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January 11, 2021 9:25 am  #1


Cumulus Threatens To Fire Hosts Who Insist U.S. Election Was Rigged

Wow. I never thought I would see this. Cumulus, one of the biggest radio station owners in the U.S. – many featuring right-leaning talk formats - has ordered all of its hosts to immediately stop telling listeners the presidential election was rigged against Donald Trump or face immediate termination.
 
That includes some of its highest profile syndicated personalities like Mark Levin. The edict went out in a memo on the weekend from one of its senior executives.
 
“We need to help induce national calm NOW,” Cumulus’s executive vice president of content Brian Philips wrote in the memo. The company “will not tolerate any suggestion that the election has not ended. The election has been resolved and there are no alternate acceptable ‘paths.’”
 
Philips added, “If you transgress this policy, you can expect to separate from the company immediately.”
 
An article in the Washington Post, which is behind a paywall, indicates that Levin has so far refused to tow the line. He’s a very popular syndicated host, whose show airs on hundreds of stations. Do they fire him for it?  
 
I’m very ambivalent about this. I’m happy, of course, that the false craziness about the election would be called to a halt. But at the same time, these prominent hosts were hired to give their opinions, and controversy goes along with that.
 
And as a free speech advocate and a longtime news guy, I can honestly say I never had anybody in any place I ever worked tell me how to write a story or to avoid a certain angle people might not like. I’m not sure how I would react if they did.
 
This, to me, is a jaw dropping decision. For an owner to dictate what its on air personalities can or can’t say at the risk of being fired is something I don’t think I’ve ever seen before. And it doesn’t matter whether you’re on the left or the right, because it could happen to people on either side. Which is why this makes me very uncomfortable.
 
Good or bad? I guess those here can decide, but despite the falsehoods about the U.S. election, I still find this somehow disturbing because of what it might portend for the future.
 
 Talk-Radio Giant Threatens to Fire Hosts Who Dispute Election Results

 

January 11, 2021 9:44 am  #2


Re: Cumulus Threatens To Fire Hosts Who Insist U.S. Election Was Rigged

Good on Brian Phillips. Cumulus is a private company as is Twitter et all. They can do what they want.

RA, what would you do to users who made outright hideous false accusations against other members of this board. Would you allow that to go on? I doubt it. I'm all for free speech too, but there are limits especially when it results in the death.

 

January 11, 2021 9:55 am  #3


Re: Cumulus Threatens To Fire Hosts Who Insist U.S. Election Was Rigged

I kind of expected that reaction and you make a good point. Which is why I'm so torn on this. The problem I foresee is that it could apply to anyone on either side of the political spectrum if the winds blow in from a different direction. 

I may not agree with Levin, but he was hired specifically to express his controversial opinions. For him to have to think six times before he utters one of them is disturbing to me, even if I think he's wrong. 

It's the old slippery slope argument. Today, you agree. What happens if it's an opinion you hold and you're told you're no longer free to express it or you'll be immediately walked out of the building? Still, you should be forced to state facts and not fiction. And it's that dichotomy that leaves me feeling so ambivalent about this decision. 

I can't ever recall such a memo being issued, but then again, we are living in very strange times. 

     Thread Starter
 

January 11, 2021 10:09 am  #4


Re: Cumulus Threatens To Fire Hosts Who Insist U.S. Election Was Rigged

Very true. These are strange times. I guess in better times, when truth is in fact truth we wouldn't have to worry about what direction the political winds blow. In a perfect world we wouldn't be having this debate!

 

January 11, 2021 10:19 am  #5


Re: Cumulus Threatens To Fire Hosts Who Insist U.S. Election Was Rigged

Is there not a difference however between "a controversial opinion" and something that is proven to be a flat out lie?  A lie that has been propagated in order to sow anger and violence.

I too disagree with management interfering in news/information content but i see it as necessary in this context.  As from the other thread, conspiracy hacks, Qanon supporters, and anti-whatever theories are all good for a laugh, unless your tinfoil hat has slipped off and start to believe the nonsense.

