A night after CNN host Rick Sanchez decided to try to create a scandal over John McCain's failure to rebuke a supporter who referred to Hillary Clinton as a “bitch,” Sanchez on Wednesday declared McCain “should have distanced himself” from the remark and, since he didn't, the incident was newsworthy; McCain castigated CNN for its “biased reporting” and CNN's own media critic, Howard Kurtz agreed “his campaign has a point. That little incident was pretty badly hyped by Rick Sanchez.”
ABC got into the hype too as anchor Charles Gibson introduced a story on “another bit of controversy in the presidential race” which “involves the reaction of Senator John McCain when a lady at a town meeting asked him a question that contained a derogatory reference to Hillary Clinton.”
On CNN's The Situation Room, Brian Todd informed viewers how on “Tuesday evening CNN anchor Rick Sanchez takes about six minutes at the very top of his prime time show, Out in the Open, raising questions about why Senator McCain didn't immediately chastise the woman for insulting Mrs. Clinton like that.” Later, on Out in the Open, Sanchez whined about how in criticizing CNN's news judgment, McCain is “shooting the messenger, blaming me personally and CNN for his present plight.” Sanchez laid bare his agenda as he excoriated McCain for not acting as Sanchez wanted: “His staff has put out several statements today. None of them offers an apology to women in general or to Hillary Clinton specifically.”
Setting up the video, Sanchez haughtily intoned: “You're going to hear a McCain supporter. She refers to Hillary Clinton using really what is a horrible word that is used to do nothing but demean women. Well, at the time, it was a supporter who said that. It wasn't until later on, when we watched the whole tape, which is what you're about to see, that you see McCain's reaction, or lack thereof, that we decided that this is both relevant and newsworthy, and important information to this campaign.” An older woman at an event in South Carolina had asked: “How do we beat the bitch?” An appalled Sanchez complained: “He says 'that's an excellent question,' after somebody refers to Hillary Clinton as a B-word which rhymes with witch.”
CNN has highlighted the Media Matters-driven spin on Bill O’Reilly’s race remarks on his radio program since the beginning of the week, and has specifically used "Out in the Open" program, hosted by Rick Sanchez, to carry the water on the subject Monday through Friday of last week.
"Out in the Open" first did a segment on the O’Reilly issue on Monday, at the bottom of the 8 pm Eastern hour. Sanchez played select audio clips from O’Reilly’s radio show, outside of the greater context of the entire hour that O’Reilly discussed race. He also read some of the quotes from a transcript of the radio broadcast. CNN contributor and O’Reilly critic Roland Martin appeared unopposed during the segment, which lasted about six minutes. During the segment, Martin, in his attack on O’Reilly, played-up the parts from O’Reilly’s remarks that both Media Matters and Sanchez chose to highlight.
Less than a half-hour after Kiran Chetry and Roland Martin speculated whether O’Reilly’s recent comments on race would be the next "Imus Moment," the cast of MSNBC’s "Morning Joe" mocked the Fox News host. Co-host Mika Brzezinski put on her best Meryl Streep imitation after a clip of O’Reilly’s comments were played. "Oh, my God.... Wow... That's attractive," and also made an audible Al Gore-style sigh. Guest host Willie Geist went further. "Also, using the term 'blacks.’ I don't think anybody's said that since like 1973." Come again?
Brzezinski, Geist, and host Joe Scarborough discussed O’Reilly at the top of the 8 am Eastern hour on Tuesday’s "Morning Joe." While the cast played the O’Reilly clip for the first time, a caption spun O’Reilly’s words: "O’Reilly Shocked That Harlem Restaurant is ‘Normal’ (see above picture). The three were so "overwhelmed" by the clip that they played it again.