Ridiculous. Dumping him is fine, but dumping him for this is nonsense. It’s clearly a pretext.
— Jeff Lord (@realJeffreyLord) August 10, 2017
Carusone is the president of Media Matters. Lord’s “Sieg Heil” is obviously sarcastic, not earnest, mocking Carusone for his group’s effort to drive Sean Hannity off of Fox News via an ad boycott. Lord wrote a column about that a few days ago, “Fascist Media Matters Moves to Silence Hannity.” He’s not condoning Nazism, needless to say. On the contrary. At worst he’s guilty of some light Godwin-ing.
Oh well. No mercy, says CNN:
“Nazi salutes are indefensible,” a CNN spokesperson said in a statement. “Jeffrey Lord is no longer with the network.”…
Lord had been one of CNN’s best-known commentators. He was the first explicitly pro-Donald Trump commentator to join the network, back in August 2015, as a counterweight to CNN’s other conservative commentators, who were all dismissive of Trump’s candidacy…
Another Trump-supporting conservative commentator, Kayleigh McEnany, recently left CNN under unrelated circumstances.
“I feel they [CNN executives] are caving to bullies,” said Lord after he was canned, and it’s hard not to agree. He and McEnany were the two most visible Trumpers on-air at CNN, making it … interesting that they’re both out in quick succession. Right, McEnany left the network of her own accord to go work for the RNC and Trump TV, but you might have expected that to put pressure on CNN not to easily part with the remaining pro-Trump voices on staff. Nope. Just the opposite. They’re seemingly cleaning house.
They’re not considering obvious possibilities to replace Lord and McEnany either:
A CNN spokesperson tells me that the network will not seek to hire Anthony Scaramucci as a contributor
— Steven Perlberg (@perlberg) July 31, 2017
That’s a shame, as Mooch is nothing if not compulsively watchable. In the big-tent circus of political commentators willing to clown for Trump, he’s Emmett Kelly. It’s CNN’s loss.
As for Lord, what’s the real reason he was fired? It surely wasn’t because of a mocking “Sieg Heil” tweet. Three possibilities. One: Having seen what Media Matters did to Bill O’Reilly and what it’s trying to do to Hannity, CNN wanted no part of a war with the group. Lord isn’t so valuable to the network that they were prepared to fight a protracted PR battle with a left-wing attack dog over him.
Two: Did CNN conclude that Lord was the mysterious anonymous commenter mentioned here?
Jim Acosta is suddenly one of CNN’s most controversial figures even among some of his CNN colleagues, who say his public battles with the Trump administration are going too far.
One of Acosta’s colleagues, an on-air conservative political commentator for CNN, said he sees an ulterior motive in Acosta’s actions. He said Acosta’s widely noticed clashes with the White House give the impression that he wants a new role at the network.
“He’s angling to host an opinion show,” he said. “These [White House] briefings are his auditions.”
Lord may have been the most consistently critical of media bias among all of CNN’s “on-air conservative political commentators.” it’d be in character if he was annoyed by Acosta’s preening on immigration last week opposite Stephen Miller in the White House briefing room. No way to know for sure if he was the source mentioned above, though.
Three: CNN is embarrassed by the number of see-no-evil Trump supporters they have on staff and was looking to thin the herd. Lord’s tweet was a convenient excuse, especially coming so soon after McEnany left the network. CNN execs have taken heat this past week for their role in building McEnany’s profile to the point where she’s now a valued asset to the president’s new “real news” talking-points operation on Facebook. Maybe they want to torpedo the remaining Trumpers in their stable as an act of contrition. That’ll harden the sense on the right that CNN is positioning itself as an enemy of Trump and Trumpism, not just a “voice of truth” checking government power, but that sense is already pretty firm. Culling the Trump boosters in the ranks can’t make it (much) worse.
If you’re thinking Lord might catch on at Fox, think again. They’re not interested. Here’s one of his more memorable moments on air opposite Anderson Cooper. If CNN ends up deciding that they need some A-list pro-Trump contributors after all, they could always take a hard look at Sebastian Gorka. He’s probably destined to be fired by John Kelly sooner rather than later.