In an example of the increasing intolerance for opposing views, particularly about President Donald Trump, a conservative Denver radio host at 710 KNUS was cut off the air in mid show and fired after he criticized Trump. According to the Denver Post, former district attorney Craig Silverman had just criticized the President in a segment on Roy Cohn when the Program Director Kelly Michaels came into the studio and simply said “You’re Done.” Update: The company belated responded to media inquiries to deny that it fired Silverman for his views of President Trump.
Later on Twitter, Silverman (who voted and supported Trump until recently) said “I cannot and will not toe strict Trump party line. I call things as I see them. I see corruption and blatant dishonesty by President and his cronies. I also see bullying/smearing of American heroes w/courage to take oath and tell truth. Their bravery inspires me.”
In an interview on Sunday on CNN with Brian Stelter, Silverman said that the company was also unhappy about a column that he wrote that was critical of Trump. Silverman said that he found witnesses in the hearings to be quite credible and has rejected Trump’s continued insistence that his call with the Ukrainian president was “perfect.” As of Sunday afternoon, Silverman said that he had not heard from the company. Likewise, various media organization have also said that the company has declined to respond — a curious position for any media organization on a legitimate news story.
The Republicans have long prided themselves on being a “big tent party” but it seems to be shrinking to the size of a pup tent. The party cannot survive as simply the Grand Trump Party as shown in yesterday’s defeat of the Republicans in the Louisiana governor’s race despite multiple visits from Trump. Trump himself cast the race as a referendum on his impeachment in a state where he won by 20 points. The fact is that, while winning on electoral college votes, the GOP has lost the national popular vote in six out of seven presidential elections since 1992. That does not bode well for a party facing massive demographic and generational challenges.
KNUS is owned by by Salem Media of Colorado. It is a Christian values media company was founded by Stuart Epperson and Edward G. Atsinger III. They are brother-in-laws who run the stations as a for-profit company. Epperson is a member of the board of directors of the National Religious Broadcasters Association. The company has been criticized for pressuring hosts to maintain a pro-Trump line on their shows.
There is rising intolerance and orthodoxy on both ends of the political spectrum. However, the termination of a host for voicing widely shared criticism of the president is an ominous sign of this worsening age of rage.