Radio host Rush Limbaugh pushed a fake story that Hurricane Florence “contains sharks” that have been “lifted” into the storm, quoting a fake chyron that’s been spreading on social media and elsewhere online. The image is a recycled version of a fake chyron from 2017, which made the same claim about Hurricane Irma.
Limbaugh, who also claimed that coverage of Florence has been overhyped to push concerns about climate change (a claim he has made about hurricane coverage in the past), said “reports” from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) “show sharks have been lifted into the hurricane.” He also said that sharks “are being lifted out of the Atlantic Ocean and dumped into the storm because it’s so strong it’s sucking them in there,” and he held up a printout of the fake chyron for his camera.
From the September 11 edition of Premiere Radio Networks’ The Rush Limbaugh Show:
RUSH LIMBAUGH (HOST): Latest Hurricane Florence update: New reports from NOAA aircraft show sharks have been lifted into the hurricane. So those of you in the target path in North Carolina, South Carolina: In addition to the pig manure, in addition to the slop, in addition to the floods, in addition to the cars rolling around on the waters in front of your house, in addition to the mudslides and the landslides, now you might end up with a shark in your front yard. I’m telling you right -- you think I’m making this up? This appeared somewhere. “Florence now contains sharks.” I’m telling you. You want to tell me this story is not true, that this is the one thing I say -- let me just find the headline here, put it at the bottom of the stack. “Hurricane risks include toxic sludge and lagoons of pig manure.”
This is, I’m telling you -- they’re getting ready to call this “Donald Trump’s Katrina.” How many times did they -- after George [W.] Bush had his Katrina, how many other Katrinas did Bush have for the remainder of his term? They’re setting this up. Now, there was a story about pig manure and slop during Katrina, and the state of Louisiana had to debunk it. There were not oozes and gobbs of pig manure floating around in floodwaters in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina. They had to debunk the myth. ... These are predictable things that the media has in their Nexis database. Hurricane hits, you go to the Nexis file, the Nexis database, and you look for stories that might look good to run and you run them. Just repeat them.
“Florence now contains” -- so sharks are being lifted out of the Atlantic Ocean and dumped into the storm because it’s so strong it’s sucking them in there. And then they’re going to be in the waters. Of course the only water that might contain sharks would be storm surge. It isn’t going to be raining sharks. And that’s the predominant water source in a hurricane is rainfall.