 

January 11, 2021 10:24 am  #6


Re: Cumulus Threatens To Fire Hosts Who Insist U.S. Election Was Rigged

Again, the reason I'm so divided on this. Today, it's a patently false claim that an election was rigged. Tomorrow, it may be something you profoundly believe to be true but management or an advertiser doesn't like for some reason. 

Where does it stop? 

     Thread Starter
 

January 11, 2021 10:24 am  #7


Re: Cumulus Threatens To Fire Hosts Who Insist U.S. Election Was Rigged

Freedom of speech and democracy comes also with responsibilities, respect and a level of maturity.  The US election was not rigged and the vote was not stolen from Trump.  Hosts like Mark Levin, Rush Limbaugh, Hannity  etc. etc...and all of the extremist Trump supporters have had over two months to prove their accusations and haven't brought any evidence or any facts.  None.   Because Trump says that thousands of ballots were dumped in a river does not make it so.  Where is the evidence to prove it? 

Even the conservative judges that Trump appointed have all agreed that there is no credible evidence to show any big wrong doing in the election, or anything that would have changed the outcome.  In other words Biden and the Democrats won fair and square.  Couldn't be much clearer.

For any host to still go on air and retread that Trump is a victim, or the election was rigged or stolen, that the system screwed him etc. is delusional and lying.  These broadcasters are a big part of the reason why the US is in such an emotional mess right now.  All of the real evidence is showing that the election was fair and proper.  Do we ever hear any of these "journalists" talk about responsibilities and respect that come with  freedom of speech and democracy?  These are precious things and when you deliberately mislead and lie you have thumbed your nose at both. 

So Cumulus has warned them.  If they continue to mislead and lie, see ya..good bye...Seems reasonable to me, and freedom of speech has not been harmed in any way.

You can believe whatever you want, but if you are trying to convince others, and are given a big soapbox like a radio show, you better have some verified facts or evidence to support your accusations.  And not just that you didn't like the outcome of the election, or don't like the guys that won and therefore I am entitled to say whatever I want about them, the election, results and don't need to prove any claims or accusations.  

That is not what freedom of speech is about.

 

January 11, 2021 10:32 am  #8


Re: Cumulus Threatens To Fire Hosts Who Insist U.S. Election Was Rigged

RadioActive wrote:

Again, the reason I'm so divided on this. Today, it's a patently false claim that an election was rigged. Tomorrow, it may be something you profoundly believe to be true but management or an advertiser doesn't like for some reason. 

Where does it stop? 

Of course such situations already occur... in this country primarily with entertainment items but news as well.  I still believe we're talking about two different things though.  Sure, a major advertiser may disagree with a presenter's stance on say, religion or the mayor... but again, that's an opinion, not a flat out denial of facts. (aka, a lie). 

and as Paterson1 said so well, with freedoms come responsibilities.  I can have the opinion that SOWNY is not the best radio board around, but should i also be allowed to say that its moderator uses it as a front to sell illegal arms to south american countries? 

 

January 11, 2021 10:41 am  #9


Re: Cumulus Threatens To Fire Hosts Who Insist U.S. Election Was Rigged

splunge wrote:

I can have the opinion that SOWNY is not the best radio board around, but should i also be allowed to say that its moderator uses it as a front to sell illegal arms to south american countries? 

How did you find out about my side gig? Now where did I put that Glock? (On special this week!)

     Thread Starter
 

January 11, 2021 10:55 am  #10


Re: Cumulus Threatens To Fire Hosts Who Insist U.S. Election Was Rigged

By the way, the Washington Post article points out that while Rush Limbaugh airs on many Cumulus stations, he's not employed by that ownership group. He works for Premiere Networks instead, meaning he's not bound by the edict.

Cumulus could theoretically take him off the air, but they can't fire him. 

