Rick Sanchez delivered another mea culpa, this time on ABC's Good Morning America, for comments he made about Jon Stewart, CNN, and Jewish individuals who have chosen to pursue a career in media. "I screwed up, George," Sanchez told host George Stephanopoulos. Sanchez, who was fired the day after his ill-advised radio interview, apologized for scapegoating the comedian, saying "I went in there with a chip on my shoulder; I was a little bit angry." Sanchez said his issue was actually with inequality in media, pointing out that there isn't a single Hispanic, African-American, or Asian-American hosting a cable newscast in prime time. Sanchez, whose show Rick's List was on from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., isn't the only one to point this out. The National Association of Black Journalists noted the same thing in June after Eliot Spitzer was hired to fill the 8 p.m. slot.
"I externalized the problem and put it on Jon Stewart's shoulders. I was wrong to do that. When I called Jon Monday and said, 'Why do you always pick on me?' And he said, 'You're the one I like.' The guy's been so good ... I learned later that Jon Stewart is the classiest guy in the world."
Stewart took the high road when he discussed Sanchez's comments on his show (not without a well-timed "dirty Sanchez" reference, of course). In the segment, Stewart alluded to the fact that Sanchez knew his days at CNN were numbered in the wake of president Jon Klein's dismissal, and that when Sanchez wasn't speaking under pressure, his views were much more tolerant. The Daily Show host also downplayed Sanchez's comments as adequate cause for dismissal. (The quality of his show, said Stewart, was another matter.)
When Stephanopolous asked where Sanchez's self-described "chip on his shoulder" stemmed from, Sanchez held up his book, Conventional Idiocy (yes, it's an unfortunate title), and told a story about helping his father deliver furniture to a woman in Boca Raton. Young Sanchez asked for a glass of water, but the woman said he would have to drink outside from the hose. That kind of incident, especially at a young age, can leave an indelible mark, but shouldn't it make you less likely to foist the public's worst stereotype on an entire group of people?