DEPARTMENT OF POTS AND KETTLES…. CNN’s Rick Sanchez has apparently been making some less than kind remarks about Fox News on his Twitter account. A Fox News spokesperson had an interesting response.

“Everyone knows that Rick is an industry joke, he shows that he’s a hack everyday [sic]. And he doesn’t have to worry about working at FOX because we only hire talent who have [sic] the ability to generate ratings.”

I have to admit, reading a statement from Fox News spokesperson accusing anyone of being a “hack” and an “industry joke” is rather amusing. Sanchez isn’t exactly my cup of tea, but Fox News exists to make a mockery of American journalism. If anything, Sanchez should be thrilled by this kind of criticism, and wear it as a badge of honor.

Stepping back, however, note how the Republican network responds to criticism from others within the industry. I remember in 2003, about six months after the war in Iraq began, Christiane Amanpour noted that in the months leading up to the U.S. invasion, CNN “self-muzzled,” in large part because it was “intimidated by the administration and its foot soldiers at Fox News.”

A Fox News spokesperson shot back, “Given the choice, it’s better to be viewed as a foot soldier for Bush than a spokeswoman for al-Qaeda.”

Seriously. “Spokeswoman for al-Qaeda.” Fox News wasn’t kidding.

Similarly, last year, Jon Stewart described Fox News as “an appendage of the Republican Party.” Asked for comment, an FNC spokesperson responded, “[B]eing out of touch with mainstream America is nothing new to Jon, as evidenced by the crash-and-burn ratings of this year’s Oscars telecast.”

It’s not enough that the Republican network has given up on journalistic standards — it has to be thin-skinned, too?

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.