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November 12, 2009

CNN’s Rick Sanchez: Unreliable News Anchor

CNN.logo.gif sanchez5.jpg

The bizarre claim by Jose Manuel Zelaya (former president of Honduras) that Israelis were attempting to kill him, was reported straight-faced on CNN by anchor Rick Sanchez. But an on-line search of U.S. national and local television news broadcasts turned up only the Sanchez report covering the Zelaya claim. Mr. Sanchez, apparently alone among TV network and cable anchors, considered the story credible enough to cover.

In a Sept. 29 ten-minute segment of CNN Newsroom (at 3:12 PM), Mr. Sanchez began his voiceover to video footage from the Brazilian Embassy in Honduras:

In Latin America, Honduras' deposed president wearing a mask because Israelis are trying to poison him with gas. So he says.

CNN/Sanchez 9/29 clip 1 (41 secs.):


Later in the segment, Mr. Sanchez's voiceover:

The elected president in Honduras was thrown out and the Supreme Court has given a congressman the presidency. All right, this is the man the people of Honduras elected to the presidency. That's Jose Manuel Zelaya. I told you about this yesterday. You see why he's wearing that? He's bunkered down in another country's embassy … He's going to be locked up if he sticks his head outside. And he's wearing that mask because he says that commandos from Israel are secretly trying to poison him with mysterious gas.

CNN/Sanchez 9/29 clip 2 (70 secs.):


At the end of the segment, Mr. Sanchez said:

By the way, you wonder why he's wearing that on his face? He says that Israeli agents are trying to sneak poisoned gas into the embassy where he is and kill him. No real verification on that. We'll be all over that.

CNN/Sanchez 9/29 clip 3 (61 secs.):


Was there any newspaper coverage of the story? Yes – a search of Nexis’ English language news compilation turned up basically three items. In addition to a Boston Herald column ridiculing Mr. Zelaya’s story, a New York Times report ridiculed Zelaya claims that “Israeli commandos have been hired to kill him.? But an Arab newspaper, Morning Star (Beirut) on Sept. 26, not surprisingly described the circus atmosphere in a serious vein: “Ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya has accused the coup regime of hiring Israeli mercenaries to flush him out of the Brazilian embassy with ultrasonic weapons. Mr Zelaya said on Thursday he feared they may enter the building and assassinate him.?

CNN/Sanchez unreliability has been documented by CAMERA including Who Broke the Ceasefire? CNN's "Fact Check" Falls Short :

CNN conveyed uncritically - multiple times - Mustafa Barghouti's charge that Israel violated the cease fire by not opening the crossings. Unfortunately this charge, like his charge that it was Israel that violated the ceasefire, is entirely bogus.Too bad CNN anchors Rick Sanchez and Jim Clancy, along with the network's fact checkers, didn't bother to really fact check anything. Too bad CNN didn't bother to actually interview an Israeli official or expert who could debunk Barghouti's charges with the facts. Judging by Rick Sanchez and Jim Clancy, viewers who want accurate, factual news from the Middle East should avoid CNN like the plague.

Even Mr. Sanchez, himself, recently (Oct. 16) had to own up to an erroneous reporting incident:

On a related note, earlier this week, we provided quotes attributed to Limbaugh to illustrate why some people and players felt that he was too divisive to be an NFL owner. That was one of the stories we did earlier this week. One of these quotes which was in a column in the "St. Louis Post Dispatch" and taken from a book largely about conservatives was refuted by Limbaugh. I mentioned that to you Tuesday. We have been unable to independently confirm that quote. We should not have reported it, not have reported it, without independent confirmation. And for that, I apologize.

(Hat tip: P. Lerner)

Posted by MK at November 12, 2009 05:02 PM


Rick is not known as a particularly credible person, let alone news anchor:

On December 10, 1990, Sanchez struck a pedestrian, Jeffrey Smuzinick, with his car on a residential street near Dolphin Stadium after Smuzinick darted into the road.[4] Smuzinick was paralyzed and eventually died in an assisted living facility in 1995.[4][5] Sanchez, who had just left an NFL football game with his father (and left the scene of the accident), was not charged with causing the accident, but was charged with and pleaded no contest to DUI.[4]

Posted by: Dan at November 16, 2009 03:51 PM

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