The saga of the 2020 election cycle continues to unfold as major television networks have developed a partnership with Salem Media Group to air the upcoming Republican presidential debate before the Iowa Caucuses.
Salem Media Group’s involvement in the airtime allowance is concerning due to their connections to right-wing media outlets that have denied the legitimacy of the 2020 election results. This activity is particularly concerning given what’s at stake for the upcoming election – Biden’s administration has suggested the election may serve as a “referendum on democracy itself.”
Salem’s media operations include the conservative news site Townhall, Talk Radio Network, and the Salem Radio Network. These outlets have been instrumental in perpetuating untrue narratives that the 2020 election was marred with irregularities and fraud. This has been a popular talking point among those who subscribe to the ‘Stop the Steal’ campaign that has sought to undermine the validity of Joe Biden’s victory.
The news of NBC’s partnership with Salem is concerning to members of the media given the gravity of the situation at hand. Many are worried that the participation of a network connected to a promoter of 2020 election denial could prove dangerous. This is due to the potential of Salem’s involvement in spreading further inaccurate information about the election, which could ultimately harm public trust in the democratic process.
In response to the issue, an NBC spokesman has stated that they “believe it is important to give all candidates the opportunity to participate in the upcoming debates.” Although this may be true, it remains to be seen whether the decision to bring Salem Media Group onto a debate stage, and potentially give them a powerful platform to advance the denial of the 2020 election, will ultimately be beneficial.
In spite of Salem’s connections to right-wing media outlets, NBC is standing behind its decision to partner with them for the upcoming debate. It is a move that will likely be closely watched to assess the effects it will have on the political landscape. Will Salem be able to effectively give voice to those who are still trying to challenge the 2020 election results, or will the broadcast simply end up being a forum for misinformation?