Inside the Beltway: Mandates disrupt talk radio

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There’s some serious static on the nation’s airwaves. Dan Bongino is among the high-profile population of talk-radio hosts who are taking a stand against vaccine mandates, according to an industry report.

Several national radio companies now require employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and the mandate ”is causing angst for some in the industry,” said Talkers Magazine, a publication that has tracked the field since 1990.

“Already, a handful of radio personalities have chosen to be terminated from their positions rather than get a vaccine,” the trade publication reported Wednesday.

“But the threat by talk host Dan Bongino to leave his program syndicated by Cumulus Media’s Westwood One if the company doesn’t retreat on the mandate has pushed the issue into mainstream news outlets,” the magazine said.

Indeed, Mr. Bongino’s opposition to vaccination mandates — plus his absence from the airwaves this week — has been covered by Forbes, Salon, The Washington Post and other sources.

The conservative host himself is already vaccinated but said he’s “taking this stand” for those who also work in the field.

“Bongino has clearly drawn a red line in the sand and both parties have boldly stepped over it. Now it’s a matter of image and pride for each. Unless this is defused by a masterful display of diplomacy in which both sides can save face and move the issue forward to the benefit of all involved — including society at large,” said Michael Harrison, founder of Talkers Magazine, in a statement.

“One thing’s for sure. We’ve come a long way from the old morals clause that was a standard part of media talent contracts. We’ll now be seeing a political clause become part of the deal in talk media management and talent legal agreements,” Mr. Harrison predicted.

EQUAL RIGHTS ‘BEGIN IN THE WOMB’

The annual March for Life — which draws many thousands of pro-life people to the National Mall each January — has revealed the 2022 theme of this big event: “Equality Begins in the Womb.”

The new theme was announced Wednesday by March for Life president Jeanne Mancini at the Heritage Foundation, where she was joined by Kay Cole James, president of the organization; Carrie Severino, president of Judicial Crisis Network; Ryan Bomberger, co-founder of the Radiance Foundation; and Dr. Grazie Christie, a radiologist and policy advisor for The Catholic Association.

“The pro-life movement recognizes the immense responsibility this nation bears to restore equal rights to its most defenseless citizens in the womb. Since Roe v. Wade, scientific advances have undeniably confirmed the humanity of the unborn, and today most Americans agree there should be significant limits on abortion,” Ms. Mancini said.

The 49th annual March for Life, the world’s largest annual human rights demonstration, will be held on Jan. 21. Find the details at MarchforLife.org.

WHERE’S KAMALA?

The press continues to wonder about the whereabouts of Vice President Kamala D. Harris, a phenomenon which has attracted some coverage in the last 48 hours.

“There appears to be a growing visible distance between Vice President Kamala Harris and President Biden, as their joint appearances together dropped from 38 in February to just seven so far this month, amid Biden’s rapidly declining poll numbers,” reported the New York Post.

“Essential politics: What is Kamala Harris doing with her time?” asked the Los Angeles Times, which now tracks the vice president’s events on a public calendar.

“Kamala Harris is looking for the lifeboats on President Biden’s sinking ship,” Fox News host Greg Gutfeld quipped Wednesday.

“Apparently not wanting to put her future political ambitions in jeopardy, the vice president is quietly shunning joint public events with the ‘big guy.’ She used to be by his side all the time, but events between the two are on the decline. They reportedly appeared 18 times together in February but once in September and once in October,” Mr. Gutfeld continued.

“Apparently she’s unhappy because she didn’t get any fun jobs,” he said.

YOUNGKIN, CIATTARELLI INTRIGUE THE PRESS

There are only two gubernatorial elections to be decided next week. The bout between former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe and GOP challenger Glenn Youngkin is close indeed. But how close? The press has all the descriptors ready, and here are a few from the last 24 hours.

They are “deadlocked,” said Fox News, MSNBC and The Hill, while USA Today said the two rivals are “in a dead heat” and National Review declared they were “dead even.”

But wait. What about the race between New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, and Republican challenger Jack M. Ciattarelli? That too has inspired some creative coverage.

“The New Jersey governor’s race is getting interesting and maybe even competitive,” noted New York magazine.

“Can Jack Ciattarelli beat Phil Murphy? A poll show he suddenly has a shot,” said Newsweek while Bloomberg News put it this way: “Murphy’s lead in New Jersey governor race has narrowed.”

NEWS OF THE NIGHTLY NEWS

Wonder which broadcast network rules the nightly news kingdom?

The answer is ABC’s “World News Tonight with David Muir,” which draws an average 7.8 million viewers each night according to Nielsen Media Research. This marks the sixth consecutive year that ABC has dominated the competition, the network said in a statement.

“NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt” placed second with an audience of 6.7 million, with “CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell” ranked third with 4.9 million viewers.

POLL DU JOUR

• 43% of registered U.S. voters say the results of the 2020 presidential election should “definitely not be overturned”; 14% of Republicans, 41% of independents and 72% of Democrats agree.

• 12% say they should “probably not” be overturned; 16% of Republicans, 13% of independents and 8% of Democrats agree.

• 13% overall say the results should “probably” be overturned; 18% of Republicans, 12% of independents and 8% of Democrats agree.

• 22% overall say the results should “definitely be overturned”; 42% of Republicans, 15% of independents and 8% of Democrats agree.

• 11% overall don’t know or have no opinion on the issue; 10% of Republicans, 19% of independents and 5% of Democrats agree.

SOURCE: A Politico/Morning Consult poll of 1,999 registered U.S. voters conducted Oct. 22-24.

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