Yes, that’s right. You read it correctly. Rush Limbaugh thinks that Hurricane Irma coverage is “fake news.” I think he has lost his mind. But, to write about this, I am going to begin in defense of Rush and work my way back to reality. Conspiracy theories begin in a rational, logical place. However, they also begin from a need to make sense of things that are beyond our control such as a runaway government or a natural disaster.

Conspiracy theory, reality, panic, fear and anxiety

The place where Rush Limbaugh began, as I understand it, seems to me to be pretty logical.

If one watches the cable news networks like Fox, MSNBC, or CNN they’ll see terrifying coverage during a massive hurricane. And rightly so! In reality, it is a terrifying hurricane. If one further observes the panic of shoppers, e.g., buying up all the water and gas, etc., then it might be natural to see a pattern and begin wanting to discredit the source of your panic or fear.

The trouble with conspiracy theories though, is that they also tend to feed the lizard brain, or amygdala, those dopamines we love so much. This only further feeds the fear and anxiety. Somewhere in there the conspiracy theorist steps of the cliff of reason. Somewhere in there, this person begins to resemble Alex Jones, Steve Bannon, or a mad street preacher.

It takes but one step. Once the mind starts picking up one Conspiracy Theory, it easily slips from one to another as if on ice. I suspect that Rush Limbaugh did not do one lick of objective research into this cockamamie theory because to do so would be to see the logic fail. And if that logic failed, Rush would be left with boldly faced terror standing at the foot of the storm of the century, without a reason.

Rush’s mind, failed logic, and a need for psychotherapy

So, Rush should consider, logically, what the point would be for scientists to say that they have never seen a storm this large. Are they conspiring?! Then the world must be flat as well!! What would be the point of altering the images that satellites are putting out when scientists the world over can view these satellite feeds?

How or why would retailers and grocers be conspiring with media companies to sell more water?! Anyone living in reality can quickly begin to see the instability and/or failed logic in such a theory as the one drifting within the fog of Limbaugh’s mind.

Viren Swami, a psychology professor at the University of Westminster in England who studies belief in conspiracies said, “The best predictor of belief in a conspiracy theory is belief in other conspiracy theories.” That does not mean there is no truth mixed in there. It’s the very tie that binds the theory together.

I recommend, Rush, that you weigh your beliefs about, ‘what’s really going on 'round here!’ against what you can actually prove before you publicly vomit the words from your mouth.

You are a celebrity voice and with such honor must come greater responsibility. As one that holds the ear of so many, you are bound by an unspoken code, to stay rational and hold tight onto the truth of things. Beyond that, I suggest intensive psychotherapy. You appear to have lost your mind sir!