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Inside Move: CNN making an ideological Rush

Net wants to change liberal reputation

CNN is apparently an equal opportunity employer. The news cable net — which has been in talks with Democratic strategist James Carville about how he can contribute to the newsie — is also talking to radio rightie Rush Limbaugh about hosting a show.

“Am I talking with CNN?” Limbaugh asked on his radio show Monday. “No, I am listening.”

CNN declined to comment about discussions with either Carville or Limbaugh, but a spokeswoman for the news net said, “CNN is always looking for a diversity of on-air voices.”

The long-shot marriage with Limbaugh would, no doubt, be a strange one. Limbaugh has been vocal with his criticism of the net, which he has dubbed the “Clinton News Network.” In turn, CNN anchors Larry King and Greta van Susteren have derided the radio personality on the net.

But signing Limbaugh could blunt criticism that CNN has a liberal bias and might help the news net compete head to head with Fox News, which seems to have a lock on conservative viewers.

Since Jamie Kellner joined Turner earlier this year, he has made it a mission to woo bigger-name personalities to the cable news network. And by reaching out to Republican leaders on Capital Hill recently, new CNN topper Walter Isaacson clearly wanted to send a message that CNN isn’t biased to the left.

Of course, even if CNN succeeds at signing Limbaugh, he’s by no means a sure-fire bet: His last attempt to translate his radio persona to TV, back in 1992, failed to take off. The syndicated “Rush Limbaugh, The Television Show” was exec produced by none other than Roger Ailes, now head of Fox News.

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