Washington Post Targets Talk Radio


It was big national news when it was reported that Cumulus sent around a memo telling its talk show hosts to tone down any stolen election claims. The memo was reported to be sent around by VP Brian Philips, however Cumulus has never confirmed or commented publicly on it. It’s clear The Washington Post doesn’t believe anything has changed.

The paper’s position in a Wednesday article called “On conservative talk radio, efforts to tone down inflammatory rhetoric appear limited,” is that talk radio hasn’t toned down the rhetoric enough, despite the Cumulus HQ memo telling them to do so.

The paper alleges that big name hosts such as Mark Levin, Dan Bongino and Ben Shapiro, who all say they never received a memo from Cumulus, will carry on and those less known will feel the heat if they continue to harp on Trump’s election claims.

The paper also takes aim at Premiere’s Rush Limbaugh stating he has not “moderated his post-election rhetoric.”

Brian Rosenwald, the author of “Talk Radio’s America: How an Industry Took Over a Political Party That Took Over the United States,” tells The Post that popular syndicated hosts who have more leverage than smaller market conservative talkers will simply change the narrative. Rosenwald predicts to The Post that many hosts will change the subject from the Capitol violence, or attack Democrats and the news media by claiming they didn’t condemn the violence associated with protests surrounding the death of George Floyd. “Talk radio’s go-to move when there is something indefensible on the right has always been to [point] out [liberals’] double standards. A Democratic administration equals a new boogeymen to focus on. You might have offhand references or conversation about Biden being an illegitimate president, but the focus won’t be on the ‘stolen election’ unless and until there is fresh news on the topic.”



  1. Most newspapers and true news sources have vetted reporting. If a reporter screw up they will be admonished. If they lie they will be fired. “Conservative” talk radio and TV offer none of this. They offer high priced bloviators who frequently operate in concert with the Republican party. Frankly, these people and the stations which make money running them should be quite ashamed of themselves. They are responsible for a dangerous level of highly biased misinformation. This group is truly endangering our democracy as recent events have most certainly demonstrated.

    Back in the later 1920’s and early 1930’s “conservative talk radio first raised its ugly head. The Federal Radio Commission (the immediate forerunner of the FCC) clamped down on this as it was felt that very biased, one sided broadcasting was a danger. The Fairness Doctrine’s birth came from this in time.

    If broadcasters could police themselves, that would be best. Given the love of the almighty dollar, I doubt that that is going to happen. Shows representing one sided views should be fairly short and indeed as mentioned by another commenter here should be labeled as commentary. There should also be the requirement (voluntary or otherwise) to have roundtable dicussions with all reasonable views represented along with a requirement for factual news segments such as vetted top of the hour news or the like on stations who call themselves news-talk stations. To have no ground rules and purely the ranting of “talking heads” is dangerous.

  2. My only question here is: Is there anything in the article that isn’t true? I can’t find anything. The last article on this subject mentioned Mark Levin, and afterwards he was angry that no one from the Post contacted him. So for this article they contacted him, and he refused to answer. I think the article is very balanced. They spoke to hosts on both sides, and also spoke to Jerry Del Colliano. What more should they do? The writer has been covering this beat for a long time. If the paper is lying about what these stations are saying, then the paper should be brought to task. If they’re merely reporting the facts, then they have every right to do so.

  3. All forms of talk- whether TV, Radio, podcasts and/or online should be identified as either “news” or “opinion” and a disclaimer should air going in and out of every stop set saying that the opinions of the host do not reflect those of the management and ownership of Station…. This should apply to every talk show on every network. This is not liberal vs. conservative. This is a solution to the confusion that surrounds shows that purport to be news but in fact are opinion. Not much different than top of the hour and end of show disclaimers on infomercial type programs. But, the biggest difference now is- people listen in short spurts- so only running a disclaimer at the beginning and end of a program doesn’t fully alert listeners/viewers that the program they’re engaged with falls into a certain category.

  4. Freedom of speech is very important and must be maintained. So does full disclosure. “Entertainers” like Rush Limbaugh hide behind that moniker, but he and his cronies like Shawn Hannity pose as news and political experts. When it’s needed make sure people know their show is “entertainment”. It’s dangerous and irresponsible. Don’t take away their shows, but make them accountable for the material they present, very clearly for what it is and is not.

    • Rush, Shawn and others like them don’t claim to be news agencies. Whereas many who do purport to be news agencies are just as biased in the other direction.

  5. Don’t think for one second that the left is not putting pressure on corporate headquarters of big radio, TV and Cable companies to pull the plug on conservative programs/stations. In my opinion, they will use their nation ad dollars to pressure the big companies. We shall see where it goes. Hopefully conviction to do the right thing and not ban free speech will win over the revenue from these those who threaten to pull dollars.

    • You and others need to stop misrepresenting the term “free speech.” ‘Free speech does not entitle the right wing hosts- Limbaugh, Levin, Hannity and the rest- to continually spread lies and disinformation. Their inflammatory and incendiary rhetoric helped to fuel the attack on the Capital, and is dividing this country. Immoral amd irresponsible behavior like that is not covered under free speech.

  6. “[point] out [liberals’] double standards.”

    Precisely, and very valid to do…including the far-left hijinks of The Washington Post. What once used to be a fairly respectable publication is now a very biased, unprofessional rag. ‘The pot calling the kettle black” instantly comes to mind.

    The Post needs to clean up its own act before it dares to point fingers at others.


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