Hurricane Rush’s Downpour of Lies

I’d say the old man has lost it, but he never had it in the first place:

Rush Limbaugh didn’t say the magic words, but on Tuesday he basically accused the media of creating fake news about Hurricane Irma, which is threatening Florida after hitting Barbuda and Antigua. The storm’s 185-mile-per-hour winds tied the record high for any Atlantic hurricane making landfall…

Why would the media exaggerate the threat of a hurricane? Here’s Limbaugh’s 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.”

To state the obvious, these are potentially dangerous comments from Limbaugh, who is based in Palm Beach, Fla. He is encouraging listeners who might be in Irma’s path not to take seriously the official guidance disseminated through the media.

Limbaugh has been promoting alternative facts about the reality of human-caused climate change for nearly three decades now, and his latest rants betray the desperation of someone who clearly realizes that even for Republicans, the jig is up:

Limbaugh, a fellow Trump booster, didn’t say the deep state causes storms, but he did say “you have people in all of these government areas who believe man is causing climate change, and they’re hellbent on proving it, they’re hellbent on demonstrating it, they’re hellbent on persuading people of it.”

Limbaugh didn’t say the deep state directs storms toward major cities, but he did say “hurricanes are always forecast to hit major population centers because, after all, major population centers is 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.”

You know it must cause Limbaugh pain to realize that his three decades of work as the fossil-fuel industry’s hitman against climate scientists and climate activists have resulted in abject failure. Had he succeeded in killing the case for climate action, there never would have been a vibrant climate movement, or a US Supreme Court ruling affirming the federal government’s obligation to reduce carbon pollution, or the creation of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, or a bipartisan House Climate Solutions Caucus. ExxonMobil, BP, ConocoPhillips and Shell would have never felt compelled to acknowledge the reality of human-caused climate change if Limbaugh had won. Conservative Republican economists would have never endorsed carbon pricing if Limbaugh had won.

In other words, in the fight to turn a majority of Americans against climate science and climate action, Limbaugh got his fat ass kicked.

Limbaugh is said to be the man who coined the phrase “Ronaldus Magnus” to describe the 40th President of the United States. Did you ever hear Limbaugh acknowledge on his radio program that even “Ronaldus Magnus” acknowledged the reality of human-caused climate change? Did you ever hear Limbaugh quote Reagan’s 1984 State of the Union Address, in which “Ronaldus Magnus” declared:

And as we develop the frontier of space, let us remember our responsibility to preserve our older resources here on Earth. Preservation of our environment is not a liberal or conservative challenge: it’s common sense.

Of course not, because Limbaugh has no common sense.

Surely, there are American survivors of Irma and Harvey and Katrina and Sandy who were once fans of Limbaugh. Surely, they’ve now realized that Limbaugh has been BSing them for years, just as Lolly Hellman famously realized that Bill O’Reilly had been BSing her on climate. Surely, they’re now telling Limbaugh that he can go to a place where no amount of cap-and-trade can keep the temperatures low.

D.R. Tucker

D. R. Tucker is a Massachusetts-based journalist who has served as the weekend contributor for the Washington Monthly since May 2014. He has also written for the Huffington Post, the Washington Spectator, the Metrowest Daily News, investigative journalist Brad Friedman's Brad Blog and environmental journalist Peter Sinclair's Climate Crocks.