NEW YORK (The Blaze/AP) — Jon Stewart gleefully struck back Monday night at the former CNN host who was fired after calling him a bigot.
In his opening spot on "The Daily Show," Stewart told his Comedy Central audience that, after taping last Thursday's edition, he had heard Rick Sanchez interviewed on a radio program.
"I think Jon Stewart's a bigot," Sanchez was heard declaring in the taped replay.
"Omigod!" Stewart glowed from his anchor desk. "Rick Sanchez knows my name!"
Stewart replayed another excerpt from the radio interview where Sanchez sneered, "I'm so glad that (Stewart) grew up in a suburban middle-class New Jersey home with everything that you could ever imagine."
Grinning slyly, Stewart said Sanchez "really nailed what it was like growing up in central Jersey in the early '70s, the fortunate son of a single mother in the education field."
Then, after playing back the portion of the interview where Sanchez questioned whether Jews should be considered an oppressed minority, Stewart, who is Jewish, acknowledged that had made him angry. He was angry, he explained, because "The Daily Show," which doesn't tape on Fridays, couldn't make sport of Sanchez's outbursts until Monday — "and there's no way this cat survives the weekend at CNN."
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
Stewart was right, of course. By Friday afternoon, CNN had announced Sanchez was "no longer with the company."
Sanchez, who was born in Cuba and had worked at CNN since 2004, was host of the two-hour "Rick's List" on CNN's afternoon lineup. He had done a prime-time version of that show in recent months but lost that time slot as CNN prepared to launch a new show featuring former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer and columnist Kathleen Parker. It premiered Monday.
Several times in the past, Stewart had poked fun on the air at Sanchez and what Stewart called "his extremely pokeable show."
Another poke on Monday: Stewart played cleverly edited clips of Steve Carell as foolish boss Michael Scott from "The Office" interspersed with strikingly similar real-life clips of Sanchez chatting up CNN co-workers.
"Carell is leaving 'The Office' (after this season), NBC is looking to replace him," trilled Stewart. "Sanchez is available!"
However, Stewart ended the Sanchez segment by suggesting that the media may have over-hyped the incident. “If CNN got rid of Rick Sanchez because they didn’t like his show, fine -- we weren’t that crazy about it either,” said Stewart. But for "Jew baiting?" “I’m not even sure Sanchez believes what he’s saying.” Stewart then played a clip of Sanchez calling out a "real" bigot.
"Rick Sanchez, consider yourself unbusted!" Stewart yelled.
Longtime newsman Bernard Goldberg agrees. Appearing on last night's "O'Reilly Factor," he said Sanchez became merely expendable after the departure of CNN president Jon Klein. Speaking as “a charter member of God’s chosen people,” Goldberg told O'Reilly, “I don’t think he should’ve been fired… nobody gets fired in television unless management wants them fired for some other reason anyway.
According to a report from Mediaite, Sanchez has apologized to Stewart. Sanchez's wife posted the following message on her Facebook profile:
The Associated Press contributed to this report.