The coverage of Hurricane Irma is a conspiracy to trick people into believing in climate change and buying batteries, according to radio host Rush Limbaugh.
The shock jock claimed that the media are exaggerating the threat from the hurricane – which has wreaked devastation across the Caribbean and is now threatening to destroy parts of Florida – to play into their own agendas.
He said that the media were portraying the hurricane as deadly but that they "are never as strong as they're reported" and news stations use graphics "to make it look like the ocean's having an exorcism, just getting rid of the devil here in the form of this hurricane, this bright red stuff".
That was being done in the hope of tricking people into believing that the storms were the result of climate change, and that as a result people should work to counteract global warming. "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," he said.
He even suggested that the storms might be directed towards cities to advance that agenda. "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," he said.
(Hurricanes including Irma do spend a lot of time over the sea and other non-populated areas, but those parts of the storm tend not to be covered as intently for obvious reasons.)
Authorities including the French government have already said that people's failure to follow advice to leave their homes, presumably because they doubted the power of the hurricane, may have cost their lives. French minister for overseas territories Annick Girardin expressed fear “for a certain number of our compatriots who unfortunately didn’t want to listen to the protection measures and go to more secure sites".
Mr Limbaugh also suggested that the hurricanes were being used to encourage people to go out shopping, buying batteries and other supplies to weather out the hurricane. He said that the media had a "symbiotic" relationship with retailers because people need to buy things to avoid such weather events.
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