Written by Brian Merchant
Out of all of the politicians, pundits, and public figures that spread misinformation about climate change over the last year, Media Matters has bestowed a special honor upon Rush Limbaugh. The loudmouthed radio host, who commands an audience of 14 million (mostly) conservative listeners, has earned the watchdog organization’s dubious honor of “Climate Change Misinformer of the Year.”
Congrats, Rush! By repeatedly referring to climate change as a hoax, by getting the science even more wrong than your average Fox News host, and by wielding denial as a political weapon–Rush declared “bye bye, nomination” after Mitt Romney dared discuss climate with a level head–Limbaugh has done more damage to the general public’s understanding of global warming than perhaps any other man in 2011.
A kind of repulsive climate denial retrospective, Media Matters put together this reel of Limbaugh’s greatest hits. Listen:
Here’s Media Matters on why Limbaugh took top honors:
Limbaugh, whose radio show reportedly reaches roughly 14 million people per week, remains the most prominent and cocksure denier of human-induced climate change in the news industry. His unyielding belief that the world’s earth scientists are perpetrating a “hoax” has led him to some interesting places this year, from declaring that the heat index is “manufactured by the government,” to accusing NASA of sabotaging its own research satellite, to announcing that the National Academy of Sciences has “lost all credibility.” Given his large following, Limbaugh’s extreme and misguided position may well have influenced the Republican presidential primary by discouraging candidates from speaking about the threats posed by global warming.
Rush Limbaugh’s bull-headed denial and paranoid rants may indeed mark the nadir of climate change media coverage, not just for the year, but generally speaking. This sort of obsessive, fact-less denial, also observed in specimens like Glenn Beck and Sen. James Inhofe, has a ripple effect, allowing slightly less extreme pundits and pols to deny science and appear credible. These figures create a ‘core’ of denial that has the net effect of manufacturing legitimacy for truly illegitimate notions about science.
In other words, Media Matters nailed it: Rush Limbaugh and his ilk are spreading misinformation about climate science as loudly and prominently than ever.
See Media Matters for a full list of Limbaugh’s (mis)statements about climate change and more information about his denial tactics.
This post was originally published by Treehugger.
Photo from Gage Skidmore via flickr