On his radio program this Tuesday, Rush Limbaugh slammed the “drive-by media” for focusing so much coverage on Hurricane Irma, accusing news outlets of using the potentially deadly storm to further “panic” over climate change.
According to Limbaugh, there’s a conspiracy between media outlets and their advertisers to convinced people climate change is real while at the same time increasing their profits.
“There is a desire to advance this climate-change agenda and hurricanes are one of the fastest [ways] to do it,” Limbaugh said, adding that “you have people in all of these government areas who believe man is causing climate change, and they’re hell-bent on proving it, they’re hell-bent on demonstrating it, they’re hell-bent on persuading people of it.”
He then seemed to suggest that weather forecasts have some sort of preconceived agenda.
“Unlike UFOs, which only land in trailer parks, hurricanes are always forecast to hit major population centers,” he continued. “Because, after all, major population centers [are] where the major damage will take place and where we can demonstrate that these things are getting bigger and they’re getting more frequent and they’re getting worse. All because of climate change.”
Limbaugh expanded on his theory:
There is symbiotic relationship between retailers and local media, and it’s related to money. It revolves around money. You have major, major industries and businesses which prosper during times of crisis and panic, such as a hurricane, which could destroy or greatly damage people’s homes, and it could interrupt the flow of water and electricity. So what happens?
Well, the TV stations begin reporting this and the panic begins to increase. And then people end up going to various stores to stock up on water and whatever they might need for home repairs and batteries and all this that they’re advised to get, and a vicious circle is created. You have these various retail outlets who spend a lot of advertising dollars with the local media.
The local media, in turn, reports in such a way as to create the panic way far out, which sends people into these stores to fill up with water and to fill up with batteries, and it becomes a never-ending repeated cycle. And the two coexist. So the media benefits with the panic with increased eyeballs, and the retailers benefit from the panic with increased sales, and the TV companies benefit because they’re getting advertising dollars from the businesses that are seeing all this attention from customers.
As the Washington Post’s Callum Borchers points out, not only are Limbaugh’s conspiracies about weather and media potentially dangerous, they represent the “metastasizing nature” of how the term “fake news” is used to attack the press in the age of Trump. “How did we get from Trump’s claim that he has ‘never seen more dishonest media than, frankly, the political media’ to the idea that weather reports are phony, too?” Borchers writes.
“Alex Jones might have something to do with it,” Borchers continued. “The Infowars founder — who has an ‘amazing’ reputation, according to Trump — has for years promoted the notion that the U.S. government possesses the power to conjure and control weather events. Just last week, as Hurricane Harvey battered Texas, Jones devoted part of his show to questioning why the government didn’t ‘use the technologies to kill [the storm] out in the gulf.'”
Alex Jones definitely has something to do with it, along with the myriad fringe figures Trump has legitimized with his presidency. When a man can surge to the presidency with conspiracy theories as his platform, there nothing to stop fringe lunacy from seeping into the mainstream.
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