The common wisdom is that Rick Sanchez was fired because he made anti-semitic remarks. That's an understandable assumption, but it's also untrue. Sanchez was fired because he attacked a celebrity who is more liberal and more popular than he is. That he did it with racial overtones made it easy for CNN to pull the plug on him. But his real crime was that he had become an embarrassment, from a liberal perspective, and that's the only perspective in the media that counts.
Let's imagine that Rick Sanchez was a trendy liberal comedian with his own influential show and Jon Stewart was another CNN talking head. If Rick Sanchez had said the same thing about the Jews, it would have been a laugh line. Sanchez would have kept his job. Stewart would have been at risk of losing his, despite being the goat. If you have trouble imagining this scenario, imagine Stephen Colbert delivering the same line and getting fired for it. It wouldn't happen, and it couldn't happen. Because this isn't about Jews, it's about liberals controlling the license to be bigots.
Christopher Hitchens in Slate defended Sanchez's remarks, while misrepresenting them, then defended DeGucht's remarks about Jews... and called for Sanchez's reinstatement. This isn't a major surprise, as Hitchens has a well-known 'tic' when it comes to the Jews, and has been a defender and supposed friend of David Irving. But Hitchens has not been let go from Slate. There's no condemnation descending on him from all quarters. Because Hitchens clouted Jews in general, but he didn't go after Jon Stewart specifically.
And in the media, the firing of Rick Sanchez was unaccompanied by the defensive reactions to the termination of Octavia Nasr or the disgrace of Helen Thomas. There was very little ambiguity in the reporting. Sanchez was bad, he had to go. But Sanchez's remarks were certainly not unique. Oliver Stone said much worse things not too long ago, suggesting that the "Jewish dominated media" had exaggerated the Holocaust. And that didn't get him fired off any projects or otherwise inconvenienced. What's the difference between Oliver Stone and Rick Sanchez? Stone's liberal credentials are unimpeachable.
Let's take a broader perspective here. When Bill Clinton defended Byrd's KKK membership, there was no outcry except from conservatives. No one cared. Yet during the primaries, Bill Clinton was being labeled as a racist for accusing Obama of playing the "race card". Was that remark somehow worse than defending membership in an organization based on racism? Of course it wasn't. But it's not about the actual racism, but about who is being targeted.
During the primaries, Clinton was attacking Obama, the liberal messiah. Which meant any thing he said got spun as racist. But at Byrd's funeral, Clinton was providing cover for a KKK member who also happened to be a respected member of the Democratic party. It wasn't about the racism. It was never about the racism. Because it's not about some hard and fast set of principles. It all comes down to how liberal you are.
Racial taunts directed at Michael Steele are cool. But even more criticisms of Obama are not okay. The difference isn't race. Both are black men. The difference is liberalism.
Biden and Hillary Clinton got a pass on racist remarks about Indians. George Allen got lynched for an ambiguous remark that might be a racial slur in some other language that he supposedly might have learned from his mother at some point after WW2. There's no problem with being racist. There's a problem with being racist, without having the right liberal credentials.
Liberal media personalities routinely make racist and sexist remarks all the time. And they get away with it. They only get in trouble when they target someone liberal than them. Or when their own liberal creds are wanting.
Rick Sanchez's mistake was overestimating his place in the liberal ecosystem. He assumed that because he blasted the Tea Party movement and called Hispanics who worked for FOX News, sellouts-- that he had the same status as Stewart. That was an egotistical mistake, and one he paid for badly. Stewart outdraws Sanchez as a liberal opinionmaker by a factor of 10 to 1. Picking between Sanchez and Stewart was a no-brainer for CNN. Not because Sanchez was too bigoted, but because he wasn't liberal enough.
It's not about the Jews, it's about liberalism. Had Sanchez gone after Martin Peretz of the New Republic, who has been criticizing Obama, he would have been fine. Had he claimed that Jews got America into the War in Iraq, he would have been expressing a common sentiment among many liberals, uttered by congressmen like Jim Moran. He had plenty of victims to choose from, but instead he picked someone with a higher liberal status than him. And so he got creamed.
This doesn't just go for Jews or African-Americans, it goes for women and gays and any other minority group. In the liberal narrative, Clarence Thomas' hearings were a scene of feminist heroism. But when multiple women came forward to accuse Bill Clinton of everything from sexual harassment to attempted rape-- then it was just a witchhunt by bluenose conservatives who hate people who like to have a good time. Like Ted Kennedy, who had such a good time that one of his female passengers never came back from it. But that's okay. Because, as some liberal columnists informed us on Kennedy's passing, Mary Jo would probably have agreed to die, if she had known how much Ted Kennedy would go on to do for women.
It's possible to recite these double standards ad nauseam, but we're all familiar with them. And they're not really the point. This is.
Liberalism is a form of privilege. It means that you belong to the political and cultural elite. It means you're one of the gang. And it comes with its perks. One of those perks is the power to define what behavior is culturally acceptable, and what isn't. By pretending to be warriors against racism, Liberals have been able to define what racism is, and what it isn't. And what it is, is things that people less liberal than them say. And what it isn't, is things that they or people more liberal than them say.
Rick Sanchez falsely attributed Jon Stewart's sense of privilege to Jewishness, rather than to liberalism. And as stupid as that was, it was the smarter thing to do. Rick Sanchez was fired, but he's still employable. Had he talked about liberal control of the media, the way Bernard Goldberg has on any major news network, outside of FOX News.
The media isn't run by the Jews, it's run by liberals. Some of whom happen to be Jewish, some of whom happen to be Catholic, and none of whom have very much use for religion, traditional values or America itself. Like every elite, joining requires adopting a new identity, and giving up old allegiances. Those who do not, either stay quiet or wash out. And like every elite, it has a pecking order. It has rules for what you can and can't do. Rick Sanchez broke those rules by taking aim at a man who had become a liberal icon, and doing it in a way that embarrassed CNN. His crime wasn't bigotry, it was illiberalism. And like most people who break the unspoken code of their particular jungle, and don't have the status to back it up, he got kicked to the curb.
Because as liberal as Rick Sanchez was, when it came to a showdown with Jon Stewart, he just wasn't liberal enough.