Although it has claimed 29 lives to date and flooded countless square miles of the northeastern United States, Hurricane Irene didn’t quite live up to some breathless predictions. Was this a case of “better safe than sorry,” or media opportunism?
On his Monday radio show, conservative talker Rush Limbaugh accused the news media of building up Irene out of their “desire for chaos.”
“It was a rainstorm and there was a lot of flooding and there were deaths associated with it,” Limbaugh said. “But they hype — folks, I’ll tell you what this was, was a lesson. (RELATED: Damage from Irene appears to be less than feared)
“If you pay any attention to this, they hype — the desire for chaos, I mean, literally — the media desire for chaos was a great learning tool. This is a great illustration of how all of the rest of the media in news, in sports, has templates and narratives and exaggerates beyond reality creating fear, so as to create interest.”
Limbaugh also said this “national embarrassment” had political implications.
“Folks, it’s a national embarrassment, the hype over this hurricane,” he said. “What we have with the media — I’m going to tell you something else — Obama comes off of vacation to lead his nation to the response of Hurricane Irene, to draw contrast with Bush and Katrina. [It’s] part of the re-election effort.”