For those who don’t know, CNN has terminated their contract with commentator Jeffrey Lord. CNN itself describes the termination as directly in response to Lord tweeting “Sieg Heil” at a progressive who asked that Lord’s recent American Spectator article mentioning him be revised to spell his name correctly.
Media Matters, not a disinterested party (though neither is CNN) described the run-up to the tweet this way:
On August 10, the American Spectator published an attack piece by Jeffrey Lord against Media Matters. The screed lashed out at what Lord describes as “Media Matters Fascists.” Lord then tweeted the article to Media Matters President Angelo Carusone. When Carusone pointed out that his name was misspelled in the headline of the piece, Lord responded with the Nazi salute “Sieg Heil!”
The Media Matters piece later added:
After receiving initial blowback on Twitter, Lord explained his confusing issuance of the Nazi victory salute by implying that it was a joke or that it was meant to further highlight Carusone and Media Matters’ “fascist” agenda.
Because of course he did.
A large number of people both within and (mostly) without Media Matters have questioned why CNN has ignored the times that Jeffrey Lord’s words and actions have violated the written CNN ethical standards to which anchors and commentators on political and opinion shows. Other CNN employees or contractors have been disciplined for violating these standards, but not Lord.
I would have thought Lord deserved firing long ago, and to be fair to CNN their standards appear to be applied very unevenly: Lord is not the lone exception. This blog took on Jack Kingston for a statement on AC 360 (also aired by CNN) that is the most ethically indefensible statement I remember ever hearing on television or the internet or reading in any medium:
So CNN has a lot of housecleaning to do yet. But firing Lord is a fine place to start.
Note: Spelling of Sieg Heil has been corrected after being pointed out below in the comments.