     Thread Starter
 

January 11, 2021 10:56 am  #11


Re: Cumulus Threatens To Fire Hosts Who Insist U.S. Election Was Rigged

Is it time for cable providers to remove FOX News??

 

January 11, 2021 11:32 am  #12


Re: Cumulus Threatens To Fire Hosts Who Insist U.S. Election Was Rigged

cash wrote:

Is it time for cable providers to remove FOX News??

Funny you should ask. The CRTC, which has been off since the holidays, got back to work Monday. One of the things they issued was their regular list of foreign services that can be legally picked up by cable or satellite outlets in Canada. 

Included in the long parade of stations: One America News Network, a "news organization" that's completely in the tank for Donald Trump. I don't know of a single outlet that carries it here, however. 

Revised list of non-Canadian programming services and stations authorized for distribution (as of 22 December 2020) 

     Thread Starter
 

January 11, 2021 11:38 am  #13


Re: Cumulus Threatens To Fire Hosts Who Insist U.S. Election Was Rigged

RadioActive wrote:

How did you find out about my side gig? Now where did I put that Glock? (On special this week!)

Just one Glock?  You're not much of an arms trader, are you!  How on earth are we going to storm the old CHUM building to make Radio Great again?

 

 

January 11, 2021 11:39 am  #14


Re: Cumulus Threatens To Fire Hosts Who Insist U.S. Election Was Rigged

RadioActive wrote:

Again, the reason I'm so divided on this. Today, it's a patently false claim that an election was rigged. Tomorrow, it may be something you profoundly believe to be true but management or an advertiser doesn't like for some reason. 

Where does it stop? 

You can profoundly believe something to be true, but is it?  It either is true or it is not.  But you can't compare lies and misinformation regarding a US national election that impacts millions to not running a story about your biggest advertiser's son who was charged with drinking and driving. You can say not running the story would be wrong, but would you have run the story if it was Joe Average charged with drinking and driving?  Or is it just an ethical question now because it involves an advertiser and a connection to the station? If you wouldn't have run the story if it was Joe Average, then why would you be obligated if it was a big advertiser's son or daughter?  The same rules should apply either way.

 

January 11, 2021 11:43 am  #15


Re: Cumulus Threatens To Fire Hosts Who Insist U.S. Election Was Rigged

Saul wrote:

RadioActive wrote:

How did you find out about my side gig? Now where did I put that Glock? (On special this week!)

Just one Glock?  You're not much of an arms trader, are you!  How on earth are we going to storm the old CHUM building to make Radio Great again? 

"Just one Glock?" Wasn't that a hit for Doris Troy in 1963?

     Thread Starter
 

January 11, 2021 11:47 am  #16


Re: Cumulus Threatens To Fire Hosts Who Insist U.S. Election Was Rigged

paterson1 wrote:

RadioActive wrote:

Again, the reason I'm so divided on this. Today, it's a patently false claim that an election was rigged. Tomorrow, it may be something you profoundly believe to be true but management or an advertiser doesn't like for some reason. 

Where does it stop? 

You can profoundly believe something to be true, but is it?  It either is true or it is not.  But you can't compare lies and misinformation regarding a US national election that impacts millions to not running a story about your biggest advertiser's son who was charged with drinking and driving. You can say not running the story would be wrong, but would you have run the story if it was Joe Average charged with drinking and driving?  Or is it just an ethical question now because it involves an advertiser and a connection to the station? If you wouldn't have run the story if it was Joe Average, then why would you be obligated if it was a big advertiser's son or daughter?  The same rules should apply either way.

The reason I'm having such a hard time with this is that you're not wrong. I just hate the idea of a company telling hosts they've hired for their already controversial opinions that they can't do they very thing they're supposedly there for. How long before someone on the left is told "you can't say that on our airwaves?" Would that be OK, too? 

Censorship always makes me nervous, but if ever there was a time for it, I suppose this may be it. 

