Rick Sanchez & Roland Martin Slam Limbaugh, Beck as Illegitimate, 'Racist'

CNN's Rick Sanchez returned to attacking conservative talk radio on Wednesday's Rick's List program, lamenting that "a lot of people in this country...think that Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh are legitimate news organizations." Sanchez also brought on liberal CNN contributor Roland Martin to do the same: "The Glenn Becks of the world...use the race-baiting...Rush Limbaugh and his racist language" [audio clips available here].

The left-leaning CNN anchor brought on Martin and Memphis, Tennessee Tea Party founder Mark Skoda just after the bottom of the 4 pm Eastern hour to discuss the NAACP's recently-passed resolution condemning the tea party movement's "racism." As you might expect, Sanchez singled out two isolated examples of racially-tinged signs at tea party rallies: a birther tea party protester who held a "sent Obama back to Kenya" sign while carrying a stuffed monkey, and a sign from the 9/12 rally in Washington, DC in 2009 that depicted President Obama as an African witch doctor.

Martin treated Skoda in a confrontational manner from almost the beginning. The Memphis tea party leader brushed aside Sanchez's citation of a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll which apparently found that "49 percent of Americans saying that they believe the tea party movement is based in some part on racial prejudice." The pro-Obama contributor then pounced: "Well, actually, he didn't actually answer your question. He danced around your question because I don't- he obviously did not want to answer it. So I will let him have a second opportunity, Rick, to actually answer the question."

Sanchez agreed to Martin's point and asked, "Would you like another chance to answer the question?" Skoda replied, "Sure, I'd be happy. First of all, I don't know the statistics, and certainly, what the sampling size of this poll." Both Sanchez and Martin interrupted at this point, repeating it was an ABC News/Washington Post poll, with the anchor adding, "a very legitimate organization- very legitimate polling data."

The CNN anchor returned to the idea of the supposed legitimacy of the mainstream media versus conservative talk radio near the end of the segment as he and the pro-Obama contributor blasted Beck and Limbaugh:

SANCHEZ: Roland, you get the last word.

MARTIN: I...think part of the problem here is that when you look at the people who I think some tea parties- tea party folks look to, the Glenn Becks of the world, who say the President's a racist, and they use the race-baiting, when you look at Rush Limbaugh and his racist language as well- that's what you have here, and at the end of the day, if it's about rights, fine, but reject the people who want to bring race into the rally, into the party. So, I salute those who do that. They're the righteous folks. But not all tea party leaders are willing to do that, and I think the NAACP is simply saying, remove the racist elements from your existence because they're the ones who are hindering your message.

SANCHEZ: Well, unfortunately, there's a lot of people in this country that look at legitimate news organizations like The Washington Post and scoff, and actually think that Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh are legitimate news organizations.

MARTIN: Well, they make up stuff. They're not legitimate to me at all.

SANCHEZ: Sad as that may be- gentlemen, we'll have to leave it there.

Martin also attacked Limbaugh during an October 20, 2008 segment with CNN's Campbell Brown, using the cliched "fat idiot" insult against him.

Earlier in the segment, the tea party leader noted that he and his organization had "repudiated racism at every chance," and added a critique of the media's coverage of the New Black Panther Party: "On the other hand, I didn't hear too much being said when Shabazz suggested that white cracker babies and police should be murdered, and that is, far and away, extreme, versus a sign that might be carried at such an event."

Martin brushed aside this critique and attacked Fox News to the apparent amusement of Sanchez:

MARTIN: Media Matters has an interesting take on that, and that Fox News has actually put the New Black Panther Party on the network more than anybody else in the past 10 years. So maybe they're the ones pushing that story he's talking about, so maybe they should answer why they are giving them a platform to espouse their views. (Sanchez laughs) That's one thing they should answer....CBS had a poll, as well, of tea party members where more than a quarter said they believed this president was doing more for blacks than anybody else- not based upon any real data, just simply a particular view. And so, I can understand why people hold a view. But the tea party should be saying, if you come with your racist rhetoric and your signs, you are not welcome- get out of here. That's the right response.

The CNN anchor then used a liberal talking point about the tea party movement in his next question to the tea party leader: "How much of this do you think, Mark, has to do with the fact that the tea party has come to fruition at a time when we have our first African-American president in the history of the United States, and it's almost impossible to look at those two without seeing them together?"

Sanchez has attacked conservative talk show hosts on several occasions. On July 9, the anchor hinted they were uneducated: "Many...don't even have a college degree." Earlier in 2010, the CNN personality repeatedly insinuated that "crazy talk show hosts that are so right wing" were to blame for ten congressman requesting extra security just before ObamaCare was passed.

Back in 2009, Sanchez had to apologize for running a fake quote attributed to Limbaugh in October. Two months earlier, he accused anti-ObamaCare activists of spreading lies, attributing this to the protesters relying "exclusively [on] right-wing media and right-wing television channels." The CNN anchor also hinted on June 11, 2009 that the white supremacist who killed a guard at the U.S. Holocaust Museum, might have been "motivated to move by right-wing pronouncements...on some TV and radio outlets." Sanchez went beyond hinting during an April 8, 2009 segment about the murder of three Pittsburgh police officers: "That weekend tragedy involves a man who allegedly shot and killed three police officers in cold blood. Why? Because he was convinced, after no doubt watching Fox News and listening to right-wing radio, that quote, 'Our rights were being infringed upon.'"

-Matthew Balan is a news analyst at the Media Research Center. You can follow him on Twitter here.