Conservative media figures ripped CNN’s decision to fire pro-Trump analyst Jeffrey Lord Thursday over his use of a Nazi salute during a heated Twitter exchange with the president of a liberal media watchdog group.
The ousted pundit became ensnared in controversy upon tweeting the “Sieg Heil!” slogan at Media Matters president Angelo Carusone on Thursday. Lord’s explosive bouts with commentators during the 2016 election and afterward drew both widespread attention online and sharp criticism from left-leaning organizations. But conservatives have defended him.
Responding to a Lord opinion piece in the conservative American Spectator Wednesday where slammed the “Media Matters Fascists” as “anti-free speech bigot,” Carusone criticized Lord for misspelling his name, asking the author directly, “Why do you expect anyone to take you seriously when you don’t take yourself seriously.”
Lord then replied, “Sieg Heil!,” a message he has since said was intended to cast Carusone and Media Matters as fascists.
Despite CNN’s swift dismissal of him, Lord and other prominent members of the right-wing media sphere refused to back down from critics, casting the firing as another attempt by the left to silence conservative pundits.
“Media smears Jeffrey Lord for making ‘Nazi gesture’ when he was clearly satirizing the left,” tweeted right-wing blogger and personality Mike Cernovich, a leading voice of the so-called “alt-right” movement.
Fox News host Sean Hannity, whose battle with Media Matters over an advertising boycott of his show was at the center of Lord’s Thursday tussle with Carusone, also appeared to address the controversy in defense of the former CNN analyst online Thursday.
“How sad in America that only conservatives get investigated, fired, boycotted and attacked. Double standard, & liberal silence is repulsive!” Hannity tweeted a few hours after news of Lord’s dismissal broke.
Hannity, a fervent supporter of President Donald Trump in his own right, has frequently clashed with Media Matters, whom he’s also dubbed as “fascists” on air.
The liberal watchdog group began openly urging Hannity’s advertisers to drop him, as they have done with Fox News hosts Bill O’Reilly and Glenn Beck before him, a move that Stone was sharply critical of online.
Yet despite the support of Hannity, one of the network’s top anchors, a spokesperson for Fox News said the network would not be seeking to pick up Lord now that he was released by CNN.
“We have no plans to hire him,” the spokesperson said of Lord Thursday.
Roger Stone, a longtime confidante of President Donald Trump who leads his own conservative media platform, also lambasted the outlet over the firing.
“There is something wrong in a world in which CNN fires Jeffrey Lord but retains diva @ananavarro who is literally dumber than dog s****,” Stone said, deriding CNN political commentator Ana Navarro, whom he frequently berates online. He went on to say Lord looked like “Albert Enstein” when compared to Navarro.
For his part, Lord seemingly responded to news of the dismissal with a light-hearted tweet.
“LOL!” he tweeted at 5:55 p.m., soon after the firing was publicly announced.