Quay County Sun - Serving the High Plains

By Steve Hansen

Aspersions cast on media harmful


September 13, 2017 | View PDF

As I write this, the latest example of “fake news” was slamming into Naples, Florida, on its way to Tampa-St. Petersburg, Florida, where its mythical high winds and over-hyped storm surges were causing some very real damage throughout the Florida peninsula.

Rush Limbaugh wasn’t there. He decided this threat the media had conjured up just might be real after all and evacuated his Florida home in Miami.

On Sept. 5, he implied that the hurricane warnings were being hyped to advance the “climate change” agenda, hinting that the power of the approaching Hurricane Irma was being exaggerated to advance the “man-made climate change” agenda, which he does not believe in.

While I think he was irresponsible to his many thousands of faithful listeners in Florida alone by poo-pooing a looming disaster, it seems he compounded this lack of responsibility by not believing what he was saying himself.

Had he really believed that the severest storm warnings were “fake news,” he would have boarded his windows, stocked up his liquor cabinet and invited his friends over for what they used to call a “hurricane party.” He might even have used water that he bottled from his kitchen faucet, as he wisely advised his listeners to do in that same Sept. 5 broadcast.

But he left town. Which means he never believed storm warnings in the media to be fake in the first place.

That raises a pretty significant question: If he didn’t think the storm warnings were fake, why did he imply they might be bogus?

More significantly, what was he trying to achieve by hooking the fake news label onto a story as urgent and non-controversial as an approaching hurricane?

I hope my answer to that question is wrong: He was just being thorough.

Limbaugh, or whoever pays him to pontificate on the issues of the day, knows that if you are going to discredit news media to advance a cause, you cast doubt not only on politically significant stories but on all news the independent media reports.

I’m still worried that many on the right, maybe including Limbaugh, might be working toward some form of media censorship, and the more journalism they can discredit, the closer they get to that goal.

I do not want to see news media subjected to the same kind of control from the right that has been used from the left to strangle free speech on college campuses.

Steve Hansen writes about our life and times from his perspective of a retired Tucumcari journalist. Contact him at:




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