Jeffrey Lord did not see CNN’s ax falling before it took off his talking head.
“It was around 4-5 Thursday afternoon,” Lord tells Breitbart News. “I was in a CNN car en route to New York for Anderson Cooper’s show. Got an e-mail asking me to call Rebecca Kutler, Jeff Zucker’s right hand who handles all CNN contributors. She told me they were ending our relationship. With that I had the car turn around—we were somewhere around Newark—and take me home.”
Lord calls Pennsylvania home. There, he takes care of his nonagenarian mother far from the cameras of New York City and the contentiousness of Washington, D.C. On CNN, the former Reagan Administration official struck liberal viewers as an eerily reasonable voice defending unreasonable positions and struck conservative viewers as a courageous commentator giving as good as he got in daily handicap matches that saw him outnumbered five-, six-, and even seven-to-one.
Despite the white-haired commentator’s reputation for calmness in a profession known for turning the volume to eleven, CNN seemingly portrayed him as earnestly embracing Nazi symbolism.
“Nazi salutes are indefensible,” a CNN statement read without reference to the context, which Lord points out in a Monday American Spectator column (disclosure: this writer has authored columns for the Spectator for a decade) matters when differentiating between the use of the imagery and rhetoric to lampoon, as in The Blues Brothers, and to sincerely pay tribute to Adolf Hitler, his regime, and his ideas as George Lincoln Rockwell and the neo-Nazis that Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi mocked on the silver screen did in real life.
“They then issued their statement saying what I said was ‘indefensible,’” Lord says of the network’s announcement of his involuntary departure. “And mind you, my tweet was a direct quote from my Spectator column that ran two days earlier with no reaction from CNN.”
The network fired Lord because he mocked groups pressuring networks to fire controversial contributors. CNN did not get the irony.
Lord wrote a column in the American Spectator that appeared last Wednesday describing Media Matters for America, a group founded by former American Spectator reporter David Brock, as “Media Matter Fascists” for their efforts to pressure Fox News into pulling Sean Hannity from its airwaves. He jokingly wrote, “The American Spectator has been unable to confirm reports that the original draft of this Media Matters revision ended with the words: ‘Seig Heil!’”
CNN, willfully or not, did not get the joke. They fired their employee for defending a competitor.
“From now on perhaps we should call for the firing of every Leftist who uses Nazi phrases, comparisons etc.—particularly in relationship to [President Trump],” Lord quipped to Breitbart News.
Lord notes his Monday column that many CNN employees reached out to him but he does not dare name names. He writes:
In fact, I have heard from so many CNNers privately. It is a mark of just how concerning this atmosphere of totalitarian-style repression that is abroad in the land is that I would never thank any of them by name in public for fear that — simply by guilt of association with me -they too would come under instant attack accompanied by a demand for removal from their job. Or worse, they could be deluged, as was Limbaugh advertiser Mark Stevens, with thousands of hostile emails and threats of physical violence.
Speculation immediately arose as to whether the cable news channel’s frustration in providing air time to an even-tempered advocate for an administration they regard as off kilter motivated the termination. The pro-Trump commentator nevertheless withholds harsh commentary when describing his former employer.
“My personal view is they were bullied,” Lord opines to Breitbart News. “But the next day, doing countless radio shows around the country, it was clear many saw this as an excuse. Rush [Limbaugh] said that on his Friday show as well.”
Lord remains in his writing gig at the American Spectator and notes that the closing of the door at CNN has opened up new possibilities elsewhere.