CNN daytime anchor Rick Sanchez was fired from the network following offensive remarks he made toward Daily Show host Jon Stewart and CNN executives while appearing Thursday on Stand Up!, a satellite radio show hosted by Pete Dominick. Sanchez openly called Stewart a “bigot”and also stated that “everybody that runs CNN is a lot like Stewart.”
Friday morning, audio clips of Sanchez’s remarks circulated online causing controversy and uproar that eventually led to his dismissal from CNN marking the first “high-profile” firing by network head Ken Jautz. Some speculation continues to circulate suggesting that Sanchez’s dismissal was simply a scare tactic that Jautz used to make his mark and make an example of the anchorman.
Sanchez serves as a prime example of crisis management in full force. Following Sanchez’s comments, CNN wasted little time giving him the boot making it known that they refused to be ridiculed by anyone on their payroll. The comments Sanchez made were not congruent with the messaging that the network wishes to portray. News networks are meant to be synonymous with truth and objectivity. The remarks that Sanchez made were anything but. As an employee, Sanchez is a direct reflection of the CNN brand. Accordingly, it is unacceptable for him to blatantly air his opinion when he makes his living as someone who is meant to remain fair and objective at all times. If CNN had allowed him to remain on its staff, they would be sending the message to America that they support biased, not to mention offensive, reporting personalities.
On the flip side, however, some are saying that the firing of Sanchez was simply unjustifiable. It has been suggested by bloggers that Sanchez was put into a corner by Dominick and was responding the only way he knew how. Dominick was perhaps probing Sanchez’s response. Additionally, it is somewhat suspect that Sanchez was fired based on comments that included a CNN mention. Often times, TV personalities make offensive and outrageous comments yet they are not fired. It is possible that Sanchez would have been able to keep his position if he would have left a direct reference to CNN executives out of his commentary?
Do you feel CNN was justified in dismissing Sanchez? Would he have gotten the boot had he not directly mentioned CNN? Is this effective crisis management at work?