The self-immolation of former CNN anchor Rick Sanchez, fired October 1 after delivering a lengthy anti-Semitic rant during a radio interview, offers a depressing reminder of how terribly routine the public maligning of Jews has become in 21st-century America.
Perhaps it should not shock us that an educated individual in this day and age can still believe that Jews exercise some sort of malign, collective control over much of the media, as Sanchez asserted September 30 on Sirius Satellite Radio. Even so, it is alarming to learn that a mainstream network news anchor thinks it is acceptable to say so on the air. It is chilling, and chastening, to hear him laugh in mocking disbelief at the notion that Jews could be called a vulnerable minority. Something has changed.
As recently as a decade ago, open talk of Jewish conspiracies was understood to be taboo in polite society. In the perilous world of post-9/11 America, however, it is commonplace to hear ex-presidents and college deans rail defiantly against a shadowy, all-powerful Israel lobby that subverts the national interest. At some point, the line between policy critique and conspiracy-mongering disappears. Sanchez reached that point.
Sanchez’s defenders claim he fell victim to the bullying of this same powerful Jewish cabal. They claim the Jewish lobby stifles all criticism of itself, while bigots of every other stripe are permitted to rant away undisturbed. This would come as a surprise to Don Imus, the radio jock whose national program was canceled in 2007 after he insulted an all-black girls’ basketball team.
Sunday, October 10, 2010
The Forward has an editorial on the recent Rick Sanchez fiasco.