In another demonstration of the hack gap, Salem Media pressured its hosts to fall into line behind Trump:
Executives at Salem Media Group, a conservative media company that syndicates some of the country’s most recognized talk radio hosts and operates a batch of popular commentary websites, pressured some of their radio talent to cover Donald Trump more favorably during the 2016 presidential campaign, emails obtained by CNNMoney show.
One former radio host employed by Salem is now speaking out on the record, claiming the company fired her because of her refusal to play along.
It might not be unusual that a conservative-minded media organization would aim to support the Republican nominee. But the former host, Elisha Krauss, said she feels it’s disingenuous to ostensibly hire hosts to be open about their views, only to pressure them behind the scenes to change.
In his June 2016 email to Shapiro and Krauss, Boyce said that, at his suggestion, Atsinger had written to two other popular Salem hosts, Hugh Hewitt and Michael Medved, “a very well stated case for supporting the GOP nominee because we have to beat Hillary.”
Boyce went on to assert that in the wake of Atsinger’s message to him, Hewitt had begun to modify his position and had gone on to write an article for The Washington Post about why he found it necessary to vote for Trump. That prompted Atsinger to say, according to Boyce’s email, “Wow he took a lot from my email to him and turned it into an article.” (In the email, Boyce also said, “It should be noted that nobody put the hammer to Hugh or Michael. We simply reminded them that they are privileged to work for a company that actually HAS a political world view. … And we reminded them that we have to focus on the ultimate goal, regardless of the circumstances facing us today.”)
In a text message to CNNMoney, Hewitt denied ever being pressured to change his position.
“I have never felt any pressure from Salem to be for or against the President. I do get everyone’s opinions just as I do at NBC and the Washington Post but as with those organizations Salem does not dictate host opinions,” Hewitt wrote.
Medved remains one of the few nationally syndicated Salem hosts who continued to staunchly oppose Trump, and he has come under pressure from Salem executives, people familiar with the matter said.
During and after the election, Medved’s time slot in several major markets — including Washington D.C., Dallas and Chicago — was changed from the prime afternoon hours to the late evening. His contract is up at the end of this year and there has been widespread speculation in the conservative radio world that it won’t be renewed, sources in conservative media said.
As Serwer says, “conservative assumptions about how the rest of the media operates make more sense when you learn how conservative media operates.”
Speaking of Hewitt, it gets much worse:
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt placed a polluted California area on his personal priority list of Superfund sites targeted for “immediate and intense” action after conservative radio and television host Hugh Hewitt brokered a meeting between him and lawyers for the water district that was seeking federal help to clean up the polluted Orange County site.
The previously unreported meeting, which was documented in emails released by EPA under a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by the Sierra Club, showed Pruitt’s staff reacting quickly to the request last September by Hewitt, who has been one of Pruitt’s staunchest defenders amid a raft of ethics controversies around his expensive travel, security team spending and a cheap Washington condo rental from a lobbyist.
Hewitt is staying at MSNBC, of course, because liberal news organizations don’t hold their hack conservative affirmative action hires to the standards they hold actual journalists to.