Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Fox’s History of Dishonesty

Over the past two years, Fox News has promoted several egregious lies that have had serious political repercussions. These fake scandals have not been the result of a lone wolf; each was promoted by multiple hosts on the network. While those on other networks have stated falsehoods (which I have extensively documented), none can claim to have pushed so many lies that have proven to be so false.

This is not to say that Fox hasn’t done some superb journalism, it has. I praised Fox News for its fair and well rounded presidential debate. I am also a fan of the Fox Report and Greta Van Susteren. Even if Fox’s hard news anchors (and Greta) were completely without fault, it would not excuse Fox’s opinion hosts from having to be accurate. Occasionally, some of Fox’s hard news anchors promoted faux controversies, but I will be focusing on the failures of Fox’s opinion hosts. 

Death Panels

During the Summer of 2009, America was debating Heath Care Reform. Few people were able to understand the complicated and nuanced legislation. The media primarily focused on the strategy and gamesmanship surrounding the bill rather than explaining what it would do. As a result many lies snuck into the debate with one rising above all the rest: Death Panels.

On August 7th Sarah Palin wrote on her facebook page that  

The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama's 'death panel' so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their 'level of productivity in society,' whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil.

She was referring to a provision in the bill that pays doctors for voluntary meetings to discuss end of life issues, such as how long a person wants to live on life-support. Such measures would give patients more control over their health care. It would also save Medicare money by not having to spend on end of life care beyond the point that patients desire it. There is no panel involved, just you and your doctor. Sarah Palin used her son with Down syndrome to push a sensationalistic and outright false claim about health care reform. Politifact rated Sarah Palin’s facebook message “pants on fire,” a designation that they save for the most ridiculous claims.

Fox News prominently promoted this lie on Hannity, Fox and Friends, Glenn Beck, Your World  with Neil Cavuto, and the O’Reilly Factor. When Andrew Napolitano filled in for Glenn Beck on January 3rd, 2011 he said that there are now death panels that will “tell Grandma and Granpa, which will someday be all of us, how and when to die.”

Politifact made “Death Panels” its 2009 lie of the year.

[Read more about the Death Panels myth: Politifact]

ACORN Videos

On September 10, 2009 James O’Keefe announced on, a website run by Andrew Breitbart, that he would reveal on that website the results of an undercover investigation into the community organizing group ACORN showing their willingness to aid O’Keefe in starting a child prostitution business.

Fox News ran with the story immediately. They gave it wall to wall coverage on Hannity, Fox and Friends, Glenn Beck, and the O’Reilly Factor. The story they told was shocking. Dressed as a pimp and a prostitute, James O’Keefe and Hanna Giles entered ACORN offices across the country and were given advice on starting a child prostitution ring. The ACORN workers encouraged them in their efforts and even offered to help smuggle girls into the country.

The only problem is that none of it was true. O’Keefe and Giles did not enter the ACORN offices dressed as a pimp and a prostitute. The encouragement expressed in the tape was encouraging the pretend prostitute to keep trying to find housing. The guy who was offering to help smuggle girls into the country was actually doing so to collect information from them that he later gave to the police.

Unfortunetly, before anyone knew any of this, the federal government defunded ACORN on September 15th.  On November 2nd, ACORN declared bankruptcy.

Former Massachusetts Attorney-General Scott Harshbarger was hired by ACORN to look into the allegations. His report found that,

While some of the advice and counsel given by ACORN employees and volunteers was clearly inappropriate and unprofessional, we did not find a pattern of intentional, illegal conduct by ACORN staff; in fact there is no evidence that action, illegal or otherwise was taken by any ACORN employee on behalf of the videographers.

Then California Attorney-General Edmund Brown said in his investigation of the incident, Things are not always as partisan zealots portray them through selective editing of reality. Sometimes a fuller truth is found on the cutting room floor.”

[Find out more about the fake ACORN controversy: The Rachel Maddow Show]

Shirley Sherrod

On July 19, 2010 Andrew Breitbart posted a video at that he claimed showed Shirley Sherrod, the USDA Georgia Director of Rural Development, admitting to using her position to discriminate against a white farmer based on his race. Within hours and Fox Nation (an online opinion website run by Fox News) posted the story. Shirley Sherrod was fired/forced to resign by the Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack that day.

