When You Can't Call a Fascist a 'Fascist'
CNN commentator Jeffrey Lord has been fired for tweeting "Sieg Heil!" to Angelo Carusone, president of Media Matters.
Lord, a Trump supporter, has had several run-ins with Carusone on Twitter, including a recent spat over whether George Soros is a major funder of the liberal group.
Carusone told Lord that one of his columns was "full of lies" and said "Soros gave us one donation one time...in 2010."
Lord wrote a follow-up column for The American Spectator on Thursday morning, calling Carusone's group the "Media Matters Fascists," casting them as "anti-free speech bigots who, in typical fascist style, make it their mission to shut down speech they don't like."
Media Matters has been promoting an ad boycott against Fox News host Sean Hannity, a friend of Lord's.
Lord said Carusone was playing a "fascist game" by targeting Hannity's sponsors, and said Media Matters has been doing it for years against other conservatives.
"This is America, Angelo. Not Fascist Italy, Nazi Germany or Communist Russia," he wrote.
Lord tweeted the column at Carusone, who responded, "Your headline has a mistake in it." Carusone asked, "Why do you expect anyone to take you seriously when you don't take yourself seriously."
Lord's response was "Sieg Heil!"
The tweet caused a Twitter storm. There was renewed criticism both of Lord, personally, and of CNN for having him on the payroll.
Carusone tweeted on Thursday afternoon and said "CNN does not seem to hold Jeffrey Lord to any kind of standard."
Under withering criticism from others on social media, Lord did not backtrack from the Nazi reference.
He repeatedly told commenters that he was "mocking Nazis and Fascists."
He asked, "Why would I delete something that mocks the Fascists at Media Matters Fascists?"
If you employ a strict definition of "fascist," the epithet does not apply to Media Matters or, as far as we know, anyone employed by the organization.
What Lord should have made clear is that Media Matters and many on the left employ the tactics of fascism to achieve their goals, as described by Discover the Networks:
Media Matters has cultivated a well-earned reputation for portraying honest differences of opinion by conservatives as lies, smears, and even evidence of “racism.” According to Republican pollster Frank Luntz, “They are vicious. They only understand one thing: attack, attack, attack.” David Folkenflik, media reporter for National Public Radio, said: “They’re looking at every dangling participle, every dependent clause, every semicolon, every quotation to see if there’s some way it unfairly frames a cause, a party, a candidate that they may have some feelings for.” And a Capital Research Center analysis states that Media Matters, in its effort to “stigmatize and marginalize conservative ideas,” “will typically isolate a small facet of a media story that can be twisted in such a way that suggests that the reporter or commentator is a liar or hypocrite. That tidbit is then used to suggest that everything the original source says must be false and deserving of censure.”