PALM BEACH, Fla. – With CNN firmly entrenched in the abyss of the ratings sewer, radio host Rush Limbaugh is predicting a shift in the political viewpoint of the cable news network.
"I think I figured out what CNN's gonna do to try to recapture their lost glory," Limbaugh said this afternoon on his top-rated program.
"I think they're gonna move further to the left, try to even 'out-left' MSNBC. That's based on a couple of things I've seen. It's too early to know for certain. Too soon to tell right now. But it looks to me like that CNN is gonna move even further left in their valiant effort to recapture the 98 percent of their audience that they've lost since the 1980s."
CNN is at a 20-year low when it comes to viewership.
For instance, for Friday night, July 6, CNN's primetime audience was an astonishingly low 291,000 viewers nationally, according to Nielsen TV ratings data.
The Fox News Channel dominated the ratings that evening, with nearly 1.3 million viewers, and MSNBC a distant second at 568,000.
MSNBC is considered by many to be the network that leans the farthest to the political left, with Fox News at the opposite end of the spectrum.
With the presidential election coming up in November, Limbaugh points out media polls showing President Obama ahead of Republican Mitt Romney are not to be believed, as Jimmy Carter was shown with a 47-39 lead over Ronald Reagan in August of 1980, with Reagan winning the actual election in November in a landslide.
Limbaugh says the one constant between the 1980 race and the 2012 contest is the left-leaning media, and he says news reporters are internally quaking about what's really taking place.
"I'm here to tell you they are scared. Off-camera, off-mike, unseen while they're writing whatever they write, they are scared to death," he said. "Common sense, which they all have a little of – they all know this country's a disaster, they all know this economy is a disaster, they all know it's not Bush's fault, they all know that Obama hasn't the slightest clue what he's doing. None of that matters to them.
"Keeping Republicans out of power is all that matters to them. No matter what else happens, that's all that matters. And so, the coverage and what's not covered newswise each and every day is going to be structured in such a way as to reflect, 'Hey, it's the new norm. Nobody cares. It's fine. We wish the job situation was a little bit better. And we wish the debt situation was a little bit better. But we're gonna have health care for everybody pretty soon.' Just cast this circumstance just as normal as when the country is robustly healthy. All by design. Because that's what they want it to be."
Regarding CNN specifically, Limbaugh said on a previous show in May that if he were to run the network, it would not be difficult to turn around its ratings catastrophe.
"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."