Here is what Fox’s opinion hosts had to say about the story:

O’Reilly: This is simply unacceptable and Ms. Sherrod must resign immediately.
(The firing/forced resignation occurred after O’Reilly’s show was taped)

Hannity: “[This is] just the latest in a string of racial incidents [involving the Obama administration]”

Alisyn Camerota (on Fox and Friends): Perhaps everyone needs a refresher course in what racism looks like. That is…
Doocy: Exhibit A

Glenn Beck (on his radio show): Excuse me, have we transformed into 1956, only the other way around?

Once the full speech was obtained by CNN and MSNBC it was clear that the incident Shirley Sherrod was describing occurred 24 years ago when she was working for a non-profit, not the USDA. The speech also showed that she ended up changing her mind and saving the white farmer’s farm. Her story was one of overcoming racism, not displaying it. When asked if there was anything that Shirley Sherrod had done that seemed racist the white farmer in the story told CNN, “No way in the world. No way. I don’t even want to talk about it. It doesn’t make sense.”  

[Discover more about the Shirley Sherrod scandal: The Rachel Maddow Show (video one) (video two)]

200 Million dollars a day

During the first week of November 2010 Fox was abuzz about the cost of Obama’s trip to India. Mike Huckabee was the first to discuss the controversy on fox, stating during fox’s election coverage that the trip would cost 200 Million dollars a day. Hannity, Fox and Friends, and Glenn Beck soon followed. But the description by Eric Bolling took the cake.

It’s a trip equipped for a king, a president. 40 planes, 6 armored cars including the Barack-mobile, you know, the beast, the entire Taj Mahal, 570 rooms in all, an entourage of 3,000 people, 3 choppers, 30 bomb sniffing dogs, a total cost: 200 Million dollars a day.

Now that’s just comical.  The war in Afghanistan costs 190 million dollars a day. The 200 million dollar figure came from an alleged Indian provincial official. No one who had done their research on this issue could have believed that number to be reliable. Anderson Cooper, Rachel Maddow, and Jon Stewart debunked this myth, among others.

[Watch Jon Stewart skewer Fox over their promotion of the 200 million dollar a day falsehood]

Planned Parenthood videos

On February 1st, 2011, Lila Rosa released videos at purporting to show “Planned Parenthood’s cover-up of child sex trafficking.” Sound familiar? Fox News gave it extensive coverage on Fox Nation, Special Report, Follow the Money with Eric Bolling (on Fox Business), and the O’Reilly Factor. Glenn Beck devoted an entire show to the videos.

But they all left out one critical detail. Planned Parenthood altered the FBI about the potential child sex trafficking before any of the videos were released.

From Planned Parenthood’s press release from January 24, 2011, “Last week, Planned Parenthood Federation of America alerted federal authorities to a potential multi-state sex trafficking ring.”

Planned Parenthood also stated in their press release that they realized the actors from Live Action may be trying to set them up,

If a multistate sex trafficking operation is in place, those responsible must be pursued to stop the exploitation of girls and young women," said Schear.  "If these visits are part of a 'dirty tricks' campaign, they must be condemned.  Falsely claiming sex trafficking to health professionals to advance a political agenda is an astoundingly cynical form of political activity.

This stunt by Lila Rose which was aided by Fox News nearly cost Planned Parenthood its federal funding (which doesn’t go towards abortions).

[Read more about the Planned Parenthood defamation: Media Matters]


Each of these controversies unjustly poisoned the well of public opinion against these groups. If past is prologue, we can have no doubt that Fox News will continue to push egregious falsehoods. Keep that in mind the next time you tune in.

P.S. I would like to thank Media Matters, The Rachel Maddow Show, The Daily Show, and Politifact for their help in creating this post. Keep up the good work.

Originally Posted May 25, 2011

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Maddow leaves out Important Context in Describing The History of Republican plans to Modify Social Security and Medicare

Sigh. Some titles can’t be shortened.

Yesterday, May 23rd, 2011, Rachel Maddow described some of the History of Republican plans to modify Social Security and Medicare.

Throughout the segment, Maddow fails to give her listeners adequate explanations of what the Bush and Ryan plans would have actually done to Social Security and Medicare. I will explain those plans along with the two plans (Goldwater, Regan) that she described correctly.


In 1964, Barry Goldwater ran as the republican presidential candidate against Lyndon Johnson. He is one of the founders of modern conservatism and remains a conservative icon, almost as revered as Ronald Regan.