     Thread Starter
 

January 11, 2021 12:06 pm  #17


Re: Cumulus Threatens To Fire Hosts Who Insist U.S. Election Was Rigged

RadioActive wrote:

cash wrote:

Is it time for cable providers to remove FOX News??

Funny you should ask. The CRTC, which has been off since the holidays, got back to work Monday. One of the things they issued was their regular list of foreign services that can be legally picked up by cable or satellite outlets in Canada. 

Included in the long parade of stations: One America News Network, a "news organization" that's completely in the tank for Donald Trump. I don't know of a single outlet that carries it here, however. 

[url=https://crtc.gc.ca/eng/archive/2021/2021-3.htm]Revised list of non-Canadian programming services and stations authorized for distribution (as of 22 December
2020)[/url] 

I got rid of FOX about a year ago. I just couldn't take it anymore. 
 

 

January 11, 2021 12:44 pm  #18


Re: Cumulus Threatens To Fire Hosts Who Insist U.S. Election Was Rigged

The only reason I can think of to keep Fox News is to see what they do now that their hero is about to be dumped unceremoniously onto the ignominious dumpster pile of history. They spent so many years defending the guy and the last few weeks retreating from him that I'm surprised they don't have whiplash. 

Will they move in another direction? There's no doubt they'll be the official opposition network-wise for the Democrats, but I will be very curious to see how they deal with Trump and his acolytes once they're no longer in power. That will make them interesting to monitor, if nothing else.

But I admit, I wouldn't pay extra to watch it.

     Thread Starter
 

January 11, 2021 12:57 pm  #19


Re: Cumulus Threatens To Fire Hosts Who Insist U.S. Election Was Rigged

I think the big difference here is that millions of Trump supporters are suffering from mass delusion. Like a cult that has been enabled by the the tweets and right wing media and we saw the culmination of that last Wednesday.

They believe everything dear leader says  and I will not be surprised if he comes out and says the riot was a Antifa and far left plot and the lemmings will follow down that same path regardless of the fact that they have been talking civil war.


Cool Airchecks and More:
http://www.lettheuniverseanswer.com/
 

January 11, 2021 1:15 pm  #20


Re: Cumulus Threatens To Fire Hosts Who Insist U.S. Election Was Rigged

Fitz wrote:

I will not be surprised if he comes out and says the riot was a Antifa and far left plot

I've listened to several right wing talk show hosts in the U.S. out of curiosity since the attack - and that conspiracy has already been put forward.

I'll give credit to one of them. Bill Cunningham, an extreme right winger who does a syndicated show out of WLW Cincinnati Sunday nights, roundly condemned the rioters and insisted they should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. But he added that not all Trump supporters were responsible for or agree with the violence, which is a fair point. 

But it sure didn't take long for the "they did it, not us" excuse to surface. 

     Thread Starter
 

January 11, 2021 1:31 pm  #21


Re: Cumulus Threatens To Fire Hosts Who Insist U.S. Election Was Rigged

Here is the Washigton Post piece,  from an Illinois paper:

https://www.thetelegraph.com/news/article/Talk-radio-owner-orders-conservative-hosts-to-15860720.php

Last edited by Media Observer (January 11, 2021 1:58 pm)

 

January 11, 2021 1:32 pm  #22


Re: Cumulus Threatens To Fire Hosts Who Insist U.S. Election Was Rigged

RadioActive wrote:

I'll give credit to one of them. Bill Cunningham, an extreme right winger who does a syndicated show out of WLW Cincinnati Sunday nights, roundly condemned the rioters and insisted they should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. But he added that not all Trump supporters were responsible for or agree with the violence, which is a fair point. 

I heard Cunningham last night. He almost sounded sane. Too bad he's been passing out hard-right BS conspiracy theories for years. Now...NOW???...now he is having second-thoughts?

