Rush Limbaugh On Irene: Even More Of An Insensitive Jerk Than Usual

I concluded long ago that Rush Limbaugh was an insensitive jerk, but with 29 people dead and at least three states dealing with massive flooding, this pretty much takes the cake:

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.

“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.”


“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.”

This is the person that contemporary conservatives turn to for advice and information? Just pathetic.
FILED UNDER: Natural Disasters, Quick Takes, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020.


  1. racehorse says:

    If Obama had stayed on vacation, Rush would have criticized that. If the news media and weather people had underplayed the hurricane, people would have really been upset.
    Better to be safe than sorry, but I do think it is ridiculous for these reporters to be standing out in the wind and rain. Everyone knows what a hurricane looks like. I just want to know if it is going to have any effect where I live;, I don’t care about seeing someone trying to hold a mike and stand up to the wind.

  2. Murray says:

    His Majesty The Swine willfully ignores HE was the one who openly hoped this presidency – and therefore the country – would fail just so he could go on milking the mentally challenged to finance his Viagra intensive vacations.

  3. John Peabody says:

    This, from a man who proudly created “Operation Chaos” in the 2008 Democratic primaries?

  4. Chris says:

    According to the damage estimator at ICAT (ICAT Damage Estimator) this was the 92nd most costly hurricane of all time – out of 236 hurricanes that have in their database.

    So, it was a pretty big hurricane, at least damage-wise (which is indexed for inflation). It wasn’t known for its strength, but rather for it’s long route – it inflicted damage along the entire east coast from NC to VT. But the reality was that if you stayed inside, dealt with the flooding and some of the high (but certainly not deadly) winds, you’d be fine. I’d call it an average storm (with below average power but above average “staying power”), and ICAT seems to confirm that reading. Total damage is $1.4Bn, which seems like a lot, but in reality is smack right in the middle of the bell curve for hurricane damage (which sadly, is not normally distributed).

    BUT, in Limbaugh’s defense, it’s fairly obvious because it passed over the media centers of NYC and DC, it sucked a lot more wind out of the media airspace than it probably deserved. Furthermore, we all know all disaster/disgrace sells. Putting folks in rain slickers to stand in front of thunderstorms makes for entertaining TV (or at least for others). Limbaugh saying that the media likes to frame stories makes sense to me. This hurricane was predicted by many experts to have the power to put Manhattan underwater. Rather than balancing that with the fact it might just peter out, the media has an **economic** interest as well as a public service interest in making sure the worst case scenario is emphasized.

    To have an issue with Obama’s reaction is entirely proper. Obama, searching for any help he can get to extract himself from this re-election hole he’s in, would obviously like to be seen exhibiting leadership, something the general public seems to think he lacks. To contrast this to the previous guy’s perceived lack of leadership during Katrina seems politcial, yet still not problematic. Limbaugh pointing this out is the opposite of “pathetic”, but rather it’s good analysis. Obviously Limbaugh is not one to provide balance, and his audience isn’t really seeking it. They know the nakedly political when they see it, even if they don’t recognize it necessarily when “their guy” did the same thing in 2005.

    In other words, chill out bro.

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:


    To have an issue with Obama’s reaction is entirely proper. Obama, searching for any help he can get to extract himself from this re-election hole he’s in, would obviously like to be seen exhibiting leadership, something the general public seems to think he lacks.

    Spoken like a true partisan.

    Limbaugh is a hack in need of a good b*tch slapping. Unfortunately, I don’t think his body guards will ever let anybody that close.

  6. Tsar Nicholas says:

    This isn’t surprising. Limbaugh is not particularly bright, doesn’t have any significant education and has very limited real world experience. Hell, before lucking into his radio gig (coincidentally when the FCC shifted policy on the equal time rule) Limbaugh was a failed sportscaster from nowhere’s-ville.

    That said, Limbaugh does have more than a modicum of profit-making sense and in that regard he certainly knows his audience. Limbaugh doesn’t need to worry about facts, logic or common sense. He doesn’t need to worry about being consistent or even intellectually honest. Most of the people who sit there and listen to Limbaugh want to be fed this sort of nonsense. The more nonsense he feeds them the more they keep coming back for more. Hence ratings and thus more money in his pocket. At a certain level you have to admire the guy. Very few have done more with less.

  7. anjin-san says:

    This is the person that contemporary conservatives turn to for advice and information?

    Advice and information? Huh? This is the heart and soul of contemporary conservatism. This is exactly what the conservative movement is. Ugly, no? Yet this is the crew you choose to run with.

