Rick Sanchez Apologizes; But Why Did the National Association of Hispanic Journalists Say Nothing to Press In Protest?

October 6th, 2010 4:58 PM

TV Newser reports that fired CNN anchor Rick Sanchez has broken his public silence and offered his apologies for calling Jon Stewart a "bigot."

On October 4th, I had a very good conversation with Jon Stewart, and I had the opportunity to apologize for my inartful comments from last week.  I sincerely extend this apology to anyone else whom I may have offended.

As Jon was kind enough to note in his show Monday night, I am very much opposed to hate and intolerance, in any form, and I have frequently spoken out against prejudice. Despite what my tired and mangled words may have implied, they were never intended to suggest any sort of narrow-mindedness  and should never have been made.

Richard Prince of the Maynard Institute found it strange that the National Association of Hispanic Journalists was so quiet (add to that their Facebook page seems more concerned about "net neutrality" in the last few days): 

 "NAHJ isn't commenting on Rick Sanchez's firing. Nor am I," President Michele Salcedo said by e-mail on Sunday.

Asked to explain the decision not to comment, Salcedo did not reply.

Other board members followed suit, despite reassurances that their responses would not be reported as speaking for the organization.

"NAHJ has not made an official statement on this situation regarding Mr. Sanchez's employment status. I don't feel comfortable making a statement when the group has not done so first," said Gustavo Reveles Acosta of the El Paso Times, vice president for print.

Prince noted past NAHJ president Rafael Olmeda of the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel questioned CNN's quick firing on his Facebook page, comparing it to CNN's tolerance of anchorman Lou Dobbs despite liberal lobbying for his removal:

"Rick Sanchez' comments were unprofessional and unwise. Fireable? It's not like he referred to humans as being of another species. It's not like he sat in an anchor's chair for years and spread demonstrable falsehoods about the largest minority in America. People have kept their jobs at CNN and other networks after saying far worse for far longer. Not defending what he said. Just wondering when unwise words warrant swift termination and when they warrant an attack on politically correct thought police."

The matter was also discussed on NPR's Tell Me More on Tuesday, and Olmeda seemed to defend the NAHJ there:

MICHEL MARTIN: Well, I do want to also mention that the National Association of Hispanic Journalists has also declined to comment on this. We've asked if the organization, as a group, has a comment on it. And Richard Prince has also asked, and as an organization, they've declined to comment. Which - and I do wonder what that says.

OLMEDA: Well, my history with the organization - I can answer it as if the question had been posed to me three years ago. And my answer would have been we tend not to weigh in on personnel matters. If an organization fires an employee, we try to stay out of that as much as possible. There - are there reasons that people would expect NAHJ to say something? Sure. But, you know, when it comes to a boss firing an employee, it takes a lot for us to jump in on that.

Actually, three years ago, NAHJ president Olmeda was demanding Dallas Fox affiliate KDFW reinstate reporter Rebecca Aguilar after she accused a local man of being "trigger-happy" after he defended himself against an intruder.