2011/03/17

Media exaggerates Japan disaster, US radio host says

WASHINGTON, March 16, 2011 (AFP) - Right-wing US radio host Rush Limbaugh said on his show Wednesday that the media is overplaying the nuclear crisis in Japan after last week's 9.0-magnitude earthquake and tsunami.

"We have all these people on the media who we've never heard of, never heard from ever before, making calls to evacuate," Limbaugh said on his show on Premiere Radio Networks.

He singled out a European Union organization for criticism, saying it was exaggerating the situation in Japan, where Friday's quake and tsunami have left thousands dead or missing, and touched off a nuclear crisis.

"Something called the EU energy agent is saying all this is uncontrollable.

"We had a panic story yesterday that one of the reactors was in the process of meltdown, and it was so bad all the workers had been sent out.

"Then we realized it was an error in translation -- they were just temporarily dispatched and were sent back in," he said.

The host of what is said to be the most listened-to radio show in America compared the disaster in Japan to the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, which he also insisted was not as bad as media reports said it was.

"Let's go back to the BP oil spill. Do you remember at the end of it all they couldn't find very much oil, and yet it was the worst disaster ever?

"It wasn't the catastrophe it was portrayed to be," he said, saying that he has had "emails from people who are living in Tokyo, saying 'Yeah, we're playing golf today, people are going about their business and living.'

"The reports are this country's on the verge of sinking, the whole country, the whole island is on the verge of disappearing.

"Remember the BP oil spill, the worst oil spill ever except there wasn't any oil," he said.

Eleven rig workers died when a BP-leased rig exploded some 50 miles (80 kilometers) off the coast of Louisiana in April last year, sending a record 4.9 million barrels of toxic crude spewing into the Gulf.

It took three months to cap the well, while leaking oil tainted marshlands, brought a halt to commercial fishing and shrimping in large areas of the Gulf, and crippled tourism.