CNN: Salem radio executives pressured hosts to back off Trump criticism

CNN: Salem radio executives pressured hosts to back off Trump criticism
© Greg Nash

Two conservative radio hosts known for their criticism of President TrumpDonald John TrumpRepublicans aim to avoid war with White House over impeachment strategy New York Times editorial board calls for Trump's impeachment Trump rips Michigan Rep. Dingell after Fox News appearance: 'Really pathetic!' MORE were asked in emails by Salem Media Group executives to support Trump's campaign with positive coverage, CNN reports.

Emails obtained by CNN that were sent to KRLA "The Morning Answer" hosts Elisha Krauss and Ben Shapiro explicitly urge the two to tamp down coverage of "negative minutiae" on Trump. 

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"What I have been hearing on TMA ... has not been in the spirit of 'supporting the GOP nominee,' " Salem general manager Terry Fahy wrote to the pair of hosts.

"In fact, it seems that the show gets into negative minutiae of the Trump campaign and the GOP convention (e.g. criticizing Trump for having his kids speak at the convention.) Do we really need a side by side audio comparison of Trump's wife's speech with Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson ObamaMichelle Obama encourages Greta Thunberg after Trump attack: 'Ignore the doubters' Panel: Andrew Yang beats Joe Biden in ad dollars, Michelle Obama on GWB 'our values are the same' Michelle Obama, Ellen DeGeneres surprise DC elementary school with new computer lab, 0K donation MORE's? How is that ultimately relevant to the big picture and advance the cause?" his email continues.

Krauss told CNN that she suspects her opinions about then-candidate Trump led to her abrupt firing during a January 2017 meeting, and said she takes issue with the company supposedly hiring a commentator for their views before pressuring them to change behind the scenes.

"They shouldn't [hire people] with the facade that they're delivering multi-level opinions and they're not puppeteering those opinions," Krauss said.

In a statement to CNN, one Salem executive named on the emails told the news channel that Krauss was not let go due to her anti-Trump views, and defended the station's pro-Trump bent as the result of "a lot of research on 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," Phil Boyce told CNN.