Public officials and meteorologists have repeatedly stressed the strength of the storm, especially to those living in the evacuation zones on Florida’s Atlantic coast.
“This storm will kill you. Time is running out,” Gov. Rick Scott (R) said in a press conference Thursday. “There are no excuses. You need to leave. Evacuate, evacuate, evacuate. Are you willing to take a change to risk your life? Are you willing to take a gamble? That’s what you’re doing.”
Yet in the face of those pleas conservative aggregator Matt Drudge, who has a house in Florida, tweeted that “The deplorables are starting to wonder if govt has been lying to them about Hurricane Matthew intensity to make exaggerated point on climate,” and “Hurricane Center has monopoly on data. No way of verifying claims. Nassau ground observations DID NOT match statements! 165mph gusts? WHERE?”
Drudge later posted the web address of a NOAA buoy and encouraged readers to monitor the storm on their own, to see if “observations match the Hurricane Center’s claimed 140 mph sustained winds."
As of 6:00 p.m. Thursday, this was the front page of the Drudge Report:
On Wednesday, Rush Limbaugh expressed a similar sentiment on his radio show, saying that government scientists might be “playing games” with storm data in order to “sell” the role climate change has played in making hurricanes stronger.
Rather than downplay the storm, though, the libertarian news site Heat Street inexplicably went after President Barack Obama for "refusing" to protect GOP nominee Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort from the hurricane's wrath.
“SHAMELESS: Obama Refuses to Act as Hurricane Matthew Heads Straight for Trump’s Estate in Mar-A-Lago,” the Heatstreet headline blared.
According to the Palm Beach Daily News, Mar-a-Lago should be just fine, as it was built to withstand such extreme weather.