Jeffrey Lord was fired by CNN on Thursday after he tweeted the Nazi phrase, “Seig Heil!” at a liberal activist.
CNN in a statement confirmed the firing and said, “Nazi salutes are indefensible. Jeffrey Lord is no longer with the network.”
Lord claimed that his tweet was intended to mock fascists, and nothing more.
“I love CNN, but I feel they are caving to bullies here,” Lord said after the announcement of his termination was made. He noted that his contract with the network was done by the end of 2017.
In a days-long Twitter exchange between Lord and liberal activist Angelo Carusone of Media Matters for America, the two were embattled in a debate over Media Matters’ previous financial support from George Soros.
Carusone claimed that one of Lord’s more recent news columns was “full of lies,” and refuted claims that Soros was a regular donor to Media Matters.
“Soros gave us one donation one time … in 2010,” Carusone wrote.
Lord, in a column responding to Carusone’s comments about Soros — as well as the group’s boycott against Fox News’ Sean Hannity — called the liberal group “anti-free speech bigots, who, in typical fascist style, make it their mission to shut down speech they don’t like.”
“This is America, Angelo. Not Fascist Italy, Nazi Germany or Communist Russia,” Lord wrote, and claimed that Carusone and Media Matters were playing a “fascist game.”
Carusone simply responded, “Your headline has a mistake in it,” and followed it up with, “Why do you expect anyone to take you seriously when you don’t take yourself seriously.”
Lord’s response was the one which got him fired — he tweeted “Sieg Heil!”
Before CNN’s announcement that they would no longer be affiliated with Lord, Carusone tweeted that “CNN does not seem to hold Jeffrey Lord to any kind of standard.”
During a later telephone interview with CNN, Lord defended his actions — and tweets — and claimed that his rhetoric was simply “mocking Nazis and Fascists.”
“Why would I delete something that mocks the Fascists at Media Matters Fascists?” he said about his tweet.
He added, speaking of Media Matters, “I think these people are very dangerous.”
“They run around bullying people, bullying advertisers to take people off the air,” Lord proclaimed.
About the tweet, Lord summed up his motivation in two sentences.
“I’m mocking people who are posing a serious threat to the American free press,” he said. “That’s what I’m mocking.”