When a hurricane moves onto land, its low pressure sucks a storm surge along with it. Frankenstorm Sandy broke the record for low pressure and produced an "unprecedented 13-foot surge of seawater — 3 feet above the previous record." Sandy became the largest tropical storm on record, stretching for 1100 miles and gusts up to 90 miles per hour. More than eight million are without power.
in Battery Park in New York, flooded by Hurricane Sandy
On Monday and Tuesday, Rush Limbaugh talked extensively about Hurricane Sandy's political implications. Limbaugh's Sandy-related jibes and conjectures focused upon his perceptions of the shifting political landscape: "I saw the TV today and I saw the Obamaites out there actually talking with smiles on their faces about how this storm — which is being portrayed as Armageddon — can help Obama." He injected plenty of ridicule: "Here's another Reuters story. 'Hurricane Forces Obama to Balance Governing, Campaigning.' Aw! Aw, poor president!"
Limbaugh taunted, "if turnout in the blue states is down in any way, then he's got no chance. If it weren't for San Francisco, Seattle, parts of LA, and New England in the Northeast, he doesn't have a prayer. This is all blue state voters." (Limbaugh had similarly disparaged "liberal" and "poor" victims of Hurricane Isaac in New Orleans, even joking that conservatives could trick them into dying in the anticipated flood.)
Limbaugh asserted that the left wants Obama to postpone the election. And then Limbaugh — the foremost mouthpiece of the small government crowd — asked an astonishingly ironic question about the mega-disaster: "Folks, are we really such a Third World banana republic we can't recover from a storm in a week?"
Unfortunately Limbaugh isn't just foolish and ignorant, he is dangerous. He has exactly the megaphone necessary to persuade tens of millions of fellow citizens that climate change denial isn't just respectable, it is patriotic. [Skip to the end of this article to see what you can do about Rush Limbaugh]
Here is Limbaugh on Tuesday, ridiculing climate change activists:
RUSH: "A storm many environmentalists see as linked to climate change has forced the end of a climate vigil in Boston." Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha. Two hundred environmentalist wackos “participated in a round-the-clock vigil since last Tuesday to protest the lack of discussion of climate change in the presidential debate and call on Scott Brown and [Princess] Elizabeth Warren to discuss the issue during their final scheduled debate” today.Earlier this year a study reached a shocking conclusion about climate change education in the United States: Americans have learned more about climate change from Rush Limbaugh than from anyone else. This isn't a surprise to many of us; the phrase "climate change" appears nearly 3,000 times in Limbaugh's talk show transcripts, and "global warming" appears almost as often, according to a Google search.
And then the storm hit and the environmentalist wackos dispersed and the climate change convention ended. The only thing missing is Algore.
—Rush Limbaugh: Bastardi: Global Warming Didn't Cause Sandy, October 30, 2012
[Media Matters has the audio]
Although his audience numbers have been reduced in some markets, Rush Limbaugh still has an audience estimated at over ten million. More than 9,000 other websites link to his website, and many forward sympathetic echoes of his daily missives throughout the blogosphere. When even insurance companies statistically demonstrate the reality of climate change, what Limbaugh believes — and preaches — about climate change is of no small consequence.
In spite of Limbaugh, some are now beginning to raise the question of climate change, with Hurricane Sandy as the foil. Brad Plumer has asserted in the Washington Post that Hurricane Sandy is a good reason to worry about climate change. Ben Orlove raises the same argument in a blog post at CNN. Maggie Koerth-Baker probes the connection between Sandy and climate change at Boing-Boing.
But congressional action on climate change remains elusive for the near term. Do you remember how Mitt Romney ridiculed Barack Obama's painfully modest climate change vows at the Republican National Convention?
Most of those delegates who guffawed and then cheered with Romney likely get their climate change science from Limbaugh. And why not? Limbaugh considers himself head of their party, and many Republicans seem to agree. Limbaugh has brought significant climate denial pressure on candidates for office as well-known as Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich. Barack Obama has accused Republican leaders of abandoning principles "...simply because you're getting pressure for two days from Rush Limbaugh..."
