Radio station WABC told its hosts not to question the results of the 2020 presidential election. Then the station hired Greg Kelly.
Kelly is the host of Newsmax TV’s Greg Kelly Reports, where he has been at the forefront of the far-right network’s attempt to peel off Fox News viewers by indulging baseless claims of election fraud. On March 9, he began hosting a daily two-hour program on WABC-AM, a conservative talk radio station based in New York City.
The show’s first week on the air has been a mix of sycophantic praise for former President Donald Trump, relentless attacks on President Joe Biden, and culture war complaints familiar to Kelly’s Newsmax viewers. And despite WABC’s stated policies, Kelly still regularly questions the results of the 2020 election.
The New York Times reported that following the attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, WABC owner John Catsimatidis sent a memo to the station’s hosts warning them that they would be disciplined for suggesting that the results of the presidential election were not “valid.”
This policy was instantly tested by another prominent proponent of false election fraud claims. Former Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani — whose WABC show airs immediately after Kelly’s — routinely ignored the memo’s instructions and even once called a legal disclaimer which aired prior to his show “rather insulting.”
It appears that the station has not taken any action against Giuliani. Now, WABC is openly doubling down on inflammatory hosts with the hiring of Kelly, who has cast doubt on the election results in nearly every one of his shows thus far.
During his first broadcast, Kelly assured listeners that “it's OK to have questions about the election of last year” — echoing comments he made on Newsmax. He also suggested that there might be “people on the left” who wanted the January 6 riot to occur “because that would delegitimize, in their view, any concerns about the election — concerns that I still have.”
The next day, Kelly claimed that he has “serious concerns about the fairness of the 2020 election,” and on March 11, he argued that “if you really counted all the votes, the proper ones, [Trump] might still be in the White House.”
On March 12, Kelly fielded a call from a listener who questioned why the military was not involved in overturning the election. In response, Kelly denied that the military would install Trump as president but still argued, “Look, I don’t like it. Do I think that they cheated? Yup.” Later during the same show, Kelly promoted a months-old debunked conspiracy theory that Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts refused to hear an election-related case due to concerns about potential riots.
Kelly — who claimed on Newsmax that outrage over the January 6 Capitol riot was racist toward white people — has also on his radio show repeatedly referred to “problems” within the Black community and complained that the threat of white supremacy is exaggerated.
On March 11, Kelly claimed that the “current dialogue we're having about race relations is hurting people of color nationally” because it doesn’t include discussion “about problems in a culture that mocks literacy, that mocks a two-parent family.”
Earlier in the same show, Kelly complained that President Barack Obama failed to address “parts of the culture” in the Black community in Chicago that “are not about responsibility.” Kelly continued, “We all know it. We all know what I am talking about. It’s true. Yet you’ve got to be very careful talking about these things because the worst thing you can be called these days, you know, racially insensitive.”
On March 15, Kelly claimed that “the left-leaning media have overhyped, have exaggerated the threat posed by police officers against people of color.” Kelly again referred to the “problems inside the African American community, in terms of graduation, in terms of having children out of wedlock. It’s understood that there are serious problems there, and too often, I believe, the conversation is a silly one, talking about things that don’t really affect those matters.”
Like on his Newsmax program, Kelly often lavishes praise on Trump while subjecting Biden to unfounded attacks on his radio show.
Additionally, on March 10, while discussing sexual harassment allegations against Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY), Kelly claimed, “Just look at the video of Donald Trump with women. He's very respectful. He is respectful of women. Yeah, he may have said a few things behind the scenes, you know.” In 2012, a woman reported that Kelly had raped her, but he was not charged after an investigation.
The host argued on March 15 that it would be “dishonest” to “do anything other than praise and thank Donald Trump right now when it comes to the vaccine or quite frankly anything COVID-related.”
Meanwhile, Kelly has complained that Joe Biden is a “ghoulish character” who talks “about death all of the time” and who “never really moved on” after the tragic deaths of his wife and daughter. The host has even criticized the appearance of Biden’s dogs, just like he did on his Newsmax show.
Newsmax bet that Kelly’s aggressively pro-Trump stance and lies about the election would attract an audience. Now WABC has done the same, and Kelly has two more hours a day to spread them.