Donald Trump’s call to ban Muslim immigrants is being amplified by media programs millions of Americans listen to every day: talk radio.
“My only problem with Trump’s comments is that they don’t go far enough,” Dale Jackson of 1070WAPI said during his morning talk radio program in Birmingham and Huntsville on Tuesday. Jackson called for an end to all immigration. “We are not the world’s garbage can.”
Nick Reed, a talk radio host with Missouri’s KSGF, spent much of his morning program Tuesday praising Trump’s call to ban Muslim immigration. “What is there not to like about Donald Trump’s plan?” he asked.
As Buzzfeed reported Tuesday, the biggest names in talk radio — Laura Ingraham, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Mark Levin — “showed different levels of sympathy for Trump’s idea.”
Frank Gaffney, the president of the Center for Security Policy, the anti-Muslim advocacy group that sponsored the poll Trump cited in his announcement on Monday, has been taking a victory lap.
“Everything you’ve been saying has come true, and now with Trump, do you think it’s time to have a frank and full conversation about what this issue is?” Breitbart News’ Stephen Bannon asked Gaffney on SiriusXM. Gaffney replied that he hoped the country would focus on discussing “sharia,” which he described as “a toxic ideology that seeks the destruction of this country and everything it stands for.”
Gaffney warned that Muslims abroad and Muslims here at home share dangerous beliefs in Islamic law, and expressed pleasure that discourse has shifted toward a greater focus on this alleged threat. “I hope Donald Trump is going to be able to catalyze that,” he said.
On his own Secure Freedom Radio program, which airs in the Washington, D.C. area, Gaffney hosted former federal prosecutor and National Review columnist Andy McCarthy, who argued that a ban on Muslim immigration does not violate the Constitution. McCarthy said that Islam is an “ideological system,” not a religion “as the Framers were conceiving religion when they put religious freedom in the Constitution.”
Indiana News/Talk 95.3 host Casey Hendrickson discussed Trump’s idea with mostly supportive callers. He also tried to rationalize the plan. “Well, I think because we’re dealing with a unique situation. We’re dealing with radical Islamists who are coming over in the name of their religion,” Hendrickson said.
Inside Radio, a trade publication, notes that Trump has been “cozying up to conservative talk radio.” He sometimes calls in unexpectedly, and spent $300,000 advertising on talk radio in early primary states, his only advertising buy of the election so far.