Rex Nutting observes in the Wall Street Journal that despite Sandy, talk of climate change remains stifled, and Michael Calderone makes the same point about cable news coverage. Perhaps out of fear of offending such a potentially broad swath of their audience, CNN's Candy Crowley and other major media figures remain dismissive about climate change as a political issue of any consequence:
In 2011, Media Matters for America designated Rush Limbaugh the Climate Change Misinformer Of The Year. The title wasn't a spoof, it was earned (actually over a period of two plus decades).
Limbaugh asserts expertise — superior knowledge, in fact — that he doesn't possess. On Tuesday he boasted:
I happen to be a huge high-tech almost groupie. I'm a huge high-tech Fanboy. And for relaxation, I read high-tech blogs... They're written by young, idealistic college age and recent college graduate-type people. And they all, to a man -- every one of them! — are dead-set convinced that the science is indisputable, that global warming is happening, climate change taking place, and man is responsible for it. And they're out there lamenting it! These are on blogs where you talk about cell phones and stuff, and they're getting off track and talking about this. It's fascinating.
You can see who believes things and why. I mean, they’ve come out of college; they've been indoctrinated, propagandized with this stuff. It's amazing to see how easy it is to corrupt these young, fertile minds. I mean, the truth is there for everybody to see. It's been hoaxed up. The whole thing.
—Rush Limbaugh: Bastardi: Global Warming Didn't Cause Sandy, October 30, 2012
Limbaugh has at times admitted that he comes by his denial of climate science for political and ideological reasons. In an earlier diary I recorded additional examples of Limbaugh's climate change indoctrination:
|Rush, of course, asserts that the "whole global warming thing is a manufactured left-wing hoax".
I've instinctively known this from the get-go, from 20 years ago! The whole thing is made up, and the reason I know it is because liberals are behind it! When they're pushing something, folks, it's always bogus.Not just any hoax, this. Limbaugh considers manmade global warming to be "one of the most preposterous hoaxes in the history of the planet." According to Limbaugh,
Every Apocalyptic Environmental Claim is a Full-Fledged Liberal LieSome credit Limbaugh with forcing Mitt Romney to back away from his acknowledgement of global warming. But he's not averse to using global warming as a club on the Republican establishment, either:
I frankly don't know where the Republican establishment is on global warming. My guess is they probably think it's happening 'cause they want big government. They just want themselves in charge of it.Limbaugh believes "there would be tremendous harm" if we took climate change seriously "because the solution to manmade global warming is communism. The solution to manmade global warming is socialism."
[W]hen you analyze what the UN climate change treaty is all about, you find that all it is about is the redistribution of wealth. Here, let me give you an example:Rush wants to knock down every hint that the planet may be experiencing climate change. He attacks stories that polar bears are turning to cannibalism, and misses no opportunity to criticize electric cars. He calls the media "brain-dead robots" when they publish climate change stories, and asserts that only "wackos" believe there's a climate connection to wildfires.
He declares concern about overpopulation putting pressure on food and water resources "another discredited crackpot theory," and he asserts this "with ontological certitude" [his own words].
The problem is not enough capitalism. If you look where there is poverty and thus where people think there's overpopulation, you will find largely socialist or Marxist regimes, denying people freedom and liberty, economic opportunity...Rush doesn't want a two way dialog on climate change, and thus he will abruptly cut off any caller who doesn't automatically accept his climate change assertions. But this paragon of free speech is also amused when his listeners shut down climate change websites:
A quick question before we grab the next call. Okay, we've got pretty good evidence today... By the way, thank you for shutting down Marc Morano's website, ClimateDepot.com. We love doing that. I love shutting down people's websites.
|Rush Limbaugh's talk radio career is in a slow downward spiral in part because of the activism of consumers, volunteers, and activists who seek to hold Rush accountable for his hate speech. One very active group in this cause is Flush Rush on Facebook. Flush Rush and other, similar groups use the StopRush Database to inform advertisers about where their ads are appearing.
Please consider joining. Small donations are also accepted to fund data storage; visit StopRush for more information.
UPDATE — Wed Oct 31, 2012 at 2:01 PM PT:
Television News Starts Covering The Link Between Climate Change And Superstorm Sandy: