Talk radio company Cumulus Media has now said that hosts it employs, including Ben Shapiro, Mark Levin and Dan Bongino, will no longer be allowed to talk about allegations of fraud in the election on the air.
“We need to help induce national calm NOW,” a Cumulus executive wrote on Wednesday after news of the Capital riot broke.
Cumulus vice president Brian Philips said 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’. ”
“If you transgress this policy, you can expect to separate from the company immediately,” he added.
Hosts under pressure to accept election results
Ben Shapiro has been cautious about claiming voter fraud and said last week he doesn’t think the election was stolen. Levin and Bongino have both said they suspect voter fraud cost President Donald Trump the election and think it should be investigated more.
Rush Limbaugh’s top-rated talk show is carried by multiple Cumulus stations, but he is syndicated by Premiere, not Westwood One, so he is not subject to the memo.
Michael Harrison, the publisher of Talkers magazine, said the memo represents the corporate side of talk radio asserting itself with personalities that like to think of themselves as independent.
“Corporations have always called the tune ultimately,” he told the Washington Post. “Everyone pays attention to the guys at the top and always has.”
Free speech narrows
With social media restricting conservatives and the topic of election fraud, the Cumulus directive further narrows the free speech of talkers like Levin and Bongino.
Bongino has already vowed to leave Twutter permanently after it suspended him last week for posting a video of Trump addressing rioters and telling them to be peaceful and go home, which Twitter had banned from the platform.
At the time, Bongino may have thought that he could take refuge at Parler, another social media app that doesn’t censor conservatives, but Amazon took Parler off its cloud servers shortly after midnight on Sunday and made it unavailable to any users. It has also been removed from the Google and Apple app stores.
Parler announced Monday that it filed suit against Amazon for its actions against the platform, arguing that Amazon did not give 30 days notice before removing Parler from the servers, as required in their contract, and also violated anti-trust laws by acting against it.