CNN caves over obvious joke - fires Jeffrey Lord who says he won't back down on free speech issue

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Jeffrey Lord

Jeffrey Lord, whom CNN fired on Thursday for a tweet in which he said "Sieg Heil!" to mock the president of Media Matters, talked with SiriusXM host Alex Marlow on Friday's Breitbart News Daily.

"I had written a column in the American Spectator that appeared on Tuesday in which I went after Media Matters, which I renamed 'Media Matters Fascists,'" Lord recalled. "They make it their business to go after the sponsors of different people on television and radio, the latest of which was Sean Hannity. They've done this in past years with Glenn Beck. They've done it with Rush Limbaugh and others."

"I pointed this out and said, 'You know, this is outright fascism' and read their article on their website in which they are threatening sponsors - I mean, actually threatening them and saying that they're going to have a problem here if they continue to support Sean Hannity's shows," he continued.

"I, of course, took the side of the First Amendment. I printed the text of the First Amendment, and then I went into fascism and compared them to the Ministry of Popular Culture, which was a Mussolini invention, which basically decided what could and could not be published or broadcast in the day, in the 1930s. That in itself, as I learned in doing my research, was modeled after the Third Reich and their Bureau of Propaganda or whatever that Joseph Goebbels ran," Lord said of his article.

"So I wrote this in the column, and tongue in cheek, I rewrote the First Amendment as Media Matters would like to see it. At the end of it, I said the American Spectator couldn't confirm whether it was true that they said, 'Sieg Heil' in their draft amendment," he said.

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Angelo Carusone

Lord's Twitter feud with Media Matters President Angelo Carusone began when Carusone noticed the American Spectator piece and dismissed it as, in Lord's sanitized paraphrasing, "B.S."

"I cut and pasted all of his tweets and put them on the American Spectator site and just said, 'Angelo Carusone responds.' I had a few comments of my own, but I wanted people to see exactly what he was saying, with no monkeying around of it. There was a typo in his name in the title. It begins 'Ca,' and it was 'Co.' He took note of this and said I wasn't serious or anything, and so I mockingly said, 'Sieg Heil' - which, of course, I knew, since he had read the article. He knew I had said [it] in the article," Lord said.

"For that tweet, I have now been fired by CNN," he reported. "I have to say, CNN up until this point, has been great with me. I've had no complaints. I've been on there - and it was fairly lonely in the beginning on these eight-to-one panels and that sort of thing - but I had a great time there, and I have a lot friends who, I might add, I have heard from. I'm not going to say any names, because I am concerned that CNN has caved here, saying that this is a Nazi salute when it was clearly sarcastic."

Marlow asked if Lord felt there was a double standard in play, with CNN terminating him for a Twitter joke others might have been able to make with impunity.

"I don't know. You'd have to ask them," Lord replied. "I genuinely find this amazing. I mean, this was such an obvious joke, and they say, 'Well, you're not supposed to joke about these things.' First of all, I was mocking these people. As people in your audience would know, if they're familiar with American culture, which I know they are, everybody from Charlie Chaplin's Great Dictator back in 1940 in which he mocked Adolph Hitler all the way up to the Blues Brothers with Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi, in which they mocked Nazis, mocking Nazis is a good place to be."

Marlow pointed out that CNN has not been shy about referring to Breitbart News as "the number one platform for the Nazi salute" and said he has been informed that CNN contributor Charles Blow referred to Breitbart News as a "Nazi site" within the last few weeks, which makes CNN's outrage over Nazi analogies highly selective.

Lord said he was unaware of those incidents before now and mentioned that while he personally likes Charles Blow, "that certainly does sound like something he would say."

"I have to say, in the last 24 hours, I've wondered how many times people have made reference to Breitbart or others in conservative media with a Nazi reference attached, and CNN never blinked," he said. "I don't know the answer, but I would certainly like to find out."

Lord said he was "overwhelmed" by the support he has received since his termination by CNN.

"What amazed me was, in this day of twenty-first century technology, it was almost instant as word got out from this. If you can imagine my situation, I'm in a CNN car, getting close to the outskirts of New York to go on Anderson Cooper's show, when this unfolds..."

Marlow interjected to set the stage more fully by noting that Lord lives with his elderly mother in Pennsylvania, leaving him with a three-hour commute to the nearest CNN studio.

"My mom just turned 98. She can't walk, and as happens with people her age, she sort of cruises in and out of dementia, so I use the Visiting Angels when I go off on these CNN jaunts. CNN would pick me up at 2:00 in the afternoon, take me the three hours into New York. I would do the shows and then get in the car and come back and get back here around 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning," Lord confirmed.

"For people in your audience that are familiar with dealing with seniors and senior care, you know routine and stabilization is important. I'm part of her routine here, and I would make it a point to get back and do it. So I have some time off now, and I will be at home," he said with a laugh.

Marlow said the loss of Lord and Kayleigh McEnany in quick succession leaves CNN with only one pro-Trump contributor, Jason Miller, which should not be satisfactory for an "unbiased" news network.

Lord praised Miller as a "terrific guy, and he does very well," but he added from personal experience, "When you take on this role of supporting the president, you become a target."

"There's no question about it. People want to get you off the air," he said. "I would frequently see, both in my Twitter feed and emails, hostility. It wasn't just to me. It was to Kayleigh. It was to Jason. It was to Corey Lewandowski when he was there. It didn't matter who we were. If you were supporting the president, they wanted you off the air."

Lord said he told a reporter from his local newspaper that "yesterday was the first day of my non-apology tour."

"It was pointed out to me that there are all kinds of people that get in these situations, and the first thing that they do is issue some meager apology and all that. Well, that's not coming from me. I know exactly what I was doing," he explained.

"Had I known that this would happen, I'd have done it again," he declared. "This is very much about free speech. This is very much about a very serious issue. If this were just me in isolation, it would be one thing. But it isn't me in isolation. They can come after somebody else and somebody else and somebody else. That's what their intention is at Media Matters."

"If you don't stand up and fight the bullies, they're going to win, and there is far too much at stake here to do that, so I have every intention of going on with this fight," said Lord.

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