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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Conservative Media Purges

 In Defying the Oddswe discuss the role of the media, particularly conservative media.

Kimberly Ross and Andrea Ruth at The Bulwark:
Unfortunately, though we continue to appreciate the hard work of our writing colleagues and hold great respect for most of them, we are no longer proud to write under the banner of RedState, or its parent group, Townhall Media, which is an affiliate of the Salem Media Group.
In April 2018, Salem management determined there had been enough front-page criticism of Trump and decided to take action. A number of long-time writers and editors, who happened to be unapologetic Trump critics, were dismissed from the site without warning. Among those let go was Managing Editor Caleb Howe, who was fired while traveling to a Salem work event. Management locked out access to the CMS, leaving writers unable to log in and wondering what was wrong. It wasn’t until hours later that Townhall VP & General Manager Jonathan Garthwaite sent emails informing those writers that contracts had been terminated.
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A cursory glance at the front page of RedState reveals the transformation that Salem wanted is now complete. There is no local editorial control. Decisions are made behind the scenes at Townhall and subject to its review.
The writing was on the wall for some time. Purging Trump critics at RedState wasn’t the only time Salem revealed it cared more about loyalty to Trump than about ideology. CNN reported that in 2016, Salem told its talk radio hosts to treat then-candidate Donald Trump more positively. According to emails obtained by CNN, chief executive officer Edward Atsinger had emailed Salem radio hosts Hugh Hewitt and Michael Medved at senior vice president Phil Boyce’s suggestion to provide them with “a very well-stated case for supporting the GOP nominee because we have to beat Hillary.” Meanwhile, according to CNN, general manager Terry Fahy told co-hosts Elisha Krauss and Ben Shapiro via email in July 2016 that their show had “not been in the spirit of ‘supporting the GOP nominee’” —although Krauss told CNNMoney that the month of July 2016 “was the highest ratings we had.” Krauss was ultimately fired in January 2017.
Joe Perticone at Business Insider:
The Washington Examiner fired at least two reporters on Friday, signaling a growing rightward shift at the conservative website and its companion magazine.
According to multiple current and former employees who spoke with INSIDER on the condition of anonymity, the Examiner parted ways with two of its nonpartisan, straight-news reporters, while keeping their commentary staff and announcing new hires in other roles.

The Examiner's firings, which came in the same two-week span as rounds of layoffs hammered the media industry, were "in no way" because of financial strain, according to one former employee. They were meant to take the website in a more conservative and Trump-friendly direction, according to sources.