During an interview with the New York Times Sunday Magazine in November 1963, Goldwater said,

I think social security ought to be voluntary. This is the only definite position I have on it. If a man wants it, fine. If he does not want it, he can provide his own.

Turning Social Security into a voluntary program would ruin the program in two ways. 

First, when people are left to decide for themselves, they don’t save for retirement. In 2010 CNN Money found that 43 percent of Americans have less than $10,000 saved for retirement. As anti-libertarian as it may seem, the brilliance of Social Security is that it is mandatory. The social welfare programs enacted in the past 100 years have gone a long way towards reducing poverty among the elderly.

Second, the Social Security program pays current retirees with the money from current taxpayers, not from the revenue they (or their generation) put into the system. Thus, if current tax payers opted out of the program, current retirees would lose the benefits they earned by paying into the system in their working days.

Thus Goldwater’s plan would have destroyed social Security.


In 1961, when Medicare was proposed in Congress, Ronald Regan opposed it. He said that if citizens didn’t write their congressmen to prevent Medicare’s passage that,

You and I are going to spend our sunset years telling our children, and our children’s children, what it once was like in America when men were free.

Medicare is one of the most popular programs ever created in America, and seniors love the program. Similar attacks were made on Obama’s Health Care Reform and if one listens to the Regan recording today, you could easily forget that he was talking about the now beloved Medicare instead of the still contentious Obamacare.


Here is where the fact check begins. Maddow said of Bush’s Social Security plan that,

George W. Bush said that he would use all the political capital he earned by winning reelection in 2004 to try to dismantle Social Security, to try to privatize Social Security. Even the 60 Plus Association, [….] brags on its website that they are on the record for the privatization of the Social Security system.

While the description of the 60 Plus Association bolsters her case, her description of the Bush plan for Social Security is, at best, incomplete. 

Under Bush’s Social Security plan, workers would have eventually been given the option to invest a third of their Social Security taxes into private accounts. The program would be entirely voluntary and only a third of Social Security would be privatized, at most. Maddow’s viewers would not have known either of these important aspects of the Bush plan from her report.

The plan would improve Social Security’s solvency, the amount of time that the program would pay full benefits. The plan would also yield a higher rate of return for retirees than the Treasuries that current Social Security revenues are invested in. However, it would also put a portion of Social Security benefits at risk, and if there was another stock market collapse, seniors would have lost even more of their retirement money than they did in the 2008 crash. That is why in my opinion (and it is an opinion) that Bush’s plan would have weakened Social Security. There are better options available to solve Social Security’s solvency problem.


Finally, Maddow says Paul Ryan’s Medicare proposal would, “Kill Medicare.” This is a very poor description of Paul Ryan’s plan.

Paul Ryan’s Medicare plan would give those who are 54 and younger a voucher (or “premium support” as the Republicans call it) when they are old enough for Medicare. They would use this voucher to buy insurance off the private market. The voucher would increase with regular inflation but not with medical inflation. The plan would essentially save the government money by passing rising medical costs onto seniors. Private health plans would also be incredibly expensive. How high must premiums be for an insurance company to profit from insuring the elderly, the group with the highest medical costs?

Medicare was created to cover the medical costs of the elderly, a group that is next to impossible to insure otherwise. It has been an incredibly successful program and Ryan’s plan would change the very nature of Medicare.

That being said, the government would still provide a program to help insure the elderly. Medicare would be drastically changed by the proposal which would end Medicare as we know it. Those four words, “as we know it,” are incredibly important. They get the point across in a way that acknowledges that there would still be government program to help cover the insurance costs for the elderly, while simultaneously pointing out that the plan would require seniors to pay dramatically higher costs for health insurance.


Republicans have repeatedly attempted to prevent, destroy, and weaken Social Security and Medicare over the years. Democrats have profited electorally by pointing this out. But they must also do so in a way that is honest about the plans they oppose. Maddow erred in her descriptions of the Bush plan for Social Security and the Ryan plan for Medicare. While she is right to point out the negative aspects of these proposals, she must do so in such a way that her viewers fully understand the plans she is discussing. Doing so would help advance the unofficial mission of the Rachel Maddow show to “increase the amount of useful information in the world.”

P.S. This post was a beast to research and write. I hope you found it useful.

Originally posted May 24, 2011

Friday, May 20, 2011

Journalistic Greatness
The Fourth Estate is Alive and Well

Various news organizations do great work in uncovering the truth and holding the powerful accountable. What follows are my choices for some of the greatest reporting done over the past few months.


