Friendly Advice to CNN -- Change Everything

CNN just had their lowest ratings in a decade. They are in disastrous shape. When I was on MSNBC, we would beat them with a stick. Even after "pro-CNN" stories like revolutions in Egypt and Libya, Japanese nuclear meltdowns and the killing of Osama bin Laden (CNN does much better when major news or international stories break out), we still beat them. Now they're doing so poorly I might even catch them on Current.

We started at almost nothing on Current, but we have been steadily improving our numbers. Why are we getting traction? Because people want an alternative -- the real news. So, I should just stay quiet and let CNN drive off that cliff. By the way, when I catch Erin Burnett -- which is not that far off because I'm beginning to see her in the distance in the demos -- everyone will know it. Who knows, that might be the event that precipitates CNN re-thinking their entire model. Imagine if a network that started at nearly nothing catches CNN within a year.

But I am not going to wait until then to give them some friendly advice. I know they won't perceive it that way, but I am actually trying to help them. So here it is -- for the love of God, stop doing "he said, she said" crap that doesn't actually deliver the news to anyone. Democrats said this and Republicans said that -- who cares? What is the reality?! Your job is supposed to be to bring us facts, not what official spokespeople told you in their press releases and talking points.

The problem is that CNN doesn't have the courage to do this. They're afraid it might offend some folks if you tell the American people reality. I want to be clear; I'm not saying they should give us opinion. There's plenty of that in other parts of cable, including my show. They're never going to out-opinion me. But if Mitt Romney says his proposal balances the budget, well, why don't you crunch the numbers and tell us whether that's true or not? Of course the reality is that it creates trillions of dollars in deficits just so that the rich can have more tax cuts. But CNN would consider reporting those facts as being biased.

If the Giants play the Cowboys and beat them silly, it is not biased to report that they won. You don't have a pro-Giants bias if you report the score. I'm a progressive but I have no interest in CNN skewing issues in favor of Democrats. By all means, call them out just as aggressively. The Democratic Party takes huge amounts of cash from corporations and unions to vote a certain way. My God, CNN doesn't even cover the role of money in politics. They take politicians at their word. Are you kidding? It seems like the people who work at CNN are the last people in the country who actually trust our politicians. Congressional approval ratings were recently at 11 percent. How well do you think you're going to do on television if you're sucking up to those guys?

By the way, following along with artificially created Fox News scandals doesn't give you balance. It makes you sad and pathetic. There are plenty of real Democratic scandals without falling into the rubbish Fox talks about. How much money does Chuck Schumer take from Wall Street? What favors does he give them in return? Why do Democratic leaders keep writing legislation rigged against the Internet -- could it have something to do with the tremendous amount of cash they take from Hollywood companies? Why does President Obama get a free pass on following George Bush's civil liberties abuses like warrantless wiretapping and indefinite detentions?

In other words, do your job -- report the news. The real news, not dueling talking points and manufactured controversies. My God, where is your investigative team? What's the last story you broke? Of course, the reality is that you don't want to break stories about Washington because that might offend some people. What kind of a so-called news operation is this afraid of their own shadow? "Oh my God, what if we offended someone in power. They might not come on our shows anymore and they might call us biased." Or they might call you journalists.

Sam Donaldson was on our show a long time ago and told us a really cool story about his old boss at ABC News, Roone Arledge. He said when he was covering the Reagan White House (and later the Clinton White House, too), whenever the administration called up to complain about him, Arledge would give him a raise. How far away from that model are we now? When politicians call up to complain now, "news" executives wet themselves in fear. Stand up to them! Do journalism! Challenge government!

And you know something amazing might happen -- people might actually watch you again.

Watch The Young Turks Here and Here

 

Follow Cenk Uygur on Twitter: www.twitter.com/CenkUygur

 

 

A Challenge to Rush: Prove Your Ratings

How many listeners does Rush Limbaugh have? Well, in the press there are only two numbers you'll ever see -- 20 million or 15 million. Those are large numbers, so that is why Limbaugh is taken seriously and is believed to be influential.

 

I've got news for you -- those numbers are a total fabrication. They're made up out of whole cloth. You want to know where the 20 million number came from? It was first printed inBillboard magazine back in 1993. Here is the quote:

"Limbaugh's show is now heard on 610 stations and reaches approximately 20 million listeners, according to [Kit] Carson."

So who is Kit Carson? A guy known as Rush Limbaugh's "chief of staff." In other words, Rush's team simply made up the 20 million number and everyone believed it. He has never, ever presented any evidence to that effect.

The 15 million number comes from Michael Harrison of Talkers magazine. He is considered the leading expert on the talk radio industry. He is a good man and fights hard for his industry. You want to know where he came up with the number? Pretty much pulled it out of the sky. When Tommy Christopher of AOL News (at the time, he is now with Mediate) asked him how he arrived at the figure, here is what Harrison said:

They are only our thumbnail estimates based upon our contacts in the field, tracking of Arbitron estimates and understanding of the business. We make no claims as to "scientific" accuracy... [T]hey are not "ratings" per se.

I love that -- they are not ratings, per se. In other words, those are not his ratings at all! Harrison might have well said, "We took blind guesses and added 5 million, divided by four, multiplied by 12 and then sprinkled some fairy dust on it."

