A lot of folks must be wondering today what the free speech rules are in America anymore.
CNN summarily fired conservative commentator Jeffrey Lord this week for using social media to invoke the Nazi salute “Seig Heil!”
While that sounds egregious on its surface, the context matters: Lord was using Twitter to flippantly accuse a liberal foil of being fascist. And for that he’s been fired.
Don’t worry about Jeffrey Lord. His steadfast support of Donald Trump, which made Lord an oddity on CNN, also made him a national celebrity. He’ll be fine, commentating elsewhere and undoubtedly writing bestselling books.
Worry, instead, for America – where, perversely, you can be fired for the “offense” of using fascist historical references to accuse someone of being that which you are opposing. Which is, of course, fascist.
Dare we suggest that, in itself, is fascist?
Certainly Lord shouldn’t have gotten into an uncivil exchange – though the economy would screech to a halt if we fired everyone who did. As we argue in our editorial this Sunday, we’ve simply got to stop warring with each other.
In this case, however, CNN has gone out of its way to make a misguided point, and blissfully ignored the clear and obvious meaning in Lord’s tweet.
Until we get to a more civil place, conservatives, it seems, will be on precariously short leashes.