CBS                  60 Minutes uncovered that much of the story in Greg Mortenson’s book, Three Cups of Tea, is inaccurate and that his charity mismanages its funds. I read part of the book for a college class. This reporting allows philanthropists to donate their money to more honest and effective organizations.

ABC                 Nightline found that Tax Masters was under investigation for deceptive practices in 2 states. Their customers end up giving large sums of money on Tax Masters and getting no tax relief (their consultants are salesmen, not tax professionals). In the meantime, penalties and interest collect on customer’s debt. Fox News and CNN continue to carry Tax Masters advertisements and accept add money from them, unjustifiably transferring the credibility of their brands to Tax Masters.

NBC                 Andrea Mitchell pushed former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on a variety of decisions that were made under his watch in the Bush Administration. He denied creating the Office of Special Plans, denied deciding to invade Iraq immediately after 9/11, and denied that the premature announcement of General Shinseki’s replacement was meant to show that dissent wouldn’t be tolerated on national security issues. I don’t know enough about the Iraq war to gage whether Rumsfeld was being honest, but I do know that Andrea Mitchell’s pursuit of answers shows her master skills as a journalist. My favorite quote from the interview is from Andrea Mitchell, “Mr. Secretary, you know what stove-piping means.”

AJ                     Al Jazeera had a camera-man imprisoned in Guantanamo for 6 years for covering the war in Afghanistan. Al Jazeera had one of its Journalists imprisoned in Iran for reporting on the democratic uprising in Syria. For having the courage to report from dangerous conflict areas and to temporarily lose their liberty in the process, these correspondents for Al Jazeera have shown they are persistent in their pursuit for truth.

Media Commentary

Media Matters            MMFA showed the absurd way that many in the conservative media covered the death of Osama Bin Laden. Some speculated that he might not even be dead, others ignored their own criticism of Obama for saying that he would go into Pakistan without telling the Pakistanis to get a high level terrorist target, and many falsely crediting the success to water-boarding.

Tommy Christopher    Tommy Christopher showed how Olbermann used Twitter to lobby a personal attack upon someone he disagrees with politically by wishing she was never born. This is exactly what bullying looks like. Tommy’s criticism is clear and to the point. His ability to criticize a fellow liberal shows he places fairness above party.

Jon Stewart                 Stewart showed the absurdity of Fox’s attack on the white house for inviting the rapper Common to a poetry reading. The “controversy” distracted from more important issues, was incredibly hypocritical as Fox has had many guests in the past which have advocated violence, and the criteria of Fox’s attack would result in many music greats being barred from the White House.

For No Particular Reason

Steven Colbert            His interview with the Chairman of the President’s Council of Economic Advisors, Austin Goolsbee, is hilarious and shows exactly why the debt ceiling must be raised. You must watch it.

UPDATE (6/20/11): Tax Masters is now advertising on MSNBC too. A pox on all your houses!

Originally posted May 20, 2011

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Fox News Presidential Debate

On Thursday May 5th, Fox News hosted the first republican presidential debate of the 2012 campaign, six months after the 2010 election. In America, it is always campaign season.

While I have been and will continue to be critical of Fox News, they did an outstanding job hosting the debate. All of the questions dealt with serious policy issues. The main topics were national security, the economy, health care, and the national debt. The candidates were questioned from a variety of ideological positions by Bret Baier, Chris Wallace, Shannon Bream, and Juan Williams.

Five candidates participated in the debate: Ron Paul, Gary Johnson, Herman Cain, Tim Pawlenty, and Rick Santorum. None of the candidates were given preferential treatment, contrary to the concerns raised by many liberals that having future presidential candidates on the Fox payroll would give them a leg up during the Fox debates.

I found it gratifying that Ron Paul and Gary Johnson are both for an end to the Afghan war.  Even though they are black horse candidates with little chance of winning the nomination, I am glad that someone is challenging the white house position on the issue.

However, both Paul and Johnson are libertarians who hold positions that I strongly disagree with. Ron Paul is against foreign aid and the Federal Reserve. Gary Johnson is against unemployment benefits and the minimum wage. These policies would gravely harm our economy and hurt the most vulnerable in our country and abroad.

