Yank licenses of stations broadcasting Limbaugh and Jones
By The Wayne Madsen Report
The Federal Communications Commissions (FCC) issues licenses to broadcast stations that are expected to provide information for the public benefit. The Radio Act of 1927 established a federal regulatory framework for broadcasting that rests on the principle that the broadcast spectrum belongs to the public and that users of the spectrum must serve the public interest.
Recent statements about "fake weather" by right-wing bloviators Rush Limbaugh and Alex Jones, whose programs are broadcast on AM and FM radio, both regulated and licensed by the FCC, do not serve the "public interest."
Limbaugh specifically stated on his nationally-syndicated radio program that weather broadcasts about the danger posed by Hurricane Irma, with sustained winds in the Caribbean at 185 mph, created an artificial “panic” that only benefited retailers, the media, and the climate change agenda. Limbaugh lives in a mansion in Palm Beach, Florida.
Palm Beach is currently within the path of Category 5 Irma, which wiped out over 90 percent of the structures on Barbuda and brought devastation to St. Maarten/St. Martin and Anguilla, is not "fake weather."
Limbaugh added to his "fake weather" diatribe, saying that Irma is "one of the fastest and best ways . . . to advance this climate change agenda." Ignoring Limbaugh's obvious propagandizing against industrial-caused climate change spurred on by massive spewing of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, Irma, like Hurricane Harvey, which deluged Texas with over 50 inches of rain and caused unprecedented flooding, are the result of warming ocean temperatures. As oceans heat up, stronger and more devastating storms are the result.
Limbaugh contradicted the accepted science by declaring, "All you need is to create the fear and panic accompanied by talk that climate change is causing hurricanes to become more frequent and bigger and more dangerous, and you create the panic, and it’s mission accomplished, agenda advanced."
In a series of Twitter messages, NBC's meteorologist Al Roker called Limbaugh's comments borderline criminal. Roker wrote, "Do not listen to @rushlimbaugh when he says #Irma is not a dangerous #storm and is hype. He is putting people's lives at risk."
What makes Limbaugh's comments more egregious is that his program is aired by several radio stations in the current projected 300-mile wide path of Irma, notably stations in Marathon, Port St. Lucie, Gainesville, Melbourne, Jacksonville, Miramar, Daytona Beach, Fort Pierce, Sebring, St. Augustine, Port Charlotte, Maitland, Tampa, Florida; Brunswick and Savannah, Georgia; and Charleston and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Using the public airwaves to try to convince listeners to treat Irma as a marketing and political hoax is grounds for the stations that carry the "Rush Limbaugh Show" to drop the program or lose their FCC broadcast licenses.
Limbaugh's climate change denying rhetoric apes that of Donald Trump, who has called scientifically-proven climate change a "Chinese hoax." Trump's Mar-a-Lago club estate sits on the Atlantic coast in West Palm Beach, not far from Limbaugh's mansion.
Climate change deniers Donald Trump and Rush Limbaugh both have large estates [left-to- right] on Florida's Atlantic coast and both are within the projected path of super-hurricane Irma.
As Harvey dumped epochal-level rainfall amounts on Houston and environs, Alex Jones postulated on air that the government used "weather weaponry" to steer Harvey over Houston and maintain it over the city. Had Barack Obama still been president, Jones would have blamed him for steering Harvey over Houston. However, with Jones's political ally Trump in the White House, Jones harps on about hurricane warfare being conducted by the "deep state" to promote a "liberal agenda."
Jones also believes that Irma is timed with the October 20 release of the Hollywood disaster movie, "Geostorm," which Jones mistakenly called "Geoengineering." Jones blathered, ". . .
we have the new film Geoengineering 2017, coming soon on October 20. Oh, just a little bit more than a month or so after Irma is set to hit. Isn’t that just perfect timing?" Perhaps the film's producers used a little common sense -- something Alex Jones severely lacks -- in selecting the last few weeks of official hurricane season plus the days before Halloween as an advantageous time for the movie's release.
Over 90 percent of all structures damaged or destroyed on Barbuda, which took a direct hit from Irma. Limbaugh and Jones calling reporting on Irma over-hyped "fake weather" news.
At any rate, Jones's irresponsible pushing of "fake weather" nonsense, including calling Irma a non-existent "Category 6" storm, should earn the AM and FM stations that broadcast the Genesis Communications Network-syndicated "Alex Jones Show" a loss of their FCC licenses if they don't pull the program altogether. Such action is particularly germane to the stations in Irma's path: WDCF-AM in Zephyrhills, Florida and WOIC-AM in Columbia, South Carolina. Stations that broadcast Jones's show in the area of Texas and Louisiana affected by Harvey should also drop the Jones show or face a license confiscation: KSET-AM in Beaumont, Texas; KTFS-AM in Texarkana, Texas; and KMBS-AM in Monroe, Louisiana.
Reporting on the weather should be based on science, not crazy conspiracy theories from right-wing loons. The FCC owes the public a clean-up of irresponsible broadcasting on the public airwaves. There is no constitutional right for someone to yell "fire" in a crowded movie theater. And there is no right for broadcasters to air life- and limb-threatening nonsense in the public commons of the radio frequency spectrum.