Rick Sanchez Blasts Fox News, But Glosses Over CNN's Own Bias

Rick Sanchez, CNN Anchor | NewsBusters.orgOn Friday’s Newsroom, CNN’s Rick Sanchez correctly pointed out that a full-page color ad by the Fox News Channel incorrectly claimed that his network missed the massive September 12 Tea Party rally in Washington, DC, but went on to paper over CNN’s own double-standard on covering left-wing protests versus conservative protests. Sanchez also accused Fox News of trying to “promote” the Tea Parties.

During the segment, which began 13 minutes into the 3 pm Eastern hour, the CNN anchor seemed to be perturbed by Fox News’s ad, which ran in the Washington Post on Friday with one main line: “How did ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC and CNN miss this story?” Sanchez led with a direct attack on the ad: “If you watch this show every day...you know that I usually don’t suffer fools gladly, especially when it comes to the fools who perpetuate falsehoods. Well today, thousands of you flipped through the pages of the Washington Post, only to come across a lie so bold and so upsetting that frankly, I’m not just going to sit here in silence and allow my craft or my news operation to be unfairly maligned, because enough is enough. And, yes, I’m talking to you, Fox News.”

After showing the ad and outlining what it was about, the anchor continued his attack: “They are using a lie to try and divide people into camps- and, you know, Americans are starting to get tired of this. Look at the bottom of the ad there, that says ‘we cover all the news.’ Really? You do? What, we don’t? You know, that’s an offense to myself and to my colleagues who risked their lives for our viewers in Iraq and Afghanistan and around the world to break the news. They’re actually telling people that we didn’t cover a rally on Washington.”

Sanchez then played several clips from CNN’s coverage of the Tea Party from September 12, including one from Jim Spellman, who tried to portray those who participated in the rallies across the country leading up to the one in DC as extremists. He even hinted that the Fox News ad used a still shot from his network’s coverage of the demonstration: “Funny how you can say that we didn’t cover an event by using that picture- that picture that looks an awful lot like our tower cam shot, doesn’t it? And you used it in your ad saying we didn’t cover the story.”

The CNN anchor completely discredited the ad’s claim by using a clip from Bill O’Reilly’s own program, where the Fox News Channel anchor pointed out that “CNN...covered the anti-Obama protests, of course, but ran into a little trouble.” But Sanchez didn’t stop there. He made the following claim about his network’s coverage of anti-Iraq war protests, along with an accusation against Fox News:

SANCHEZ: Here’s the fact- we did cover the event. What we didn’t do is promote the event. Just like when thousands marched on Washington to protest the war in Iraq, we covered it as well, probably less than we covered this event. But we didn’t promote it. Bottom line is- we do cover the news, and we did extensively cover this event. We didn’t promote the event- that’s not what real news organizations are supposed to do. We covered the event. I would invite you to look into that distinction between those two words- promote and cover. Cover is kind of like a fair and balanced way of doing things- you get it? You might want to look into that. It’s about letting Americans make up their own minds.

Actually, in February 2003, during the lead-up to the Iraq war, CNN aired a two-hour special report, “Voices of Dissent,” which was devoted to an anti-war protest organized by International ANSWER, a radical left-wing organization. The following month on March 22, 2003 CNN broadcast 38 separate reports on another anti-Iraq war demonstration. On the other hand, CNN personalities recently labeled anti-Obama protesters 'insane.' There’s no way that Sanchez’s claim, that CNN “covered it as well, probably less than we covered” the Tea Party, can be accurate.

The full transcript of Sanchez’s segment from Friday’s Newsroom program:

RICK SANCHEZ: There is something that I got to tell you now. If you watch this show every day- as I mentioned a while ago- you know that I usually don’t suffer fools gladly, especially when it comes to the fools who perpetuate falsehoods.

Fox News Channel Advertisement in September 18, 2009 Washington Post | NewsBusters.orgWell today, thousands of you flipped through the pages of the Washington Post, only to come across a lie so bold and so upsetting that frankly, I’m not just going to sit here in silence and allow my craft or my news operation to be unfairly maligned, because enough is enough. And, yes, I’m talking to you, Fox News. You, who claim to be ‘fair and balanced’ -at what, I wonder? You know, I don’t know, but I’ve got a couple of ideas. Fox News’s full-page color ad today- it asks, ‘How did ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC and CNN miss this [story]?’ They’re referring to the picture there of the Tea Party protest in the nation’s capital last Saturday. They are saying that we missed this story. They are saying we did not cover this story. They are using a lie to try and divide people into camps- and, you know, Americans are starting to get tired of this.

