Written by Joe Kovacs

A former aide to Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush says viewers of Fox News and readers of WND are “self-brainwashing,” and now radio host Rush Limbaugh is calling the claim “patently absurd.”

On CNN’s “Reliable Sources” over Memorial Day weekend, historian Bruce Bartlett was discussing his paper published earlier this month, in which he said: “It can almost be called self-brainwashing – many conservatives now refuse to listen to any news or opinion not vetted through Fox, and to believe whatever appears on it as the gospel truth.”

When asked by CNN host Brian Stelter about the self-brainwashing remark, Bartlett stood by the comment, and singled out news agencies including WND.

“I don’t think that word is too strong,” Bartlett said. “I think many conservatives live in a bubble, where they watch only Fox News on television. They listen only to conservative talk radio, Rush Limbaugh. When they go on to the Internet, they look at only conservative websites, like National Review, Newsmax, WorldNetDaily.”

“And so they are completely in a universe in which they are hearing the same exact ideas, the same arguments, the same limited amount of data repeated over and over and over again. And that’s – that’s brainwashing.”

Watch video of Bruce Bartlett on CNN’s “Reliable Sources” (On WND)

Reaction from some of those mentioned by Bartlett is packed with incredulity.

“That’s crazy!” said Joseph Farah, editor and CEO at WND. “We not only react regularly to what is reported and misreported on CNN and MSNBC, the idea that anyone needs television news to know what’s going on is pretty funny – and sad.

“These people at CNN take themselves much too seriously. Nobody’s even watching the network – liberal, conservative or in between. Just look at the numbers. Do they not realize they don’t set the news agenda anymore, if they ever did? I think it’s the folks at CNN who don’t know what WND is reporting – because it’s surely not the same thing found elsewhere on the Internet.”

Rush Limbaugh also responded Tuesday, saying: “It’s so ridiculous and so absurd.”

“The brainwashing, if there is any in this country in the media, is in the Drive-By Media, the left-wing media. In the public school system is where brainwashing is taking place.We are trying to counter it. We’re trying to open it up and expose it. We’re trying to free people from brainwashing, which is what education’s become. Education is not mind-expanding. Education has become mind-limiting. Education has become propaganda or something worse. Indoctrination. And we expose it all. And we couldn’t expose it if we didn’t talk about liberalism. In talking about liberalism, we explain it so you who listen to this program are well-versed and well-informed.”

Limbaugh indicated Fox News has liberals “all over the place.”

“You can’t miss liberalism by watching Fox News. Half of their analysts are,” he noted.

Rush Limbaugh

“I just have to laugh, here we have CNN, which has an audience you can now fit in a thimble. And MSNBC, an audience that you couldn’t find in a thimble, sitting here lamenting what’s wrong with Fox News. It’s like the chickens describing how Colonel Sanders is screwing up. I mean, these people are sitting there dying professionally. They have no audience, nobody cares what’s happening on CNN or MSNBC, and yet every day they do their media shows and try to tell everybody what’s wrong with Fox. What’s wrong with the people doing it right? What’s wrong with the people winning?”

Despite his service to Republican presidents and lawmakers including U.S. Reps. Ron Paul and Jack Kemp, Bartlett blasted President George W. Bush as an opportunistic pork-barreller in his book, “Impostor: How George W. Bush Bankrupted America and Betrayed the Reagan Legacy.”


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Since 2013, Christian news magazine The Olive Branch Report has featured the insightful writing and reporting of Greg Holt. His writing has been featured on American Prophet, American Clarion, Eagle Rising, Capitol Hill Outsider, Sons of Liberty Media, Rev. Austin Miles, and others. Greg is also the Publisher and Editor of Inspirational Christian Blogs.

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