For the past year or so, liberal outlets like MSNBC and The Daily Show have treated Tim Pawlenty as a moderate, likely because he is one of the few republican candidates who will come on their shows. This debate has shown that, on social issues, he is anything but moderate. He opposes embryonic stem cell research except for embryos that have already been destroyed. Even though I am largely pro-choice, I have sympathy for the pro-life argument because it is rather difficult to determine when life begins and fetuses gain many of the aspects of their humanity (consciousness, pain, viability) during pregnancy. But Embryos have none of these qualities. Judging by the potential of stem cell research to cure or treat various debilitating diseases, only those who believe that life begins at conception take this position.

Pawlenty also stated that he believes that the issue of whether to teach intelligent design in public schools should be left to local school boards. That would leave open the possibility for schools to give equal weight in science classes to intelligent design, a religious and philosophical position, as they would to evolution, a scientific theory backed by over a hundred years of fossil and experimental evidence.

The most interesting aspect of the debate was the audience reactions. The largest applause came from statements against the war in Afghanistan and statements in favor of torture, two positions you would think would be in conflict.

All in all, the debate was professional, well run, and illuminated much about these little known candidates. It will be absolutely fascinating to see how this election season unfolds.

UPDATE: The Daily Show did a segment on the debate and shared many of my reactions to it. Stewart also highlighted how Pawlenty's policy positions took a turn to the hard right by abandoning various previous positions.

Originally Posted Sunday May 8, 2011

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Where do People turn for News?
May Update

I wrote a post in March comparing the audience sizes of various sources of news. Since then I have found data that is more representative (Evening News, Morning Shows, Sunday News Shows), more recent (Newspapers, Cable News, Talk Radio), and covers new categories (Opinion Magazines, News Magazines, Television News Magazines). Only at Truth Matters can someone compare the viewership of news across so many diverse mediums. Inclusion on this list is only meant to show the reach of a news source, not to comment on its credibility or value.

The following numbers represent the average circulation of weekly opinion news magazines for 2010.
My Source: Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, 2011 State of the News Media
Original Source: Audit Bureau of Circulations

1.  National Review                                                                             203,085
2. The Nation                                                                                      146,602
3. The Weekly Standard                                                                       99,033


The following statistic represents the average daily viewership of the PBS Newshour for the month of March 2011. Obtained from PBS through the Huffington Post.  

PBS Newshour                                                                              1,100,000

The following numbers represent the average daily viewership of Comedy Central’s satirical news shows for the month of May 2011. These numbers come from the website TV by the Numbers which obtained them from a Comedy Central Press release.

The Daily Show                                                              2,300,000
The Colbert Report                                                         1,600,000

The following numbers represent the average weekday circulation of the largest US newspapers. The data was compiled by the Audit Bureau of Circulations which studied the period from October 2010-March 2011, accessed through the Huffington Post.

1. The Wall Street Journal                                                                2,117,796       
2. USA Today                                                                                     1,829,099     
3. The New York Times                                                                     916,911        
4. Los Angeles Times                                                                          605,243
5. San Jose Mercury News                                                               577,665
            (includes all of MediaNews’ Bay Area papers combined)       
6. The Washington Post                                                                    550,821       
7. New York Daily News                                                                530,924        
8. New York Post                                                                           522,874           
9. Chicago Tribune                                                                        437,205  
10. Chicago Sun Times                                                                  419,409         
18. St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times                                                     292,441          
19. The Oregonian of Portland                                                     260,248

Although never explicitly stated on my source, Huffington Post, the following numbers represent the daily average viewership of the top 30 cable news shows in the month of April. The original source was not stated, but it was likely Neilson ratings.

1. The O’Reilly Factor                                                                                       2,925,000
2. Hannity                                                                                                        2,059,000
3. Special Report with Bret Baier                                                                       1,970,000
4. Glenn Beck                                                                                                  1,867,000
5. Fox Report with Shepard Smith                                                                      1,724,000
6. On the Record with Greta van Susteren                                                           1,698,000
7. Your World with Neil Cavuto                                                                           1,344,000
8. The O’Reilly Factor (11 PM Repeat)                                                                1,237,000
9. America’s Newsroom                                                                                     1,212,000
10. America Live                                                                                                1,119,000
11. Studio B                                                                                                      1,089,000
12. The Rachel Maddow Show                                                                              1,039,000
13. Fox and Friends                                                                                             1,027,000
14. The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell                                                              958,000
15. Happening Now                                                                                                  942,000
16. The Ed Show                                                                                                      825,000
17. Anderson Cooper 360                                                                                          706,000
18. Hardball with Chris Matthews                                                                                664,000
19. Piers Morgan Tonight                                                                                            625,000
20. The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer                                                                    600,000
21. The Last Word (repeat)                                                                                       531,000
21. CNN Newsroom                                                                                             531,000
23. AC 360 (repeat)                                                                                             525,000
24. John King USA                                                                                              523,000
25. In the Arena                                                                                                  515,000
26. Nancy Grace                                                                                                464,000
27. Morning Joe                                                                                                 455,000
28. The Daily Rundown                                                                                       436,000
29. MSNBC Live                                                                                                393,000
30. Red Eye                                                                                                     387,000

