This should probably be filed under the label, Aunt Jemima, what took you so long, but at least it’s happening at all. The head of Cumulus Media, which owns 416 right-wing radio stations and employs the likes of Mark Levin, Dan Bongino and Ben Shapiro, issued an internal memo, “We need to help induce national calm NOW, [we] 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.” Strong words, but will they do it? Washington Post:
The new policy is a stunning corporate clampdown on the kind of provocative and even inflammatory talk that has long driven the business model for Cumulus and other talk show broadcasters. And it came as Apple, Google and Amazon cut off essential business services to Parler, the pro-Trump social media network where users have promoted falsehoods about election fraud and praised the mob that assaulted the Capitol. Apple and Google removed the Parler app from the offerings for its smartphones, while Amazon suspended it from its Web-hosting services. (Amazon founder and chief executive Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post.)
Apparently it took the riot at the Capitol for the people making money off of lies to realize that this wasn’t just theater anymore. People think this is real. What is happening in America now is no different from the famous War Of The Worlds broadcast in 1939. People thought that was real, too. At least in that case it was quickly said that it was entertainment. The following is entertainment, too, it’s just not marked that way.
On his program on Tuesday, the day before the march on the Capitol, for example, Levin fulminated about Congress’s certification of electoral votes for Biden, describing the normally routine vote as an act of “tyranny.”
“You think the framers of the Constitution … sat there and said, ‘Congress has no choice [to accept the votes], even if there’s fraud, even if there’s some court order, even if some legislature has violated the Constitution?’ ” Levin said, his voice rising to a shout. […]
However, there’s some question as to whether stars such as Levin will comply with the recent edict and whether Cumulus will discipline them if they don’t.
On his syndicated radio program on Thursday, a day after Cumulus sent its memo and Trump supporters breached the Capitol, Levin didn’t seem to be backing off. “It appears nothing has changed in 24 hours,” he said on the air. “Not a damn thing. The never-Trumpers, the RINOs, the media — same damn thing.”
He went on to add: “I’m not stirring up a damn thing. Everything I say is based on principle and mission. Everything is based on liberty, family, faith, the Constitution. … My enemies and my critics can’t say the same.”
I don’t hold out a lot of hope that anybody is going to shut these people and their unreality down. Rush Limbaugh works for Premiere Radio and it would certainly be interesting to see if he got a memo like this one.
The problem is that it’s too late. These right-wing hosts can’t get on the air and say, “Uh, have you got a minute? Listen, we’ve been conning you all this time. There’s really nothing wrong with this election. All the judges and officials were telling you the truth.” They can’t do it. I don’t think that they will do it.
Right-wing radio is pernicious and it’s expansion has been slow. I remember hearing a program on some local talk show station in L.A. about eight years ago and it was about the imminent collapse of the dollar and somehow Eric Holder was involved — it was incredible. I talked to a few friends the next day and asked if they had heard anything about this. They had no idea what I was talking about. Nothing was in the legitimate media on the subject, because I looked. It was at that point that the awful truth began to dawn, that it wasn’t just tough talk from Rush Limbaugh any more, like in the 80’s, that it was alternate reality time. A certain portion of the public was listening to radio shows describing things and events that didn’t exist. And look at where we are now.
When you’ve been making money from pushing lies and then the lies turn into riots, what do you do? Stop making money? Or watch the world burn down? I guess we’ll find out soon enough.