Topic: Media Research Center
Is there anything Rush Limbaugh can do that the Media Research Center won't defend? It seems not.
The headline of a Sept. 7 MRC item by Tim Graham declares: "Al Roker Uncorks False Charge That Rush Limbaugh Said Irma Was 'Fake,' Not 'Dangerous'." Actually, it's Graham who's making the false charge: The Roker tweets Graham includes in his post makes it clear that he was saying that Limbaugh was downplaying warnings about Hurricane Irma, not that the entire hurricane was "fake." Nevertheless, Graham goes on to rant:
Neither of these tweets stand up to an actual reading of the Tuesday Limbaugh transcript. Read it. Nowhere did Limbaugh say Hurricane Irma was "fake" or "not a dangerous storm." He never told anyone to "ignore" the forecasts. No one should expect the liberals at PolitiFact/PunditFact to award Roker with a big "FALSE" on the "Truth-o-Meter." But he deserves one.
Actually, as the Washington Post's Callum Borchers summarizes:
Limbaugh, a fellow Trump booster, didn't say the deep state causesstorms, 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.
Thus we have two of the president's biggest promoters in the media [Limbaugh and Alex Jones] telling people that news about a storm — or perhaps even the storm itself — is fake. There could be serious consequences to Trump's ceaseless effort to lower trust in institutions such as the government and the press — consequences that the president and his team might not have fully considered.
But tell that to Graham, who was too far into full Limbaugh defense mode -- with an added healthy dose of mindless media-bashing -- to be concerned by the facts:
As for the "profit" part, Limbaugh also drew media ire for suggesting the local media and local advertisers profit from driving panic about an incoming storm: "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."
Limbaugh told listeners that you can't find any bottled water in his Palm Beach area, days before an accurate storm track. He talked about his experience of living in Florida since 1997 and he wasn't just talking about Irma, or Harvey, but about both the storm forecasts that are real, and those that turned out to be overhyped, because the hurricane track moved or the storm weakened.
But the media always take offense when someone says they profit from tragedy. Broadcasting before a hurricane or a snowstorm is a public service....and it naturally causes a big ratings increase. It naturally also causes a run on the stores for supplies. All of that is true. It's just....insensitive to suggest anyone consciously benefits from tragedy -- or the fear of tragedy. As the old Don Henley song "Dirty Laundry" implied, the media thrive daily on the worst news...because it's much more interesting than planes landing safely on time.
The Left certainly accused the major media of putting profit ahead of stopping the election of President Trump. Was that a bizarre conspiracy theory, that the media's dramatic and heavy coverage of Trump meant profit came ahead of public service?
Of course, Graham and the MRC repeatedly complained that the media wasn't publishing enough bad news about Democrats, real or fake. (Graham and the MRC never did apologize or correct the record after enthusiastically promoting Fox News' fake-news story before the election taht Hillary Clinton's indictment was imminent.)
Meanwhile, Limbaugh didn't have the courage of his own words to ride out the hurricane whose threat he downplayed; he evacuated from Florida before Irma hit.