Add Hurricane Trutherism to the list of baseless conspiracy theories conservative media figure Matt Drudge has signed onto.
As officials — including Florida's own conservative Gov. Rick Scott — warn that Hurricane Matthew could be one of the deadliest storms Florida has seen in decades, Drudge took to his Internet soapbox to question whether liberals were exaggerating the storm's seriousness to convince conservatives to believe climate change is real.
"The deplorables are starting to wonder if govt has been lying to them about Hurricane Matthew intensity to make exaggerated point on climate," Drudge tweeted Thursday afternoon, hours before the storm was set to barrel into the east coast of Florida.
Drudge went on to cast doubt on the scientific observations of actual weather predictors and experts — without any basis in fact.
He also posted a splash headline asking, in all caps, "STORM FIZZLE?" — yet another dangerous wording that could cost people their lives if they listen to Drudge's word over actual experts.
For now, Drudge is on his own in the conservative media sphere in questioning the intensity of the storm.
Scott, a tea party Republican and Donald Trump supporter, has been using dire language in warning residents of his state to take the storm seriously.
"This storm will kill you," Scott said during a news conference, urging those under evacuation order to heed the calls. "Time is running out."
Trump himself sent out a measured statement on the storm, urging those in the storm's path to "listen to their Governors and local emergency officials urging the evacuations of at-risk coastal communities."
But if Drudge's doubts catch on in the conservative media echo chamber —where he has immense reach and clout — it could create an ugly and dangerous situation that could cost people their lives. This is no game.