Last week MSNBC briefly parted ways with liberal contributor Sam Seder over a dumb joke about rape, only to apologize after a social media backlash.
To which Jeffrey Lord replies: What about me?
Lord, who once had a cozy niche taking pro-Trump stands on CNN, lost his job over his own dumb tweet in August. He said the same progressives who defended Seder’s rape joke willfully misinterpreted his tweet, a joke about Nazis.
“Sam had the good fortune to be a liberal,” Lord told TheWrap. “I would totally agree that he was unfairly treated and should be reinstated, but in my case it’s not going to happen because it would require people who hate Donald Trump to say I had been mistreated, and I don’t think they are capable of going down that road.”
Many progressive-minded people on social media said MSNBC had been played by conservative media personality Mike Cernovich, who dug up a 2009 tweet in which Seder wrote: “Dont care re Polanski, but i hope if my daughter is ever raped it is by an older truly talented man w/ a great sense of mise en scene.”
Seder has said he was making fun of rape apologists, not defending Polanski.
Lord’s troubles began when he published an attack on the liberal activist group Media Matters in his regular column in the American Spectator.
“Over there at Media Matters — aka Media Matters Fascists, the anti-free speech bigots who, in typical fascist style, make it their mission to shut down speech they don’t like — MMF’s Angelo Carusone has come to my Twitter feed to respond,” Lord wrote.
The piece sparked a tiff between Lord and Media Matters chief Angelo Carusone on Twitter, in which Lord sarcastically tweeted “Sieg Heil” to suggest Media Matters was fascist.
— Jeffrey Lord (@realJeffreyLord) August 10, 2017
But pretty soon, Lord was out at CNN.
“Nazi salutes are indefensible,” a CNN spokesperson said as his termination was announced.
Lord said the criticisms he faced were similar to those faced by Seder.
“Who runs CNN? CNN or Media Matters? Who runs MSNBC? MSNBC or Mike Cernovich,” asked Lord.
“Media Matters is so dangerous,” he said. “I have a lot of respect for [CNN President] Jeff Zucker. I’m not mad as him. I just think that in this case he allowed CNN to be pushed by this group that.”
Media Matters has been long been known — and reviled — on the right for targeted pressure campaigns against prominent conservative voices. Members have targeted Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly and most recently Sean Hannity.
Carusone said CNN had taken action without any pressure from his organization.
“Jeffrey Lord is a liar, a crybaby and an a–hole. He’s lied about me for years and he continues to lie about the events that transpired leading up to his termination,” Carusone told TheWrap.
Still, Carusone said that while he was pleased Lord was off the network, he didn’t like how it went down.
“I think CNN was right to fire Jeffrey Lord. But, that they erred in attributing his termination solely to the tweet,” he said.
CNN declined to comment.
The tweets aren’t directly comparable because what’s objectionable is subjective. Some people offended by Seder’s tweet might not have been offended by Lord’s, and vice versa. And what offends someone sometimes depends on their political views.
Whatever the reason, some of the same people who decried Sam Seder’s termination were happy to dispense with Lord.
“Fortunately if you’re looking for a reason to fire Jeffrey Lord, you don’t have to look too long,” tweeted Mother Jones Editor in Chief Clara Jeffrey. “The question that’s more important than why did CNN fire Jeffrey Lord is why did they ever hire him to begin with.”
The question that's more important than why did CNN fire Jeffrey Lord is why did they ever hire him to begin with.
— Clara Jeffery (@ClaraJeffery) August 10, 2017
She had a very different outlook on Seder’s tweet.
This clearly sardonic 8-yo tweet is an incredibly stupid and cowardly excuse for MSNBC to fire someone, esp since goaded into it by Mr Pizzagate himself. https://t.co/RAaIlHBQjA
— Clara Jeffery (@ClaraJeffery) December 4, 2017
New York Times TV critic James Poniewozik thought Lord’s dismissal was just hilarious.
“I guess the question is now do we get the panelist who was so terrible CNN hired Jeffrey Lord over them,” he tweeted at the time.
I guess the question is now do we get the panelist who was so terrible CNN hired Jeffrey Lord over them
— James Poniewozik (@poniewozik) August 10, 2017
But he said Sam Seder’s exit was no laughing matter. He criticized media outlets that try to “defuse bad-faith attacks” by caving.
Media outlets think the best way to defuse bad-faith attacks is to give into them. It's the best way to guarantee more bad-faith attacks. https://t.co/s08KKAAVy8
— James Poniewozik (@poniewozik) December 4, 2017
Tim Murphy — also of Mother Jones — called the Lord story a “dumb hill to die on,” working in a joke about the Holocaust.
But he defended Seder.
Lord blames the situation on what he calls Trump derangement syndrome, and said news media liberals were unable to evaluate his case fairly.
“I think the reason for it is the Trump factor,” he said. “They don’t like Donald Trump, so they don’t me.”
Seder, though, offered qualified support for people in Lord’s position.
“Generally speaking, I think media companies need to make a thoughtful assessment of the substance of these controversies as opposed to simply trying to distance themselves from them,” he told TheWrap. Seder declined to comment further, saying he didn’t have time to “spend half an hour getting up to speed” on the matter and that he had “too many emails to work on.”
Could he return to CNN? No, said Lord.
“I wouldn’t do it at this point,” he said.
He added that he has no ill will toward anyone at the channel, but has moved on.
“I think they should learn from the episode,” he said.