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News Anchor Rick Sanchez Finds Redemption in Speaking Out about Racism in the Media

Updated on September 20, 2013
A microphone can be an important instrument to improve your career, or it could kill it.
A microphone can be an important instrument to improve your career, or it could kill it. | Source

Rick Sanchez has been a victim and beneficiary by speaking out against racism in the national media. On October 1, 2010 Sanchez was fired from CNN as a news anchor for calling host Jon Stewart a bigot. A six-year, high exposure career on cable news was gone because of inflammatory remarks he made during an interview with Pete Dominic on the SiriusXM radio show. Comments made during the interview apparently pushed his buttons. Sanchez took the opportunity to discuss how he felt about racism at his job and in his life.

To be fair, Jon Stewart, host of The Daily Show, had been zinging Rick Sanchez on his show for some time. Specifically, Stewart had been playfully pointing out Sanchez’ on-air mistakes that he made during his CNN prime time show. Apparently, Sanchez didn’t think Stewart’s remarks were funny, and took personal exception. When Dominic asked him a question, Sanchez took the opportunity to essentially have a melt down on air. Forgetting he was listened to by millions of people, he gave his perception of the lack of ethnic fairness in the news media.

He also proceeded to go into a diatribe on Jon Stewart, Jewish people, the executives at CNN, and the “elite northeast establishment liberals” he identified as running the media. According to Sanchez, "These are the people who consider Hispanic journalists as second rate." He verbalized his own efforts working with the glass ceiling.Sanchez, a Cuban-American, also took vehement verbal exception to Pete Dominic’s comment that Jon Stewart and Jewish people are considered minorities.

Clearly, Rick Sanchez had been harboring these bitter feelings for some time. When he finished talking, the damage had been done. He was fired from CNN the next day. He sacrificed his reputation and career by exercising his First Amendment right to free speech. His strong personal feelings made public killed his image as a professional and cost his job. Those tense moments from his lips could have ended his career.

Yet, Rick Sanchez has been able to overcome that incident. Over several months, Sanchez publicly and privately Rick Sanchez apologized for his controversial comments. On his appearance on Good Morning America, he stated to George Stephanopoulos, “I said some things I shouldn’t have said. Not only were they were wrong, they were offensive…. I apologize and it was wrong of me to be so careless and so inartful.”

Since the unfortunate event, Sanchez has been able to regain and maintain employment on cable news. More importantly, he has continued to speak about the lack of diversity in cable news and its bias against minorities. On September 2011, Sanchez began a job as a radio announcer and analyst for Florida international university. He has returned as a columnist on Fox News Latino. He has appeared on the Fox News Channel as a contributor.

The importance of being a professional in spite of deep-seated personal feelings or issues should be acknowledged. A moment of frustration in 2010 changed Rick Sanchez’ career aspirations. To his credit, he took an aggressive approach to acknowledge his mistake and his willingness to work through mainstream channels to change the lack of diversity in the cable media. If Sanchez were not a highly respected anchor, an Emmy winner and at the top echelon of his field, the outcome could have been very different. The Rick Sanchez story is one where publicly speaking out against bias, lack of diversity and racism sometimes ends a career. In his case, it became a learning experience, a chance at redemption, and a new beginning on cable television.

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