Limbaugh claimed Scarborough Country is top-rated show on MSNBC; it's not true

››› ››› NICOLE CASTA

On the March 9 edition of his radio show, syndicated radio host Rush Limbaugh wrongly claimed that Scarborough Country, hosted by former U.S. Rep. Joe Scarborough, a Florida Republican, "probably" has more viewers than any other program on cable news channel MSNBC. After airing a clip from MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews in which Andrea Mitchell, NBC News chief foreign affairs correspondent, criticized Republicans, Limbaugh commented, "And, here she is on TV talking about how mean-spirited the Republicans are! It's just off the wall. You take a look at the ratings at MSNBC -- this is one of the reasons why nobody is watching this. Scarborough has probably got the highest number they've got on that network."

But according to Nielsen ratings for February, provided by the online magazine TVNewser, MSNBC's highest-rated program is Hardball with Chris Matthews, which averaged 327,000 households per night. Scarborough Country comes in fourth among MSNBC programs with 236,000 households viewing. In addition to Hardball, MSNBC's Imus in the Morning and MSNBC Investigates also averaged more viewers than Scarborough Country.

From the March 9 edition of The Rush Limbaugh Show:

[Begin audio clip]

MITCHELL: I spent some time this weekend talking to some leading Democrats who have worked with Republicans on other issues in both the Senate and the House. They said they have never seen the level of meanness right now from both parties. They were reacting to things that they perceived that Bill Frist has done to them, but they are people who have worked before with the Republicans in the White House. They say they will never trust the--

[End audio clip]

LIMBAUGH: Stop the tape! Stop the tape! Stop the tape! Do you people understand this is delusional? This is flat-out delusional to talk about how the Democrats worked with Republicans.

[...]

LIMBAUGH: You think the Republicans bend over and grab the ankles too much in an effort to get along. And here comes Andrea Mitchell, who works there; it's her beat to see this. And she doesn't! She sees the exact opposite of what's going on. Here's the rest of her bite.

[Begin audio clip]

MITCHELL: --Republicans again that it is meaner than any time --

CHRIS MATTHEWS (host): Right --

MITCHELL: -- when I was covering it back in the '80s and '90s.

MATTHEWS: So, the Republicans stomp on it and treat the Democrats on Capitol Hill like lower forms of life!

MITCHELL: Exactly.

[...]

[End audio clip]

LIMBAUGH: It's delusional! It's comically delusional. "Meaner than at any time when I was covering it back in the '80s and the '90s"? I guess these people have forgotten how much Ronald Reagan was hated.

[...]

LIMBAUGH: You know, this Andrea Mitchell business, I'm even more stunned. [Sen.] Harry Reid [D-NV], Dingy Harry, just called her husband a "hack."

You know, she's Angela [sic] Greenspan. She's married to Alan Greenspan, the chairman of the Federal Reserve. And Dingy Harry just called her husband a hack. And here she is on TV talking about how mean-spirited the Republicans are! It's just off the wall.

You take a look at the ratings at MSNBC this is one of the reasons why nobody is watching this. Scarborough has probably got the highest number they've got on that network.

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