The conservative commentator had spent days mocking media for trying to push a “climate change agenda.”
On Tuesday, as Hurricane Irma began wreaking havoc in the Caribbean on its way to Florida, conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh told his listeners that the mainstream media exaggerates the threat posed by hurricanes.
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“You can accomplish a lot just by creating fear and panic. You don’t need a hurricane to hit anywhere,” he said. “All you need is to create the fear and panic accompanied by talk that climate change is causing hurricanes to become more frequent and bigger and more dangerous, and you create the panic, and it’s mission accomplished, agenda advanced.”
Limbaugh described this as a “symbiotic relationship” between the media and retailers:
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.