Washington Post claims Cumulus Media orders its prominent talk hosts to stop supporting President Trump’s claims – or else

In a report hotly disputed by Mark Levin, the most prominent figure mentioned, Paul Farhi of the Washington Post reports that Cumulus Media, a major syndicator of talk radio programs by conservative icons including Mark Levin, Ben Shapiro, and Dan Bongino, "has decided on an abrupt change of direction," as the paper described it.

Cumulus Media, which employs some of the most popular right-leaning talk-radio hosts in the United States, has told its on-air personalities to stop suggesting that the election was stolen from President Trump — or else face termination.

Cumulus Media is the third largest owner and operator of AM and FM radio stations in the United States and a major provider of nationally syndicated conservative talk show content (including Mark Levin, Ben Shapiro, Dan Bongino, and — until earlier this month — Michael Savage).  Last Wednesday, according to the WaPo, Cumulus sent a memo to its on-air hosts ordering them to cease any on-air discussions of fraud in the 2020 elections or else face immediate "termination."  Inside Music Media, which is behind a paywall, broke this story in an article titled "The Day Talk Radio Died" yesterday morning.  It was quickly picked up by major mainstream media including the New York Times and the Washington Post.

The Post story summarized the content of the Inside Music Media article:

After months of stoking anger about alleged election fraud, one of America's largest talk-radio companies has decided on an abrupt change of direction.

Cumulus Media, which employs some of the most popular right-leaning talk-radio hosts in the United States, has told its on-air personalities to stop suggesting that the election was stolen from President Trump — or else face termination. ...

"We need to help induce national calm NOW," Brian Philips, executive vice president of content for Cumulus, wrote in [the] internal memo. ... Cumulus and its program syndication arm, Westwood One, "will not tolerate any suggestion that the election has not ended. The election has been resolved and there are no alternate acceptable 'paths.' "

Mark Levin, however, disputes the account of the Bezos-owned outlet, which was picked up by many other media outlets. 


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Tim Graham of Newsbusters reports:

Farhi put Mark Levin at the center of his story about "orders," but Levin told NewsBusters "I never received that memo, and my crew never received that memo. This story is done by a reporter who has never spoken to me — ever." He said if he received that memo, "I would make sure the entire nation would hear about it." He added "I would like a correction and an apology from the Post, but I won't hold my breath." 

Farhi would not comment to NewsBusters on Levin's accusation that there was no attempt at contact. Isn't it fascinating when reporters say "no comment"? (snip)

Levin also told NewsBusters the Post was "unprofessional" in another story last Thursday suggesting he somehow played some role in a protester dying of a heart attack at the Capitol: "Greeson appeared to have an account on the right-wing social media site Parler filled with recent obscene and violent posts, fueled by misinformation spread by right-wing radio host Mark Levin, the Proud Boys and others." 

Levin also complained the "reprobates" at Mediaite used the Post story against him. The site's Ken Meyer energetically slimed Levin and Dan Bongino as inciters of an "insurrectionist mob."

The Post article and other media noted how Mark Levin has been especially outspoken in decrying widely reported fraud in the Nov. 3 elections.  His widely syndicated programs this week will indicate if he is honoring the memo's directives.

The mainstream talk radio medium represented the original increasingly influential alternative to liberal left dominance of broadcast and print media.  Conservative talk actually dates from the 1950s, but it was turbocharged in 1988, when Rush Limbaugh's three-hour daily show went into national syndication, becoming the most popular program in the history of talk radio.

Much of the credit for the unexpected victory of Donald Trump in 2016 has been given to conservative talk radio and hosts like Limbaugh (who is syndicated by Premiere Radio Networks), Levin, Savage, and others who got behind Trump's candidacy in time for the fall 2016 general election campaign.

This report of the muzzling of conservative media comes as social media — including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram — have taken steps in recent days not only to deplatform President Trump, but to censor and suppress an unknown number of conservatives and Trump-supporters.  Not to mention the combined efforts of Big Tech and Amazon to completely destroy Parler, the upstart free speech alternative to Twitter.

Peter Barry Chowka is a veteran journalist who writes about politics, media, popular culture, and health care for American Thinker and other publications.  He also appears in the media, including recently as a contributor to OANNBBC World News, and Fox News.  Peter's website is http://peter.media.  His YouTube channel is here.  For updates on his work, follow Peter on Twitter at @pchowka.