And, although Keith Olbermann's video, which follows here, is four years old, it's chilling to listen to now, no?
https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=10155623514558098
 

 

January 11, 2021 2:27 pm  #23


Re: Cumulus Threatens To Fire Hosts Who Insist U.S. Election Was Rigged

Dial Twister wrote:

I heard Cunningham last night. He almost sounded sane.

Me too. I tuned in just to hear how he would explain the violence. To my surprise, from someone on his side of the spectrum, he was close to reasonable about it, and wasn't making excuses. It may be because he's also an attorney, has spent time in Washington and knows what it's like to have been in the Capitol and to imagine the mob invading that space. At least he didn't try to blame any other group. 

     Thread Starter
 

January 11, 2021 5:15 pm  #24


Re: Cumulus Threatens To Fire Hosts Who Insist U.S. Election Was Rigged

These hosts may be hired for their controversial opinions but they still need to justify those opinions with facts or evidence as to why they think this way.  They don't get a pass just because they are opinionated!  And the employer has every right to challenge them or fire them if they continue to present false, exaggerated, one sided or misleading opinions not based on facts or real information.  This should have been happening anyway. 

If the host of an opinion talk show has made the case with real facts and information and is really offering a credible alternative viewpoint, that is not only based on his/her likes and dislikes or bias, then that is different.
 
Sadly, many of the hosts on hard right conservative radio and networks like FOX seem light on facts and very heavy on half truths, outright lies, and not admitting a mistake when they have been proven wrong.  And please correct your mistakes. Don't still imply that there is doubt about Obama being an American long after it was proven that he is. And don't let people like Trump get away with saying things like that when you know it isn't true.

Has FOX, or any of their many opinion hosts apologized to viewers or to any individuals and admit that at the very least they were wrong?   Has Cunningham or Rush Limbaugh and a few others been accountable at all and tell their audiences it is time for them as hosts and supposed professionals to pull back and reevaluate how they actually do their shows.  So far it sounds like they have been big on blaming the crowds, and extremists.  You know the very people they were playing up and pandering to just a few days ago.
 
Too many right wing US broadcasters (but not all) became a mouthpiece for the Republicans and Trump and their instant reflex was that "the others" were the enemy and needed to be crushed, mocked and humiliated. This attitude has carried over to their audiences and here we are.  CNN and the centre left media are also guilty and this is a big reason why American society has become so polarized.

Hard right wing media and hosts should now get real with their audience and admit their mistakes and apologize.  If they don't do this and very soon, then they have learned nothing.  Even worse, they are showing that they don't care about truth, don't care about real freedom of speech and the rule of law and are not even mature enough to be responsible.

 

January 12, 2021 8:48 am  #25


Re: Cumulus Threatens To Fire Hosts Who Insist U.S. Election Was Rigged

paterson1 wrote:

Has Cunningham or Rush Limbaugh and a few others been accountable at all...

Of particular note is one Mark Levin of iHeart Radio, a RABID tRump supporter if ever there was one.

I first heard him some time back on WABC. I admit that, for the first several minutes, I thought he was playing a schtick...and maybe he was/is. No one, my rational brain tried to tell me, could possibly be that screaming, spitting angry about damn near everything. But, hey, passion sells, especially to the mouth-breathing dash-pounders who believe every outrageous lie they are told.

If there's a Hell, and I'm starting to wonder if there may be, it'll be filled with these types. Mark Levin - what a nasty-sounding, fact-twisting broadcaster. I wonder if he kicks his dog? Maybe he'll take the Presidential Medal of Freedom that Patriots Coach Bill Belichick refused?

 

January 12, 2021 9:00 am  #26


Re: Cumulus Threatens To Fire Hosts Who Insist U.S. Election Was Rigged

Dial Twister wrote:

Mark Levin - what a nasty-sounding, fact-twisting broadcaster. I wonder if he kicks his dog

Actually, at the end of every show, he says a tender on air goodnight to his dogs, both past and present. He may say some odious stuff, but anyone who does that every single night has to have at least some redeeming qualities! (I'm a sucker for dogs and believe anyone who loves them as much as I do can't be all bad, regardless of their politics!) 

