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Talk-Radio Owner Threatens to Fire Hosts Who Dispute Election Results

Protesters gather near the Washington Monument to protest against the certification of the 2020 presidential election results by Congress in Washington, D.C., January 6, 2021. (Stephanie Keith/Reuters)

A media company that employs right wing talk-radio hosts, including Mark Levin, Ben Shapiro, and Dan Bongino, circulated a memo after the pro-Trump riots on Capitol Hill telling hosts to dial down allegations of election fraud, or else face termination.

Cumulus Media sent the internal memo to employees on Wednesday, according to Inside Music Media. The Atlanta-based company owns 416 radio stations throughout the country, many using a talk-radio format with local and national right-wing personalities. (Shapiro has not contested the results of the general election.)

“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.”

The move by Cumulus came shortly before Google, Apple, and Amazon ceased hosting social media app Parler. Similar in form to Twitter, Parler became popular with users who chafed over perceived censorship of right-wing views.

However, the site’s hosts claimed Parler was not doing enough to moderate its content for posts that included incitement to violence. Pro-Trump lawyer Lin Wood has called for the execution of Vice President Mike Pence on the site, for example, although Parler CEO John Matze said that post was removed eventually.

The pro-Trump riot on Wednesday, led by supporters who believe the election was rigged against the president, left dozens of police officers injured. One officer was killed while confronting rioters, and one rioter was shot and killed by police.

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Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.