When John Eastman, the visiting conservative scholar at CU and an attorney now famous for working to verify the Big Lie, was announced as a guest on the Peter Boyles Show over two days last week, there were hints that things could get heated.
Eastman terminated the conversation abruptly after Boyles compared the evidentiary value of Eastman’s sworn affidavits supporting claims of voter fraud to someone claiming to have seen Bigfoot.
Boyles’ station, KNUS, is an on-air battlefield among conservative hosts, guests, and listeners who regularly hash out the power struggles at play in the Colorado GOP between factions of grassroots and establishment Republicans.
Eastman has wide support among the former group, who appreciate his efforts to substantiate the Big Lie, false claims by former president Donald Trump and others of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election.
Eastman’s supervisors at CU would presumably be among the latter group of establishment Republicans. The Bruce D. Benson Center for the Study of Western Civilization which brought Eastman to CU, is named for the stalwart Colorado GOP donor, former CU president, and former candidate for Colorado governor, who was prominent in the pre-Tea Party era of Colorado politics.
Eastman’s role at CU as visiting scholar was reduced by his supervisors, and the terms of Eastman’s reduced capacity at CU are the subject of his lawsuit, claiming infringement of First Amendment rights.
Eastman’s lawyers in the CU suit are both conservative talk radio hosts, one currently broadcasting at KNUS, and the other relegated to a podcast after being dismissed from KNUS airwaves. Both have given sympathetic air time on their shows to promote the claims of the Big Lie.
But Boyles, who is not a registered Republican, has staked out a role as a Big Lie skeptic on his morning show. Early on after the election and loudly ever since, Boyles has challenged the Big Lie conspiracists to present solid and direct evidence to support their claims.
Eastman appeared on Boyles’ Wednesday’s show for 25 minutes, and was invited back Friday to continue the discussion. Boyles had wanted to discuss Eastman’s First Amendment lawsuit, but the discussion inevitably entered into Big Lie territory. Boyles had agreed not to discuss Eastman’s departure from Chapman University on the air, citing pending litigation.
It was a “really rough segment” as Boyles and his producer Billy Thorpe characterized it in an on-air post mortem Monday morning.
HOST PETER BOYLES He said, “Well, we have all these affidavits.” And I said, “Well, I can sign an affidavit [that] said I saw Bigfoot. It doesn’t mean–.” And then, wham! [presumably referring to Eastman hanging up on the call]. […] We had a moment. And I’m trying to get him back, which shows you how I feel about it.
PRODUCER BILLY THORPE: He shouldn’t come back.
BOYLES: He should not? No!
THORPE No! No, because all that’s going to happen [is] […] it’s going to be the emperor has no clothes on again. That’s all that’s going to happen. It has happened twice. It has happened twice! I know. I understand the people that believe it, saying, “Oh my God!” you know, “He had all these statistics!” No.
BOYLES: No, he didn’t.
THORPE: […] I’m sorry — he was a clown show! […] Of the stuff that he pulled out that he said proved election fraud, [it] was crap! It was absolute crap!
Discussing the spot on Monday morning, Boyles was looking for a silver lining to the cloud of any potential animosity or hurt feelings, as listeners texted unfriendly and accusatory comments to the radio host.
“BT and I have always said, when a guest hangs up on you, it is talk radio gold!” Boyles said. “And I’ve had, you know, people walk out and doors slam and everything. And it’s okay, you know, it’s part of what you do.”
Boyles reported being consoled by his two radio colleagues, who reassured Boyles that he’d done nothing out of line nor inappropriate in his interview with their client. One of Eastman’s lawyers excused Eastman’s hanging up on the call, saying he was “edgy” and “he’s going through a lot.”
Click here to listen to the entire segment where Eastman’s Friday appearance is recalled and debriefed by Peter Boyles, KNUS newsman Tom Moller, and show producer Billy Thorpe.