Most Powerful American Rush Limbaugh is pulling in an estimated $58.7 million this year – nearly twice as much as #2, Glenn Beck — earning him the cover of the magazine and an accompanying feature article. Written by Limbaugh biographer Zev Chafets, the article notes that the radio personality’s annual income “is greater than the combined salary of the entire U.S. Senate (and you can toss in a few dozen congressmen and cabinet secretaries for good measure).”
Some of the more left-leaning media personalities on the list aren’t doing so bad for themselves – Jon Stewart is raking in an estimated $15 million, Keith Olbermann $7.5 million and Bill Maher $4 million. And a lot of former and current politicians aren’t exactly hurting either – Bill Clinton will make $7.7 million this year, George W. Bush $4.2 million and Barack Obama $4 million.
But the combined $133.7 million haul being pulled in by Limbaugh, Beck, Hannity and O’Reilly is, well, a lot of money. Compared to most people on the list, the top four are in an entirely different earnings strata, which is significant for at least two reasons: 1) They are conservative mouthpieces whose paychecks are signed by the Republican-owned media outlets Clear Channel and Fox News; and 2) the Limbaugh Newsweek cover, in which the word POWER is scrawled across his chest, was released just before midterm election day.