Jeffrey Lord was fired yesterday by CNN for tweeting “Sieg Hiel!” at Media Matters’ Angelo Carusone after he pointed out a typo in a headline Lord shared on Twitter. CNN cited the reference to the Nazi salute as “indefensible,” but now Lord is firing back that CNN “caved on the First Amendment of all things.” There’s just one problem — that doesn’t jibe with what the First Amendment actually promises.
The day after he was fired, Lord wrote for the American Spectator that Carusone’s “Media Matters Fascists” are “anti-free speech bigots who, in typical fascist style, make it their mission to shut down speech they don’t like.” Lord insists that the “Sieg Hiel!” comment wasn’t an endorsement of Nazism but was instead mocking fascism. But whether his tweet was a joke or a pledge, the First Amendment doesn’t protect you from the consequences of what you say. Your government can’t arrest you for insulting the president, but your employer can terminate your contract if what you’re saying is hurting the company’s brand and bottom line.
If you need any proof of just how little Lord is actually being censored, he has amply proven that he’s at perfect liberty to go on saying the kind of controversial things he is known for. He now says that he’s gotten “a tidal wave of support” from other conservatives, and even Sean Hannity has come to his defense. Hannity tweeted his disgust at Lord’s treatment, stating “How sad in America that only conservatives get investigated, fired, boycotted and attacked. Double standard, & liberal silence is repulsive!”
CNN’s Brian Stelter was quick to point out several counter examples of liberals who have faced similar consequences to Lord.
It’s not just that liberals have also faced consequences for their words and deeds. There’s also the many conservatives who, despite “fascist censorship” when they offend, have maintained relevancy and career potency. Take Milo Yiannapoulous, who survived self-inflicted controversy to found a new media company and self-publish Dangerous. And speaking of Hannity, he maintained career momentum despite the fake Seth Rich conspiracy. So, Lord is likely to carry on just fine with his free speech.