Look at the bottom of the ad there, that says ‘we cover all the news.’ Really? You do? What, we don’t? You know, that’s an offense to myself and to my colleagues who risked their lives for our viewers in Iraq and Afghanistan and around the world to break the news. They’re actually telling people that we didn’t cover a rally on Washington. Really? Rog, roll the tape.

T. J. HOLMES: Tea Party march and rally happening in Washington. Our Paul Steinhauser is there with what appears to be a whole lot of friends gathering around you now.

PAUL STEINHAUSER: In about two hours from now, they’re going to march right behind us down Pennsylvania Avenue to the U.S. Capitol, and that’s where they’ll gather at the west front of the Capitol.

SANCHEZ: Okay, what was that, like made-up video? Am I crazy or did I just watch CNN’s Paul Steinhauser covering the story? You want more? Here’s more.

BETTY NGUYEN: We’re going to check in again with CNN’s Kate Bolduan live at the Capitol.

KATE BOLDUAN: Well, we came down because we heard that they’re actually so many people still stuck on Pennsylvania Avenue trying to make it too. You can see- basically, these people are all still coming from Freedom Plaza.

SANCHEZ: All right. That was CNN’s Kate Bolduan. Here’s another one.

FREDERICKA WHITFIELD: We are joined now by CNN Radio Capitol Hill correspondent Lisa Desjardins.

LISA DESJARDINS: What do you think of Congressman Joe Wilson? (Crowd cheers) See? So there are- there are people here who strongly support Congressman Wilson, Fredericka, and many of them are right here.

SANCHEZ: I don’t know- call me crazy, but that sure looked like our CNN Radio’s Lisa Desjardins. One last one- from our own Jim Spellman, who followed and covered thirty rallies- thirty rallies along the Tea Party Express route from coast to coast the last couple of weeks. Here it is.

DON LEMON: CNN All Platform Journalist Jim Spellman traveled with the Tea Party Express as it made its way across the country.

JIM SPELLMAN: The bulk of the people that are there are for low taxes, less government control, but there really is an element that’s got these kind of outlandish conspiracy theories about death camps and- and about the- you know, this takeover- people comparing President Obama to Hitler, and that really is a sizable thread. It’s not just a couple of people on the edges.

SANCHEZ: All right, I want you to see more proof now, and this is really just an unbelievable coincidence that I want you to see. You see that picture in the ad that they took out? Okay, pay attention to that picture right there on the right. That’s the ad that they took out saying we didn’t cover the event. All right- now, keep an eye on that picture right there. You see the Canadian flag? That’s on their ad- see the Canadian flag right there at the bottom? All right, let me show you this- see the thing on the left now? That’s our tower cam shot of the event, that we used repeatedly throughout those shows. Funny how you can say that we didn’t cover an event by using that picture- that picture that looks an awful lot like our tower cam shot, doesn’t it? And you used it in your ad saying we didn’t cover the story.

By the way, if you want even more proof of our coverage, maybe you should just watch your own shows? Here's a good one maybe you should watch. There’s a show on Fox News called ‘The O’Reilly Factor.’ You’ve heard of it? Here's Bill O’Reilly doing a segment called ‘Reality Check.’

BILL O’REILLY: CNN, as we mentioned, covered the anti-Obama protests, of course, but ran into a little trouble.

SANCHEZ: CNN covered the event- there it is. This is Bill O’Reilly showing us covering a story you say we didn’t cover. Let me give that to you again. That was Bill O’Reilly showing CNN’s coverage of a story that Fox News says we didn't cover- hmm. Can you see- can you say reality checkmate?

O’REILLY: CNN, as we mentioned, covered the anti-Obama protests, of course, but ran into a little trouble.

SANCHEZ: Here’s the fact- we did cover the event. What we didn’t do is promote the event. Just like when thousands marched on Washington to protest the war in Iraq, we covered it as well, probably less than we covered this event. But we didn’t promote it. Bottom line is- we do cover the news, and we did extensively cover this event. We didn’t promote the event- that’s not what real news organizations are supposed to do. We covered the event. I would invite you to look into that distinction between those two words- promote and cover. Cover is kind of like a fair and balanced way of doing things- you get it? You might want to look into that. It’s about letting Americans make up their own minds.

Let me cut to the chase- when thousands of Americans showed up at the nation’s capital to protest big government, we covered it, with four correspondents, two satellite trucks, multiple live interviews- lawmakers on the record and conversations with attendees.

By the way, we put a call into Fox News for a comment, and we expect an apology. But we’re still waiting. Let me address the Fox News network now. Perhaps the most current way that I can, by quoting somebody who recently used a very pithy phrase. Two words- it’s all I need- ‘you lie.’

Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan is a news analyst at Media Research Center