A bevy of SiriusXM hosts came out in defense of free speech and the satellite radio giant after former Vermont governor Howard Dean and actor Seth Rogan threatened to cancel their SiriusXM subscriptions in protest of the network naming Breitbart News executive chairman Steve Bannon host of its daily radio program Breitbart News Daily.
Dean slammed SiriusXM for the move in a tweet Friday, linking to the network’s tweet announcing the news: “You should be ashamed of yourselves. I will not renew my subscription.”
You should be ashamed of yourselves. I will not renew my subscription. https://t.co/Hy0XePeRI2
— Howard Dean (@GovHowardDean) December 7, 2017
Rogen pledged to pull out of scheduled interviews on SiriusXM satellite radio in protest of Bannon return as a regular host on the platform.
I was supposed to do a press tour on @SIRIUSXM on teusday but I'm no longer doing it because I can't bring myself to appear on the same service that has decided to support Steve Bannon. Apologies to the shows I had to cancel. And fuck Steve Bannon.
— Seth Rogen (@Sethrogen) December 8, 2017
Dean’s tweet, however, sparked intense pushback from several SiriusXM hosts, many of them imploring the former presidential candidate to redouble his efforts to win debates for liberal Democrats instead of attempting to stifle the freedom of speech of his political opponents.
“Really? I disagree profoundly with Steve Bannon and I make that perfectly clear on my SXM show. However, I don’t believe in silencing people with whom I disagree,” read a tweet from the official Twitter account of Steele & Ungar, a SiriusXM radio show hosted by former Chairman of the Republican National Committee Michael Steele and senior political contributor at Forbes.com Rick Ungar.
“You have a public voice-use it to take on Bannon and his ideas but trying to shut him up-when there is a rather large audience who wants to hear him, isn’t the way to do this,” the tweet said. “Debates are won by doing a better job and making your point in your argument-not by shutting up your opponents. You should know better than this.”
Really? I disagree profoundly with Steve Bannon and I make that perfectly clear on my SXM show. However, I don’t believe in silencing people with whom I disagree. You have a public voice-use it to take on Bannon and his ideas but trying to shut him up-when there is a rather…1/2
— Steele & Ungar (@SteeleAndUngar) December 7, 2017
2/2..large audience who wants to hear him, isn’t the way to do this. Debates are won by doing a better job and making your point in your argument-not by shutting up your opponents. You should know better than this.
— Steele & Ungar (@SteeleAndUngar) December 7, 2017
In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, SiriusXM spokesman Patrick Reilly said: “Since its inception, SiriusXM has promised to deliver a diversity of opinions and viewpoints, from conservative to progressive to everything in between.”
“SiriusXM takes no political position of our own across our more than 175 channels, but we are here to provide an open forum no matter where listeners stand on the political spectrum. Free speech is vitally important,” the statement said. “We ardently believe that by allowing a virtually unlimited platform of viewpoints, we are doing our best to uphold that core value.”
Similarly, journalist and SiriusXM host Mike Signorile said: “We are doing our work at Progress, and not inhibited. I just hope for consistency you are canceling your cable service because Fox is included (and btw you can get a sxm package that excludes Patriot channel).”
We are doing our work at Progress, and not inhibited. I just hope for consistency you are canceling your cable service because Fox is included (and btw you can get a sxm package that excludes Patriot channel)
— Mike Signorile (@MSignorile) December 8, 2017
Left-wing comedian and SiriusXM host Dean Obeidallah urged Dean not to cancel his subscription, noting that the fallout could hurt Democrats’ election prospects in 2018.
“Gov dean -steve bannon is a vile bigot. I host a show on @SXMProgress and we need you and help of others to crush bannon,” wrote Obeidallah. “But If u leave and progressives follow u it undermines our efforts to use the progress channel as a vehicle to help Dems win in 2018 and beyond. We need you.”
Gov dean -steve bannon is a vile bigot. I host a show on @SXMProgress and we need you and help of others to crush bannon. But If u leave and progressives follow u it undermines our efforts to use the progress channel as a vehicle to help Dems win in 2018 and beyond. We need you
— (((DeanObeidallah))) (@Deanofcomedy) December 7, 2017
Other hosts, including Karen Hunter, Joe Madison, and conservative host Andrew Wilkow, encouraged Dean to keep his subscription and listen to other SiriusXM channels.
See their reactions below.
— Karen Hunter (@karenhunter) December 7, 2017
I’ll second this @GovHowardDean!
— Joe Madison (@MadisonSiriusXM) December 7, 2017
Pls don’t cancel your subscription. You know btr than anyone that Dems/Progressives have conceded the airwaves to RW. Support #ReisitanceRadio@SXMProgress. #LoveRadioNotHateRadio@MakeItPlain is on opposite Bannon. Turn him off! Turn us on!
— #MIP #GetWoke 6-9a E (@MakeItPlain) December 7, 2017
— Andrew Wilkow (@WilkowMajority) December 8, 2017
In addition to Breitbart News’ weekday morning program Breitbart News Daily on Patriot Channel 125, SiriusXM announced Tuesday a new three-hour weeknight show, Breitbart News Tonight, and expanded weekend programming.
As Breitbart News reported:
On December 4, SiriusXM also launched Breitbart News Tonight, a political news and talk show that will broadcast live from 9:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m. ET / 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. PT. Joel Pollak, Breitbart’s Senior Editor-at-Large and in-house Counsel, and Rebecca Mansour, Senior West Coast Editor-at-Large, will host the new program from Breitbart’s headquarters in Los Angeles.
In the era of 24-hour news cycles, Pollak and Mansour will provide a preview of the headlines that will drive the next day’s news and offer expert analysis of the biggest breaking political news. The three-hour program will also feature interviews with major newsmakers and influential leaders from both coasts, as well as the Heartland.
Breitbart News Saturday, airing live at 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. ET, will be hosted by Breitbart London Editor Raheem Kassam, who will bring exclusive interviews with leading international figures and coverage of the populist nationalist revolution taking place across Europe and the world.
In early 2018, additional live programming will join the weekend lineup to complement Breitbart News Saturday and Breitbart News Sunday – both already heard on Sirius XM’s Patriot channel.
Breitbart’s new programming for 2018 is being developed around political thought leaders Dr. Sebastian Gorka, a former Deputy Assistant to President Donald J. Trump, Sonnie Johnson, and also Breitbart Washington Editor Matthew Boyle, Breitbart National Security Editor Frances Martel, and Breitbart Texas Editor Brandon Darby.
SiriusXM subscribers can hear Breitbart News programming via SiriusXM On Demand, through the SiriusXM app on smartphones and other connected devices, as well as online at www.siriusxm.com/player.
SiriusXM’s 200+ channels – including SiriusXM’s Patriot channel – are also available for streaming to SiriusXM subscribers nationwide with Amazon Alexa. Go to www.SiriusXM.com/AmazonAlexa to learn more.
Follow Jerome Hudson on Twitter: @JeromeEHudson
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