On January 6, following the pro-Trump insurrection at the Capitol building, Cumulus Media issued a memo establishing some limits on their on-air speech. Cumulus Vice President Brian Philips allegedly wrote that rhetoric claiming that the election is not over would no longer be tolerated by on-air personalities. He said the company would have a zero tolerance policy.
But since they were directed to cease spreading election misinformation, numerous Cumulus radio hosts -- both some of the most popular on-air personalities in conservative media, and numerous local hosts -- continued to amplify this dangerous rhetoric.
In his memo (which The Washington Post reported on earlier this week), Philips elaborated on the company’s new restrictions, stating that dog whistling about civil war or any other violent language is not permissible. The new directive appears motivated by Philips’ view that Cumulus needs to foster calm for the nation.
Cumulus broadcasts widely listened to right-wing voices, including Ben Shapiro, Mark Levin, and Dan Bongino. It is a large radio network, with 416 stations in 84 regions. Until the memo, the company tolerated its personalities amplifying false accusations that the election was stolen or “rigged” against Donald Trump. The day before the memo was released, Levin called Congress’ election certification “tyranny.” Now, Cumulus is threatening to terminate any of its personalities who break the new directives for on-air speech.
Here are examples of numerous Cumulus radio hosts continuing to spread dangerous election misinformation:
Bongino said that “we had an election with unbelievably suspect behavior.” [The Dan Bongino Show, 1/7/21]
Bongino vowed that “we’ll continue” to “question the election.” [The Dan Bongino Show, 1/8/21]
Bongino said “principles about what happened in the election, the constitutionality, are in dispute.” [The Dan Bongino Show, 1/11/21]
Levin said “the rules were changed” in various swing states and this was a “violation of the federal Constitution.” [The Mark Levin Show, 1/7/21]
Levin decried being told “from on high” that he is expected to “bring the country together,” and then claimed that he is “trying to bring the country together.” [The Mark Levin Show, 1/8/21]
Levin said “what took place in this last election cannot be dismissed” and warned that no Republican presidential candidate will ever win in various swing states again. He further said that the Democrats and the media are trying to prevent people from ever raising election challenges again, “legal or otherwise.” [The Mark Levin Show, 1/8/21]
Levin denied that he ever received a memo dictating his on-air content. He went on to claim, “Never ever do I promote violence or incite violence.” [The Mark Levin Show, 1/11/21]
Levin claimed that Republicans “violated the Constitution” in various swing states and condemned the Supreme Court for not stepping in. [The Mark Levin Show, 1/11/21]
Levin said there were “serious issues” in the presidential election and that the “Democrat Party went into these states and they changed the rules and the law.” He again denied having ever received a memo from Cumulus. [The Mark Levin Show, 1/12/21]
Levin said Sens. Josh Hawley (R-MO) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) were raising “legitimate concerns” over the election results. [The Mark Levin Show, 1/12/21]
The Daily Wire's Michael Knowles
Knowles said that all “election safeguards” were “upended” before the election in various states. He contended that what happened during the election was “banana republic stuff.” [The Michael Knowles Show, 1/7/21]
Knowles praised Sen. Josh Hawley for challenging the election results because it was an “unprecedented election in which all of the safeguards of election integrity were upended.” In the case of Pennsylvania, Knowles contended that the state violated its own constitution. He concluded with “I think it’s OK to follow the legal process” in this case. [The Michael Knowles Show, 1/8/21]
Responding to its interview with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Plante said, “It would be nice if 60 Minutes would do an exhaustive story on the many irregularities having to do with Election Day and the voting” in various swing states. [The Chris Plante Show, 1/11/21]
The next day, Plante complained that Pelosi would not entertain Republican efforts to overturn the election, despite “a great many irregularities in Pennsylvania, in Georgia, in Michigan, in Wisconsin, in Nevada, in Arizona.” Plante continued, “If you say our election was hijacked, you may very well lose your job.” [The Chris Plante Show, 1/12/21]
Larry O'Connor (WMAL)
On January 8, Larry O’Connor, another host on WMAL, claimed, “I personally believe absolutely there were a lot of unprecedented modifications to many states voting statutes to allow for the opportunity for widespread fraud through mail-in voting, and I believe that occurred in some states.” [The Larry O'Connor Show, 1/8/21]
Frank Beckmann (WJR)
During an interview with Michigan state Sen. Ruth Johnson, WJR host Frank Beckmann stated, “There’s still controversy over the election, and personally Sen. Johnson, I don’t think the controversy is going to go away and people will be acceptant of all of the results until we can reassure them in some way that yes, their vote meant as much as somebody else’s.” Beckmann continued, “I don’t know how we go about that though to assure everybody there was a clean election. I’ve got the feeling in this day and age we just might have these kinds of disputes from this day going forward.” [The Frank Beckmann Show, 1/11/21]
Michael DelGiorno (WTN)
Michael DelGiorno complained about calls for Trump to resign following the riot, arguing, “It’s not enough that they stole the election. They don’t even want him to have his last two weeks.” DelGiorno also complained that Trump’s opponents wouldn’t acknowledge “dead people voting, votes being destroyed, anomalies that are unexplainable, software that can be preprogrammed. They aren’t even discussing any of that. They aren’t even capable of understanding any of it.” [The Michael DelGiorno Show, 1/8/21]