Talk show hosts employed by the syndicator Salem Media Group were ordered to show favoritism toward then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump during the 2016 election, according to a report by CNN.
The article published Wednesday by CNN reporters Hadas Gold and Oliver Darcy relied on e-mails sent by Salem Media Group executives with talk show hosts and other employees throughout the company. The e-mails were obtained from Elisha Krauss, a talk show host who claims she was fired “because of her refusal to play along,” CNN reported.
Krauss worked for KRLA, Salem Media’s flagship station in Los Angeles, where she co-hosted “The Morning Answer” with conservative commentator Ben Shapiro and others. The e-mails obtained by CNN were sent by Salem executives to Krauss, Shapiro and others concerning content broadcast on “The Morning Answer.”
In one e-mail, a Salem executive criticized the morning show for playing audio clips from Melania Trump’s speech at the Republican National Convention, which borrowed heavily from a similar speech delivered by former First Lady Michelle Obama several years earlier.
“Do we really need a side-by-side audio comparison of Trump’s wife’s speech with Michelle Obama’s?” the executive wrote in the e-mail obtained by CNN. “How is that ultimately relevant to the big picture and advance of the cause?”
The “cause” mentioned in the e-mail was apparently a directive issued by Salem Media executives to talk show hosts at “The Morning Answer” and other syndicated programs that hosts show favoritism toward the GOP contender during his run two years ago. Krauss, who espoused conservative viewpoints on the program, said despite her political leanings she didn’t feel it was right for Salem Media to hire talk show hosts for their opinions only to dictate what those opinions would be later on.
“They shouldn’t do it with the facade that they’re delivering multi-level opinions and they’re not puppeteering those opinions,” Krauss said according to CNN.
Phil Boyce, a senior executive with Salem Media, told CNN in a statement that it “should not surprise anybody” that the company favored conservative-leaning opinions for its programs because that’s “what our audience wants.”
“That research shows that our listeners want our hosts to support the President when he does well, and criticize him if and when he does or says something wrong,” Boyce said according to the news network, adding that Krauss’ firing had nothing to do with her opinions or political leanings.