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CNN sends message with Sanchez firing

Reporter made insensitive remarks on 'Stand'

The firing of Rick Sanchez is the first high-profile dismissal of Ken Jautz’s tenure as head of CNN, and appears to rep a strict message to talent at the cable net: stay in line, or go elsewhere. It may also indicate that Sanchez was on his way out already – similar gaffes in the past have been amended by a public apology.

Sanchez was axed after making several insensitive remarks to interviewer Pete Dominick about “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart and his bosses at CNN.

On Thursday, Sanchez called Stewart a “bigot” on Dominick’s satellite radio show “Stand Up!”, where he was promoting his new book “Conventional Idiocy” on Thursday. He capped his comments off by saying that “everybody who runs CNN” and “a lot of people who run all the other networks” were “a lot like Stewart” — Jewish, presumably.

Sanchez found himself out of a job by Friday afternoon, when the cabler issued a statement reprinted here in its entirety: “Rick Sanchez is no longer with the company. We thank Rick for his years of service and we wish him well.” CNN says it will broadcast “CNN Newsroom” from 3-5 p.m.

for the foreseeable future. Sanchez ended his tenure as interim prime-time anchor on Wednesday after two months.

Both Comedy Central and the Daily Show declined official comment, though Stewart did make a crack about the incident at an autism benefit comedy show in New York on Saturday evening. “All he has to do is apologize to us, and we’ll hire him back,” Stewart quipped.

Apparently it was the constant teasing that got to Sanchez, who believed his gaffes made him a fixture on “The Daily Show” because he’s Hispanic (Sanchez is Cuban-born). “Make fun of me, but I’m a complex human being!” Sanchez said on Dominick’s show.”I’m not a moron!”

Sanchez took back the “bigot” remark later in the broadcast, saying that “prejudicial” would have been a better description of Stewart.

Frequent CNN contributor Dominick, who used to work as Stewart’s warm-up act on “The Daily Show,” began his five-week gig at the Turner news net on Saturday – a half-hour weekly wrap-up segment called “What the Week” that airs during “CNN Newsroom.”

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