Update (below): Limbaugh walks back Fox News criticism
Republican shock jock Rush Limbaugh advanced a view on Monday that very few in the conservative media would dare to enunciate: he told a caller to stop watching Fox News, particularly the network’s panel discussions, which he said are “designed to get you ticked off.”
“You know, you need to stop watching these people, because they’re not going to change, Tony,” Limbaugh said, talking down a caller who seemed convinced that Obama is preparing to launch a “Stalinist” attack on America with windmills and solar panels. “I really care. You’ve got to stop watching these people.”
“All these names you mention, they’re not going to change,” he went on, noting the caller’s reference to the network’s ostensibly liberal pundits. “And you’re exactly right, if all of this were happening with a Republican president — which it wouldn’t, it couldn’t by definition, we don’t believe in these policies — but if it were, you’re right. They’d be raising holy hell about it. They’d be calling the president cold-hearted, mean, extremist, exclusionary. The rich, they’d be all over a Republican president. But that isn’t gonna change.”
“So your blood pressure is going to suffer if you keep watching these people,” Limbaugh added. “They’re designed to get you ticked off. They’re designed to make you question your sanity. You’re gonna watch these people and say, ‘How in the world can we have such idiotic people?’ And you’re gonna thing maybe they’re not and you’re crazy. And I assure you, Tony, you’re not. Trust me on that.”
A recent Gallup poll of Americans’ news consumption habits revealed that Fox News is still the most popular 24-hour news network, with about 8 percent of Americans who use TV as their primary source of news tuning into the Republican-leaning channel. As such, a whopping 94 percent of their viewing audience claims to be either a strong Republican voter or at least leaning Republican.
CNN trailed behind Fox News in AP’s news consumer poll out on Monday, pulling in about 7 percent of American TV news viewers, most of them moderates or voters who lean Democratic. That’s still pretty good compared to the Democratic-leaning MSNBC, which clocked in at just 1 percent of TV news viewers, just above “non-specific” cable news in the poll.
On his Tuesday show, Republican shock jock Rush Limbaugh walked back his criticism of Fox News, explaining that when he said “stop watching these people,” he really meant select people on the network. “I said stop listening to these people that make you mad,” he insisted. “What else am I gonna say?”
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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