Video: CNN misses the story on Sheen meltdown

I wasn’t going to write anything about Charlie Sheen’s career suicide this week, since I don’t watch Two and a Half Men or much episodic television at all these days. Sheen appeared on the Alex Jones radio show yesterday, not an unusual place for a Truther to make an appearance, and went on a bizarre-even-for-Sheen rant that included anti-Semitic comments about his show’s producer and co-creator, Chuck Lorre, calling him “Chaim Levine” (Levine is Lorre’s birth name). CBS responded by putting the show on hiatus the rest of the season, and probably won’t bring it back, at least not with Sheen.

When Mel Gibson made anti-Semitic remarks a few years ago, it became part of the running commentary at CNN on everything Gibson did. But watch this two-minute clip from CNN today on the Sheen story, in which Sheen’s anti-Semitic remarks in both the Jones interview and his later open letter get zero mention at all:

CNN viewers must be a little confused if they don’t bother checking on the story elsewhere. The two hosts make it sound as though Sheen got fired (in practice if not in form) for merely being mean to his producer and to Alcoholics Anonymous.

ABC, in contrast, didn’t just mention the anti-Semitic remarks but led with them this morning:

Sheen addressed the suspension of the show in an open letter obtained by celebrity news website TMZ.

“What does this say about [anti-Semitic term referring to Lorre] after he tried to use his words to judge and attempt to degrade me,” Sheen wrote in the letter that came to light late Thursday. “I gracefully ignored this folly for 177 shows. …

But Sheen didn’t stop there and went on to call Lorre a “turd” and a “clown” and later used an anti-Semitic term while referring to Lorre’s name. Sheen said he is eager to get back to work, despite his escalating a public battle with the producers of the hit comedy.

Later, Sheen apparently challenged Lorre to a fight. Sheen said, “if he wins, then he can leave MY show,” according to TMZ.

Sheen told TMZ, ” I violently hate [anti-Semitic term referring to Lorre]. He’s a stupid, stupid little man and a … punk that I’d never want to be like.”

The anti-Semitism was hardly an accident, and it at least appears likely that it triggered the shutdown of the show as CBS needed to distance itself from it. So why did CNN not just avoid commenting on it, but cut the audio on the original show to keep the “Hymie Levine” part of Sheen’s remarks off the air? Given CNN’s handling of Gibson, it looks very strange indeed, and not accidental.

If nothing else, it’s worth noting that Rick Sanchez has been proven wrong.

Update: When I heard the audio last night at TMZ, I heard “Hymie,” not “Chaim”, but on a second listen, commenters are right in that he said (phonetically) “Hime”; “Chaim” is pronounced a little differently.  At any rate, Chuck Lorre’s birth name is Charles Levine, not Chaim Levine, and he very clearly goes by Chuck.  At any rate, a man who changed his name from Carlos Irwin Estevez has very little room in sneering at someone else’s choice to use a different name for professional reasons.

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