There are no national numbers for Rush's radio audience.

And it gets worse. Until 2007 radio had the worst rating system ever invented. I know, I worked in the industry, and we all knew the numbers were total nonsense. They measured ratings by giving people "diaries." They would keep these diaries for three months and all along they were supposed to be recording what they listened to on the radio every fifteen minutes. What a joke. Most people would fill out the diary at the end and scribble down what they thought they remembered.

So, under that system, big names do much better. You might not remember that you were listening to DJ Ralph McClusky on 106.7FM, but everyone remembered Howard and Rush. The bigger your name (and hype), the more people wrote you down whether they actually listened to you or not. They also wrote down they listened to you more often -- another huge advantage. And does anyone believe that people actually remembered what they were listening to at 2:15PM two and a half months ago?

Then in 2007, radio started switching over to something called Portable People Meters. This did not rely on human memory. It's a device that picks up the radio signal wherever you are and records the station you're actually listening to. So, what happened? It turns out people were listening to a lot more music than they realized and a lot less talk. So, the sports stations, the hot talk and the conservative talk stations were all hurt.

Last year, Crain's New York Business reported that Rush Limbaugh's ratings were down 33 percent. The portable people meters have been expanding to different markets throughout these years (they didn't just replace all of the diaries instantly in 2007, it's taken a while). So, it's unclear how much Rush was hurt by the more accurate readings last year and how much people just stopped listening to him.

But one thing is for sure -- he's hurt, dog! That's why we see the unprecedented apologyfrom him on Sandra Fluke. When this controversy first broke, I predicted on our show that more advertisers would drop him (at the time, only two had). Advertisers are much more likely to drop a controversial guy if his numbers are already down. They'll ride it out if he's still delivering the goods. This is the same thing that happened to Imus. His ratings were miserable already, so advertisers didn't have enough incentive to stick with him when trouble arose.

So, Rush is in big trouble now as more and more advertisers peel off. He's in a tail spin. Why else would you triple down on the "slut" comments from Wednesday to Friday and then issue an apology on Saturday? He has over-reached (in his offensive comments) and undelivered (in his ratings). That's a lethal combo.

But Rush can easily prove me wrong. So, I'm issuing a challenge to him -- show us your ratings. He won't do it because he's embarrassed by them. He has never produced evidence of his ratings and he certainly won't do it now. In fact, I'll make a Mitt Romney like wager. I'll give him $10,000 if he can show us his 20 million listeners.

He claims that 20 million is daily listeners, so that'll be the standard we use. I laugh and laugh as I write that down. Some articles write it is a weekly number, some say monthly. There is no way he can prove even 15 million listeners weekly. I'd be shocked if he can show that kind of monthly number. And is it unique listeners or are they counting the same guys who tune in every day?

Rush's audience is a myth. He is a paper tiger. Do some people listen to him? Of course. Is it anywhere near the hype? Not remotely. Talk radio is a dying business. I wouldn't be surprised if his daily listeners didn't even reach a million. I wouldn't be surprised if we have more online viewers on The Young Turks (which are 100 percent Google verifiable) than he has radio listeners.

Rush is a sad, old man that a couple of other sad, old men listen to. His days are numbered. Rush, it definitely wasn't nice knowing you. Tick tock, tick tock.

Watch The Young Turks on Current

Follow Cenk Uygur on Twitter: www.twitter.com/CenkUygur

 

Hedge fund managers meet in secret with lawmakers, make a killing with inside info

http://current.com/shows/the-young-turks/videos/hedge-fund-managers-meet-in-secret-with-lawmakers-make-a-killing-with-inside-info

Not only are employees of big banks making an obscene amount of money — the CEO of JP Morgan earned more than $10,000 an hour in 2011 — a new “Wall Street Journal” piece reveals that hedge fund managers are meeting secretly with lawmakers before announcing the details of bills.

 

Hedge fund managers meet in secret with lawmakers, make a killing with inside info

http://current.com/shows/the-young-turks/videos/hedge-fund-managers-meet-in-secret-with-lawmakers-make-a-killing-with-inside-info

Not only are employees of big banks making an obscene amount of money — the CEO of JP Morgan earned more than $10,000 an hour in 2011 — a new “Wall Street Journal” piece reveals that hedge fund managers are meeting secretly with lawmakers before announcing the details of bills.

 

‘We were supposed to get change,’ not Defense Authorization Act stripping civil liberties

CLICK HERE to Watch

Cenk returns to the Defense Authorization Act, which the White House now says senior advisers will not recommend that President Obama should veto. “In all of the troubles I’ve got with President Obama, he couldn’t be that bad, right?” Cenk says he thought, even as others argued that NDAA seemed constructed to give the executive branch more power, not less. “You’re not going to get any of this in the mainstream media. You’ll get robots that say, ‘Defense Authorization Act passed, it was bipartisan so it must be good.’ Well, it’s not. It’s horrible. It’s hideous. Look, I’m opposed to Newt Gingrich because I think he’s a danger to the Republic. But look at this! This is a danger to the Republic. What’s the point electing Obama if he’s going to do Bush or even worse than Bush? We were supposed to get change!”

 

 

Diaries

Advertise Blogads