The following numbers represent the average circulation of weekly news magazines in the year 2010. My Source: Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, 2011 State of the News Media
Original Source: Audit Bureau of Circulations

1.  Time                                                                                                 3,313,715
2. Newsweek                                                                                        1,578,691
3. US News and World Report                                                              1,073,292
4. The New Yorker                                                                                1,029,742
5.  The Economist                                                                                  828,181
6. The Week                                                                                            517,187
7. The Atlantic                                                                                         476,517

The following numbers represent the average viewership for the Sunday News Shows for the first quarter (January-March) of 2011. My Source: TV Newser. The Original Source was not listed, but I assume it was Neilson ratings.

1.       Meet the Press                                 NBC                                                           3,520,000
2.       Face the Nation                                CBS                                                           3,000,000
3.       This Week                                       ABC                                                            2,600,000
4.       Fox News Sunday                           Fox News                                                     1,350,000

The following numbers represent the daily average viewership of the network morning shows in 2010.
My Source: Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, 2011 State of the News Media
Original Source: Neilson Media Research

1.       Today                                           NBC                                                         5,300,000
2.       Good Morning America                ABC                                                            4,300,000
3.       The Early Show                            CBS                                                           2,900,000

The following numbers represent the average daily evening news viewership for the three network news networks for 2010.
My Source: Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, 2011 State of the News Media
Original Source: Neilson Media Research

1.       NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams                                                           8,500,000
2.       ABC World News with Diane Sawyer                                                             7,430,000
3.       CBS Evening News with Katie Couric                                                             5,650,000

Several Network News shows were written to imitate the style of journalism found in Magazines. The following numbers represent the average nightly viewership for various television news magazines in 2010. My Source: Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, 2011 State of the News Media
Original Source: Nielsen Media Research

1. 60 minutes                                                                             11,700,000
2. Dateline Friday                                                                        6,000,000
3. 48 hours mystery                                                                     5,600,000
4. 20/20                                                                                       5,500,000
5. Dateline Sunday                                                                        4,500,000
6. Nightline                                                                                    3,700,000

The following numbers represent the weekly audience for NPR’s news shows. As these are weekly, as opposed to daily, audience sizes, they are not directly comparable to most other categories listed in this post. My Source: The New York Review of Books. The original source was not listed.

1.       Morning Edition                                                                                                  13,000,000
2.       All Things Considered                                                                                         13,000,000

The following numbers represent the cumulative weekly audience of various talk radio hosts. As these are weekly, as opposed to daily, viewership values, they are not directly comparable to most other categories listed in this post.
My Source: TALKERS magazine
Original Source: Arbitron, among others

1.   The Rush Limbaugh Show                                                                                   15,000,000
2.   The Sean Hannity Show                                                                                      14,000,000
3.   The Glenn Beck Program                                                                                      9,000,000
3.  The Savage Nation                                                                                               9,000,000
5.  The Mark Levin Show                                                                                           8,500,000
5.  Dave Ramsey                                                                                                      8,500,000
7.  Neal Boortz                                                                                                         6,000,000
7.  Laura Ingraham                                                                                                    6,000,000
17.  The Alan Colmes Radio Show                                                                             2,750,000
17.  The Ed Shultz Show                                                                                           2,750,000

Other Statistics

For comparison’s sake, relevant numbers about the United States are listed below.

Population of the United States:                                           307,006,550
2010 Voting Eligible Population:                                          218,054,301

2010 Voter Turnout:                                                       41.6%
Number of people who voted in the 2010 election:                 90,682,968

2008 Voter Turnout:                                                      62.2%
Number of people who voted in the 2008 election:              132,645,504        

Number of people who watched Obama's speech 
on Bin Laden's death                                                          56,500,000

Originally Posted May 7, 2011