by Stewart, he should talk to Megyn Kelly or Steve Doocy, whom Stewart absolutely hammers
once or twice a week. But none of that justifies Sanchez's anti-Semitism in any way.
Sanchez suggests in the interview that his chances at career advancement are limited:
First, Sanchez started out expressing an anecdote from his own experience, when someone who was "top brass" at CNN told Sanchez to his face that he saw Sanchez as "more as John Quinones," referring to the Hispanic ABC News reporter. Sanchez's example was an illustration that the problem of racism in the media business goes further than many expect, enveloping "not just the Right," but also "elite, Northeast establishment liberals" that "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."
But how do you get from this to Jon Stewart? I don't think I've even known Stewart to make fun of John Quinones. Or Soledad O'Brien (well, maybe once). Or Elizabeth Vargas. (Though maybe that's because her husband is Jewish!
Maybe Stewart makes fun of Sanchez because, well, he thinks Sanchez himself is funny, as an individual.
Though I think Stewart would have considered it even funnier if someone had tasered
This rant reminds me a bit of Peggy Noonan's old argument that she went from salt-of-the-earth Kennedy fan to right-winger because the snooty attitudes of well-heeled liberals offended her in her college years -- as if ideas become bad because you don't like the people who believe in them. She's been playing that class card for a while -- even now, as a well-heeled pundit herself -- but at least she never went this far.