Limbaugh slams media 'lies and misstatements' over Irma

Nationally syndicated radio host Rush Limbaugh slammed the media for what he called its "lies and misstatements" over his comments about there being "no reason to panic" in Florida over Hurricane Irma last week.

"I'm going through one of the greatest smears of my career," said Limbaugh to kick off his program on Monday. "This is all over the place that I told people there's no storm. That I told people you don't have to run away from Florida. You don't have to evacuate because I said the storm wasn't coming. I did not say that. I didn't say the storm is not big. I didn't say the storm was going somewhere else. [The media] did.

"There isn't a thing I said about this that anybody can prove that I was wrong about," the best-selling author added.

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Limbaugh showed long-range forecasts from 7-10 days ago that showed some possible storm tracks putting Irma further out in the Atlantic before hitting South Carolina or North Carolina and not Florida. 

"How can there be a run on water from a hurricane forecast that wasn't expected to hit us?" Limbaugh asked. 

"By the way, didn't hit Tampa. All night last night, 'it's gonna wreck Tampa. Gonna ruin Tampa.' I was watching it. It wasn't gonna go to Tampa. Meanwhile, during all of this, there's a run on water," he added as many stores throughout Florida needed to restock bottled water throughout last week. 

Limbaugh said that he simply was explaining "how the world works" in terms of media hype around big storms and retailers profiting off of it. 

"I explained how the world works. I explained how local media seeks to hype these storms because it's good for ratings. And it's also good for grocery stores and advertisers that sell things you need during a hurricane," Limbaugh said.

"Never did I say the hurricane — did I say you ignore the forecast. Never. Nothing, that is out there on social media is true."

"This is a series of lies and misstatements because I do not heel. I did not join in the panic," he added.

Limbaugh's criticism was directed at what was being said on social media. He also specifically took issue with a Friday story on The Hill regarding on his evacuation.

Limbaugh hosted his program from Los Angeles after leaving his Palm Beach home under a mandatory evacuation declared by local officials on Thursday.

Irma was downgraded to a tropical storm on Monday morning. 

Damage caused by the hurricane appeared to be less than what was originally expected. 

Insurance stocks were up on Wall Street, likely as a result of the lower-than-expected damage.