Cable news is a big industry, and it's one that has been rocked by some major shakeups over the past several months. The news personality lineups of some networks look quite different now than they did a year ago. Now, a change is in store for CNN, as the network has given the boot to conservative commentator Jeffrey Lord due to some comments about Nazis that caused a great deal of public outcry.
Here's what happened. Jeffrey Lord has had a number of very public disagreements with an activist by the name of Angelo Carusone, who is president of a liberal group called Media Matters for America. Carusone and Media Matters have been critical of Lord for his particular conservative stances and of CNN for giving him time on the airwaves. Lord fired back at Media Matters with a column at The American Spectator, which he tweeted to Angelo in the morning of August 10. Carusone responded by pointing out a mistake in the headline and then opining that nobody takes Lord seriously. It was then that Lord answered with what would be a costly comment: he tweeted "Sieg Heil!" back at Carusone.
For obvious reasons, CNN was unhappy that one of its commentators had publicly posted a Nazi slogan. The network decided to sever ties with Jeffrey Lord, stating that "Nazi salutes are indefensible." For his part, Jeffrey Lord says that the tweet with the Nazi slogan was not intended to show support for the group. Instead, he claims that he intended to call out fascism that he believed was being shown by Media Matters and Angelo Carusone. Whatever his intent, the response to a Nazi slogan being tweeted by a news personality has been far from positive, and the tweet cost him his job at CNN.
That said, Jeffrey Lord might not have stuck around CNN much longer anyway. According to CNN Money, Lord has said that his contract would have expired at the end of the year. It's possible that he would have decided to leave or CNN would have decided not to renew his contract by the end of 2017 if not for this controversy. There are still a number of conservative commentators who will share their opinions on CNN, so not a whole lot will likely change for viewers without Lord on board.
This is just the latest example of CNN taking action because of the online activities of its employees. CNN cancelled a documentary series hosted by Reza Aslan after he posted profane tweets about Donald Trump, and comedian Kathy Griffin's position as New Year's Eve personality was terminated by CNN after she participated in a very controversial photo shoot.
With more people using social media than ever before and with a United States president who regularly uses social media to communicate, it's likely that public figures will have their accounts closely scrutinized by the public and potentially even by employers. Hopefully there will be no more mentions of Nazis, no matter the intent behind the comment. Tone isn't something that can always be translated in 140 characters or less.
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