     Thread Starter
 

January 12, 2021 10:08 am  #27


Re: Cumulus Threatens To Fire Hosts Who Insist U.S. Election Was Rigged

I listened to the first segment of Levin last night where he addressed this. He claims he never received a memo. Ben Shapiro has also been quoted saying he never received this note ether. Did these media outlets even confirm this story before publishing it?

 

January 12, 2021 10:21 am  #28


Re: Cumulus Threatens To Fire Hosts Who Insist U.S. Election Was Rigged

Dial Twister wrote:

paterson1 wrote:

Has Cunningham or Rush Limbaugh and a few others been accountable at all...

Of particular note is one Mark Levin of iHeart Radio, a RABID tRump supporter if ever there was one.

I first heard him some time back on WABC. I admit that, for the first several minutes, I thought he was playing a schtick...and maybe he was/is. No one, my rational brain tried to tell me, could possibly be that screaming, spitting angry about damn near everything. But, hey, passion sells, especially to the mouth-breathing dash-pounders who believe every outrageous lie they are told.

If there's a Hell, and I'm starting to wonder if there may be, it'll be filled with these types. Mark Levin - what a nasty-sounding, fact-twisting broadcaster. I wonder if he kicks his dog? Maybe he'll take the Presidential Medal of Freedom that Patriots Coach Bill Belichick refused?

Levin has cancelled his twitter accounts in protest since Trump's account was banned by them. He is encouraging all of his listeners and fans to do the same.  It's all about freedom don't ya know!!.   One of his last tweets said Joe Biden is "out of control"....really??  And exactly how is Joe the problem here? Oh, that's right, Joe actually criticized the protesters and some opponents, comparing some to Nazi's.  So that makes him "out of control". 

Sadly it appears that Mr. Levin has not learned a thing from the past week and continues to defend what should not be defended.  He still appears to be the hateful, immature narcissist that he was last week, last month and last year.  I am amazed this guy is actually popular.  Maybe in real life he is not really like this at all, and most of it is just his radio act or schtick.   Either way, whether real or not, the end result is the same, and we witnessed those results in Washington last Wednesday.

 

 

January 12, 2021 3:10 pm  #29


Re: Cumulus Threatens To Fire Hosts Who Insist U.S. Election Was Rigged

Speaking of self-censorship, I wonder if the end of Trump's time in office will finally lead NBC to show the long delayed episode of "Law & Order: SVU" called "Unstoppable." The ripped-from-the-headlines drama shot a show about a millionaire who decides to run for president of the United States, (played by Gary Cole) only to see him accused of raping several women. Sound familiar?

NBC pulled the episode during the 2016 election and then buried it after Trump won. It's been sitting in a vault somewhere unseen for almost five years. 

Ice-T, who plays one of the detectives in the show, spilled the beans about the plot, noting he'd "already gotten paid for it," so he didn't care about revealing the details. According to an online article from Entertainment Tonight  published in 2017:

"There was this guy who was running for president—he was very Trump-ish, and girls were coming out of the woodwork saying he was raping them," he recalled, adding that as investigators got closer and closer, "it comes out that he was innocent."

"He didn’t do it. So we’ve got to apologize, and he’s still doing his thing, talking his s**t," he continued. "And it turns out that his campaign advisor, who was his best friend, was booby-trapping him because he knew he would be terrible for America!"


The actor indicates we didn't miss anything, call it "not one of our better episodes." But I'd still like to see it. 

     Thread Starter
 

January 15, 2021 3:50 pm  #30


Re: Cumulus Threatens To Fire Hosts Who Insist U.S. Election Was Rigged

Has anyone been dismissed yet? Or have the no-nonsense freedom-loving straight-shooters of right-wing talk radio bowed down in defeat to the whims of their superiors?