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Insider Reacts to Former CNN Anchor Rick Sanchez Firing for Controversial Comments

As we reported on Friday, CNN abruptly fired afternoon anchor Rick Sanchez.

During a 20-minute satellite radio interview on Thursday, Sanchez made derogatory comments about Jews, his former employers and The Daily Show host Jon Stewart.

One CNN insider tells FishbowlNY, “I don’t think anybody who heard that audio clip could have a positive reaction to it.” 

The insider believes anyone who listened to the interview knew that Sanchez was going to have to deal with the consequences.

Long before Friday, though, there was a report on politico.com that indicated many staffers were apparently not Sanchez supporters.

Prior to the start of John King’s new evening show in January 2010, the report states that 200 employees at the Washington bureau were asked if they respect Sanchez or Wolf Blitzer, host of The Situation Room, as a journalist. 

Nearly all in attendance raised their hands for Blitzer, while politico.com reported at the time that only a select few gave similar support for the Rick’s List host.

Stewart has his first comment to the Sanchez firing after the jump.

Last week’s downfall for Sanchez centered on him referring to Stewart as “bigot” in a satellite radio interview with Pete Dominick.

Sanchez continued, “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 are an oppressed minority? Yeah.”

Stewart made his first public comments on Saturday, hosting a charity event for Comedy Central.

The comic, seeking people to donate for autistic children, said: “If you dented a car, $50. If you cheated on something to get ahead, $500. And if you went on radio and said Jews run the media, in that case you better hold onto your money.”

The Sanchez firing came on the heels of Ken Jautz replacing ousted president Jon Klein.

“With the change in upper management at CNN, a week before, I think everybody at CNN is wondering what the future holds for them,” the insider says.

In July, upper management terminated Octavia Nasr, CNN’s senior Middle East editor, after 20 years with the cable news channel. You may recall, she tweeted about a Hezbollah leader’s death. Nasr said she was “sad to hear” of his passing, and he was one of the Hezbollah giants “I respect a lot.”

Unlike Sanchez, she had an opportunity to apologize. Two days later on her blog, Nasr called her tweet “an error in judgment.”

However, the damage was not repairable in the company’s mind.  

“CNN takes very seriously its unbiased approach to news coverage, and anything that can suggest a particular news anchor or reporter has a bias goes against that over-arching mantra,” the insider says.

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