On The Bill Press Show, Media Matters' Cristina López explains how right-wing media “play with lives” by hyping hurricane conspiracy theories

López: Right-wing media won't acknowledge “that man-made climate change is indeed making a lot of weather events more extreme and putting peoples' lives in danger”

From the September 11 edition of Free Speech TV's The Bill Press Show:

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CRISTINA LÓPEZ: According to Rush Limbaugh, hurricanes are props, are cooked up, apparently, by liberals, progressives that want to advance the agenda of climate change. To him, it's all an agenda, and it only favors retailers and media. And that's why they're intent in advancing this prop hurricanes. They're not getting worse. They're the same, apparently. What's really hypocritical here, and it would be just all fun and games, if this didn't have terrible consequences for the people who actually tune in to Rush Limbaugh and actually buy what he's selling. The problem is the next day or two days after he said that, he was evacuating South Florida, because then once facing the horrible consequences of climate change, you have to run away. You can't just maintain your agenda that climate change doesn't exist or that it is not man-made. 

BILL PRESS (HOST): The question that I've asked for a long time about people like Rush Limbaugh is, do they have any respect at all for the facts? For example, he says these hurricanes are no bigger than hurricanes in the past. That's not true. The meteorologists tell us, the National Weather Service tells us, that [Hurricane] Irma is the second strongest hurricane ever. Hurricane Harvey was the biggest hurricane ever to hit the coast. These are a magnitude greater than anything we've ever seen. He's also says there hasn't been a hurricane in the last 12 years. That's nonsense. Hurricane Sandy was five years ago.

LÓPEZ: We've been around.

PRESS: Right, we've been around. Yeah, they just ignore the facts.

LÓPEZ: And then a whole bunch of people go in with him. It's not just Rush Limbaugh saying that. But also Erick Erickson the next morning writes about how media is misunderstanding poor Rush because he was mocked heavily in the face of facts. And there's also the fringe, the right-wing fringe, that now operates online and YouTube. They also went in, calling the hysterical liberals going on about climate change and accusing people of politicizing the hurricane when really it's just a matter of connecting the dots and trying to point to the evidence that we have that man-made climate change is indeed making a lot of weather events more extreme and putting peoples' lives in danger. So just the fact that you have right-wing media and the echo chamber of conservative media trying to push -- and accuse the left of pushing an agenda when it's really just connecting the dots and facts. It's really preoccupying when you think about their audiences.

PRESS: Yeah, it is, and it's also stunning that this should be a political football at all. I mean, I think it's in everybody's interest, right, to take climate change seriously. And these storms are not helping anybody. 

LÓPEZ: Especially since the information is publicly available. It's not like one side owns the facts and hasn't shown the facts to -- it's publicly available. It's there for public consumption. Science is pretty solid on it, and 99 percent of scientists that study the matter agree that climate change is a man-made issue. And we can all disagree on how to go from there, but to still deny facts is just, it's fooling your audience and it's playing with lives of people.

To watch the full interview, click here.


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