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PHILIPS BRINGS THE HAMMER DOWN

Reports from multiple sources (including the Washington Post) say that Cumulus EVP Content Brian Philips is lowering the boom on conservative talk programs that spread disinformation about the results of November's presidential election. After an insurrectionist mob lay siege to the Capitol following a pro-Trump rally on 1/6, resulting in five fatalities, Philips issued an internal memo ordering Cumulus hosts to straighten up and fly right—at least as regards claims of a "rigged" election.

“We need to help induce national calm NOW,” reads Philips' missive, first reported by Inside Music Media, adding, "[We] will not tolerate any suggestion that the election has not ended. The election has been resolved and there are no alternate acceptable ‘paths.’ ” Furthermore: “If you transgress this policy, you can expect to separate from the company immediately.”

The broadcast giant is home to some 416 stations nationwide, and many of its conservative hosts have given oxygen to the myth (nourished steadily by Trump and his GOP enablers) that the election was somehow rigged or that there was massive fraud. No proof whatsoever has been provided for these allegations, which have been shut down in dozens and dozens of court decisions, up to and including the SCOTUS.

It should be noted that although conservative talk giant Rush Limbaugh is carried by Cumulus, he is not subject to its dictates. The same is doubtless true of other media pundits who enjoy a nonexclusive relationship with the chain. But the internal command underscores the discomfort many advertisers on broadcast media and other corporate entities are feeling with a right-wing landscape that, they now finally realize, foments violence. Apple, Google and Amazon have now deplatformed the ultra-right-wing social-media app Parler, which had been a breeding ground for militant conspiracy buffs.

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