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 TrumpJan. 6 committee chair says panel will issue a 'good number' of additional subpoenas Overnight Defense & National Security — Presented by AM General — Pentagon officials prepare for grilling Biden nominates head of Africa CDC to lead global AIDS response 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 ObamaObamas to break ground Tuesday on presidential center in Chicago Michelle Obama looks to mobilize voters for midterms We must mount an all-country response to help our Afghan allies 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.