September 27, 2020

Conservative Media and Trump Dismiss Climate Change as Cause of Fires

“In the hands of Democratic politicians, climate change is like systemic racism in the sky,” Mr. Carlson told viewers. “You can’t see it, but rest assured, it’s everywhere, and it’s deadly. And like systemic racism, it is your fault.”

Mr. Limbaugh and Mr. Carlson are two of the most prominent commentators in the right-wing media sphere, where a rich history of climate denialism has merged with Trump-era cultural warfare to generate a deep skepticism of the notion that climate change is a factor in the fires devastating the West Coast.

Like President Trump, conservative media stars dismiss climate change — which scientists say is the primary cause of the conflagration — and point to the poor management of forestland by local (and, conveniently, Democratic) officials. Fringe right-wing websites, like The Gateway Pundit, have blamed left-wing arsonists, fueling false rumors that authorities say are impeding rescue efforts.

Visiting California on Monday to witness the destruction firsthand, Mr. Trump took Western states to task for failing to manage the forests properly and asserted, with no evidence, that the climate “will start getting cooler.” “Just watch,” he added. “I don’t think science knows, actually.”

The president’s comments echoed his overly optimistic promises this year about the coronavirus — “it’s going to disappear,” Mr. Trump said in February — but were likely to resonate with fans of the conservative media personalities who routinely defend his agenda.

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