PALM BEACH, Fla – No, it’s not reality, but radio giant Rush Limbaugh today pondered the possibility of taking over the management of CNN and running things the El Rushbo way.
America’s top-rated host was responding to a listener’s question about how long it would take to turn the cable-news network around and make it similar to what Fox News is.
“A couple of days. Just the announcement that I was going to run CNN would add a million viewers a night,” Limbaugh responded. “And then when we started making changes, it wouldn’t take long at all.”
CNN’s viewership has been plunging recently, and according to Nielsen TV ratings data, it is now a distant third behind Fox News and MSNBC.
For example, on Monday night, May 14, Nielsen indicates Fox News had a prime-time audience of 2.08 million viewers. MSNBC had an estimated 835,000 and CNN had only 325,000.
Limbaugh spent a large portion of his show discussing the possibility of his being in charge at CNN.
“If it were announced that I were going to be running CNN, could you imagine the excrement storm from everywhere if that happened?” he asked rhetorically. “But the tune-in factor would be through the roof, the curiosity tune-in factor. Do any of you doubt that you could improve it? Every one of you thinks you can improve it. Just go show by show. Segment by segment. ‘Nope, wouldn’t have done that, here’s the way to do that.’ Segment by segment you could fix CNN.”
He then got into specific steps he would take at CNN, saying it would not be difficult.
“Basically what I would do is have every editor there listen to this program, and then in prime time, everything we covered on this program would be treated as the news of the day, ’cause that’s what I do. I do the news of the day. They ignore the stuff that we find on this program. I just put the news on that they don’t find interesting or that they don’t think is news. This is a broad, broad overview.
“Philosophically, what CNN’s gotta do is decide who they want to be and then admit it. Right now, they’ve got themselves believing that they are objective, non-partisan journalists. They believe that MSNBC is liberal, that Fox is conservative and that they are Edward R. Murrow. …
“They also believe that the news should have no opinions while they’re full of opinions,” Limbaugh said with a chuckle. “The problem is they won’t own up to their opinions, they won’t admit to it. You’ve got to be competitive in the arena in which you choose to battle. And it’s very clear what cable news has become. It’s become personality-oriented opinion. Unabashed, fearless personality opinion. Anything else is pretense. And if you’re going to do personality-oriented opinion and then deny that’s what you’re doing, then you’re never gonna pull it off because people are going to realize you’re not even being honest with yourself.”
Limbaugh made it very clear, though, that no one should hold their breath waiting for him to ever run CNN.
“It’ll never happen. Don’t sweat it,” he said.
A YouTube video about Rush’s CNN analysis has now been created: