CNN fired Jeff Lord on Thursday afternoon, after Lord, a Trump loyalist, insulted the head of the leftist organization Media Matters for America.
Lord, a columnist with the American Spectator, was one of the original Trump surrogates on CNN, defending him through thick and thin. At times, Lord’s defenses clearly agitated CNN’s hosts.
But on Thursday, CNN finally excavated an excuse they needed to expel Lord: a tweet.
The Thursday tweet was aimed at the president of Media Matters for America, a far-left media watchdog organization with ties to liberal billionaire George Soros. Lord and Angelo Carusone, president of Media Matters, had been tussling over one of Lord’s columns in The American Spectator magazine.
In that column, Lord called the liberal organization “Media Matters Fascists” and “anti-free speech bigots who, in typical fascist style, make it their mission to shut down speech they don’t like.”
Lord was defending Sean Hannity of Fox News from Media Matters.
[lz_third_party align=center includes=https://twitter.com/realJeffreyLord/status/895689103966179330]
Carusone objected on Twitter around noon, and tweeted at Lord: “Your headline has a mistake in it. Why do you expect anyone to take you seriously when you don’t take yourself seriously?”
To which Lord tweeted: “Sieg heil.”
The phrase is German, and means “hail victory.” It was a Nazi salute.
Lord was clearly mocking Carusone as a fascist and pseudo-Nazi, intent on silencing free speech. Carusone in the past has waged campaigns to get Glenn Beck taken off the air and is desperately trying to get Hannity fired.
Lord explained the day’s events to LifeZette earlier in the day.
Lord told LifeZette he was determined to make a point that Media Matters and others like it were behaving like Nazi-style authoritarians and censors. He didn’t think his joke was a big deal, especially as it was aimed at Carusone.
But Media Matters saw an opportunity and called on Lord to be fired. CNN took the bait, too, and even released a statement saying, “Nazi salutes are indefensible.”
CNN has brought down quick terminations before, after liberal comedian Kathy Griffin was fired for posing with a dummy’s head made to look like Trump’s. Host Reza Aslan was also fired for calling Trump a vulgar name.
Lord’s staunch defense of Trump often got under the skin of CNN hosts.
In May, Anderson Cooper told Lord: “If [Trump] took a dump on his desk, you would defend it. I don’t know what he would do that you would not defend.”
Cooper, who once compared Trump’s behavior to that of the Kremlin, later apologized.
Lord also got under the skin of host Don Lemon, who took offense when Lord compared the tactics of Trump to those once laid out by Martin Luther King Jr.
Lemon didn’t understand the distinction of comparing the men to comparing their tactics, and reportedly asked CNN officials to never book Lord again.
Lord did not return a message from LifeZette after CNN announced the firing. But just before 6 p.m., he posted a brief tweet: “LOL.”