  8. Fiona says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    Au contraire, I think Rush is quite smart. He’s found his audience and exploited it for all it’s worth, making himself millions and earning a position of power over Republican politics in the meantime. I bet he doesn’t even believe half of the stuff he says. For a fat asshole, he’s done darned well for himself.

    Limbaugh’s hurricane tirade seems to me far less vile than most of the nonsense he spews. I’m guessing that if you look back to some of the things he said in the wake of Katrina, they were far, far worse and probably pretty racist.

  9. Gulliver says:

    “Insensitive Jerk” hardly qualifies for an example of intellectual analysis of any statements made by Limbaugh. Why don’t we just dismiss all comments by liberals here by labeling them “Empty Hype?”

    Rush is correct – the hurricane was both hyped and politicized for the purposes of pushing the Global Warming meme. Unfortunately for those here that object to Rush’s characterization, millions of people know that this is exactly what happened with the news coverage. In fact the average American is becoming acutely aware of the built-in agenda to most of what the main news outlets put on the air. Just reference the fairly recent polls that indicate fewer and fewer people believe that the news casts are unbiased…

  10. mantis says:


    The paranoid style, 2011 version.

  11. Lit3Bolt says:


    Good thing your homemade tinfoil hat protects you from the liberal Global Warming mind control rays. Please wear it at all times, especially in public. You never know when a liberal meme could strike!

  12. Mike says:

    As a Vermonter, let me say that this was not a meme, a media story, a political ploy, or any of that s**t. It was a storm that destroyed a lot of peoples’ homes businesses, and in some cases lives. The fact that people are making this into a Right vs. Left issue speaks to how divided and selfish this nation has become. Instead of using the internet and your energy on bickering over Rush, Obama, and appropriate hype level, why don’t you use those tools I mentioned to help people in NC, VT, and elsewhere. Your fellow Americans are hurting right now. What the hell is wrong with you?

  13. Inskipp says:

    Who listens to this drug addict anyway? People DIED. Thousands have lost their homes, and everything they’ve ever had. What an insensitive moron. He sounds disappointed that the storm didn’t live up to the ‘hype’.

    Thank goodness that some of the victims of this storm are still without power, they would likely take offensive to this crackerjack’s remarks.

    All he does is angry up the blood.

  14. Gulliver says:

    Interesting – more insults, more derision, and nothing of substance. You are all blinded by your echo chamber mentality. When the media – both after the fact and during the Tropical Storm’s travel up the east coast – is still defining Irene as a monster spawned by global warming (which they were)…. that is pure hype.

    The fact that people were killed and flooding occurred has nothing to do with the subject at hand – media hype and politicization of the event. The media didn’t even cover the real impact ; flooding inland from the rainfall. More damage was done by incidents of river flooding this year than by Irene – by several orders of magnitude.

    Live pictures on CNN of reporters along the Carolina coast talking about how powerful the storm is, with a light breeze waving the branches behind them – is hype. I , along with millions of others, watched and laughed. We did not laugh at the potential injury and damage, which is what you would prefer to think, but rather we all laughed at the pathetic attempts of the media to not look like idiots after the huge buildup they did for the “pending disaster/” This reaction was the media’s own fault

    Rather than being relieved and reporting the reduced impact, the media chose instead to try to hype the effects so as not to look foolish – and ended looking silly anyway. Keep justifying your dismissive views and insults, please. You will be all that much more surprised when the reality of how most of America perceives the media’s message (particularly political agenda messages) hits you in the face in 2012.

  15. Mike says:

    @Gulliver: Gulliver, while I think you and I would disagree on global warming, I couldn’t agree more with your statement, “The media didn’t even cover the real impact ; flooding inland from the rainfall.” This is apparent in every comment on every thread that dismisses the event as “a simple rainstorm” or “a few downed trees”. It is obvious that the public is not informed about what actually went down with Irene. Some of the blame lies with the public for not seeking out the info, but a lot of the blame lies with the media for dishonest coverage. The major news outlets were apparently too busy putting reporters in rain jackets on the boardwalk, getting those great wind-and-rain shots that everybody loves so much, to actually report on the real devastation that happened up here in Vermont and in other places. It was almost as if, once NYC didn’t get rocked, everything was fine and dandy. Meanwhile, there were no national reporters up here covering the real damage. Now, people are dismissing this event as “no big deal”, or politicizing it one way or the other, and not enough people know the hard facts of what is happening. At times like this, it would just be nice if people could put aside their political differences and help one another, or at the very least learn about peoples’ plight and be kind about it.

  16. jkp says:

    “It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”

    Theodore Roosevelt
    “Citizenship in a Republic,”
    Speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910