Ousted CNN anchor Rick Sanchez broke his silence on Wednesday about his firing, saying he had apologized to late-night comedian Jon Stewart “for my inartful comments from last week.”
Those comments, made in an interview for a satellite radio show, excoriated Stewart for hailing from a middle-class background that Sanchez said made Stewart unable to “relate to a guy like me.” Sanchez went on to answer a question about whether Stewart, as a Jew, should also be considered a member of an oppressed minority group.
The answer ricocheted first around the Internet and then in all other corners of the media. It was widely reported, inaccurately, that Sanchez said Jews “control” the news media, and accordingly, that his words were therefore anti-Semitic.
The fateful comment was, “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.’ “
It was the rare news organization that addressed the question of whether Jews are disproportionately represented at the top of media organizations, and rarer still, what difference it would make if they were.
“On October 4th, I had a very good conversation with Jon Stewart, and I had the opportunity to apologize for my inartful comments from last week. I sincerely extend this apology to anyone else whom I may have offended,” Sanchez said in his statement, released through a South Florida publicist.
“As Jon was kind enough to note in his show Monday night, I am very much opposed to hate and intolerance, in any form, and I have frequently spoken out against prejudice. Despite what my tired and mangled words may have implied, they were never intended to suggest any sort of narrow-mindedness and should never have been made.”
He went on to praise CNN.