November 04, 2017
It would seem any viewer of a "Real Time" episode that includes Jeffrey Lord on the show's panel would be in for a treat.
The tireless defender of President Donald Trump duking it out with Bill Maher? Count me in.
Except that's not what happened on the HBO talk show Friday night.
In fact, in a mostly good-natured discussion, Maher and filmmaker Rob Reiner defended Lord from his firing by CNN.
You may remember that CNN ousted Lord in August after the former Reagan Administration staffer tweeted "Sieg Heil!" in a response aimed at the head of the progressive media watchdog group Media Matters for America, who had made a comment to Lord on Twitter following two of Lord's columns on The American Spectator, for which the conservative is a contributing editor.
Although Lord said he was merely "mocking a fascist" at the time, CNN had called the tweet "indefensible" when it announced Lord's dismissal.
Reiner and Maher opined that Lord's tweet was "clearly a joke."
"That was a bad deal," said Reiner, also known for his liberal activism. Maher added that Lord looked "more relaxed" on Friday.
Leading up to the tweet, Lord had described Media Matters' members as "anti-free-speech bigots" in one of his articles and lambasted the group's efforts to ask advertisers to boycott Sean Hannity's show on Fox News in another.
Maher, who rarely passes on the opportunity to bash political correctness, chalked up Lord's firing as "purity police nonsense."
"This has to stop ... that you go away because you made a little joke," said Maher, who himself faced fierce criticism and calls for his own ouster after using the N-word on his show in June.
Lord had appeared regularly on CNN after he joined the network in August 2015.
Through the 2016 presidential campaign and during Trump's first several months in office, Lord was typically a lone pillar of support for Trump on the network's panels, which helped him become one of CNN's more recognizable commentators.
More from Friday night's episode can be found here.