CNN’s (now former) daytime anchor Rick Sanchez is a prolific social media presence, with more than 145,000 followers on Twitter and more than 6,000 Tweets. Now that he’s been fired from CNN, the question bouncing around Twitter and media circles focuses on what exactly is going to happen to his Twitter account and his handle that proclaims his affiliation with his employer: @ricksanchezcnn.
Sanchez was fired after a radio interview in which he called Jon Stewart, host of The Daily Show, a “bigot” and made statements about bias among CNN’s news executives. More on that here from The New York Times and more from NPR, plus the audio of the actual radio interview.
While Twitter was exploding with tweets Friday about the firing, NPR’s David Folkenflik was quick to pose the query: “…presumably he’s no longer tweeting at @ricksanchezcnn.”
While his show page on cnn.com appears to have been promptly pulled off the site and redirected: http://www.cnn.com/ricksanchez now points to http://www.cnn.com/CNN/Programs/ His Twitter account is still live, though there’s been no recent Tweets or comments.
ReadWriteWeb’s Marshall Kilpatrick poses several interesting questions about the nature of having such a large megaphone online and whether Sanchez owes CNN anything.
“Did CNN lose out on the social media investment they put into Sanchez’s personal account over the years? Ought they have driven all followers to an official company account instead, in case something like this happened?”
He also points out:
“Sanchez is out of a job, but he hasn’t lost his very public voice. That’s a historical anomaly. Does the free-form nature of social media, combined with the personal ownership over this platform, combine to make public figures more comfortable saying things they might not have said in the past?”
Other fired news reporters have migrated to other Twitter handles or simply closed out the accounts. Gizmodo is asking readers to come up with a new Twitter handle for Sanchez. We’ll be watching to see what happens to @ricksanchezcnn