CNN's Sanchez Implies Fox News Had 'Role' in O'Keefe Stunt

On Wednesday's Rick's List, CNN's Rick Sanchez implied that Fox News played some kind of part in James O'Keefe's attempted "punk" of correspondent Abbie Boudreau: "The same right-wing videographer, who entrapped and embarrassed innocent people in the past, tries it again- this time on a CNN correspondent....How could he try something so stupid, and what was Fox News's role?" [audio clip available here]

Sanchez made this parting shot at his longstanding nemesis on the last prime time edition of his show, as the 8 pm time slot on CNN is being taken over on October 4 by a new program featuring former New York governor and "Client Number Nine" Eliot Spitzer and pseudo-conservative Kathleen Parker. The anchor raised his implying question about the apparent "role" of Fox News during the lead-in to his program. Instead of making a direct accusation against Fox News, as he did in the aftermath of the murders of three Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania police officers in April 2009, he replayed an earlier interview with Boudreau from the top of the 4 pm Eastern hour of his program.

At the beginning of the interview, Sanchez stated that O'Keefe "that took down a liberal group, ACORN, by ambushing them and presenting them in an unfair light after his video was shown endless times on Fox News." Unfair light? The "liberal group," as the anchor correctly describe them, had already been under investigation for illegal activity. As CNN itself reported in October 2008, authorities in Nevada conducted a raid on the organization's headquarters in Las Vegas as part of an investigation into voter registration fraud (though anchor Kiran Chetry referred to ACORN as merely a "non-profit group"). Speaking of unfair, how about the time Sanchez highlighted an unsubstantiated quote of Rush Limbaugh?

The CNN anchor only directly mentioned his competitor by name during the segment during the beginning, but one of his later questions led to Boudreau mentioning them and their possible involvement. Thirty-three minutes into the hour, Sanchez brought up the document that O'Keefe and one of his collaborators made in the process of planning their "punk" of the CNN correspondent, which was subsequently leaked to the network. Though the 13-page document apparently didn't specifically mention Fox News, Boudreau named them as one of their possible "allies" in the planned stunt:

SANCHEZ: Let's go to the second part of the document. In the document- and there we're seeing James O'Keefe- he- does the document explain why he had planned to do this? What his M.O. was for us here as a network at CNN?

BOUDREAU: Okay, and just to be clear, this document- at the very beginning of the document, it says written by- and it's one of James' mentors and one of his fellow activists- under activist, it lists James' name. Now, James would have been the person who acted out this entire punk. James has said in a statement that he knows about the document, but I'll just go ahead and read his e-mail to us-


BOUDREAU: It says, 'That is not my work product. When it was sent to me, I immediately found certain elements highly objectionable and inappropriate, and did not consider them for one minute following it.' But our reporting will show- and we'll reveal all the details in our documentary- that appears not to be true.

SANCHEZ: So he was- at least your reporting seems to indicate that he was in on it.

BOUDREAU: Yes. You asked about the first part-

SANCHEZ: Okay. Yes. In on what? What was the M.O.? What did they plan to do with this video they're going to have on you and him inside this boat?

BOUDREAU: Okay. Well, that is unclear. But that was all in the second part of the document.


BOUDREAU: The first part of the document that you are asking about is about how to punk CNN into reporting a false story, either about Sarah Palin or about the Tea Party movement. And what they would then do is give their allies or their 'friendly's,' as they called them in the document, which would be FOX News-


BOUDREAU: A heads-up, that CNN is about to report a fake story so that they could- quote, 'pounce on CNN and undercut CNN's credibility'- and that was the first part of the document. It was very detailed about how that plan was supposed to go down.

SANCHEZ: That's a heck of a story.

So it's purely speculation of both Boudreau and Sanchez's part that Fox News might have played any role in this, purely because his first and most infamous set of videos on ACORN aired multiple times on their competitor. It's just another example of the CNN's anchor's continuing vendetta against the network, where he has questioned their legitimacy as a news organization, or slammed them as "way, way, way to the right" or "the voice of the Republican Party."

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