Brokaw Digs: Americans Helping Haiti, 'Rush Limbaugh Aside'
NBC's Tom Brokaw, on Monday's Today show, joined in the chorus of
those depicting Rush Limbaugh as some sort of insensitive lout who
doesn't want Americans to donate to the Haitian earthquake victims. The
former NBC Nightly News anchor, in response to a question from Today
co-anchor Matt Lauer, praised America's generosity to the disaster, but
then took a swipe at the conservative radio talk show host: "It's a
tribute to this country, Rush Limbaugh aside, that you have
former President Clinton and former President George Bush, who are
political arch enemies, coming together to say, we have to do something
about this poorest place in the western hemisphere."
Limbaugh, in fact, has never discouraged Americans to donate money to help victims of the quake. He only cautioned that giving money through the federal government wouldn't be as effective as contributing to more efficient private charities, as he pointed out on his January 14 show: "Private donations are going to be much better than a government donation. They're all going, go to the Red Cross, do other things, don't go through the government. It's just going to go through hands and bureaucracies and a dollar is going to end up being 30 cents by the time they get through with it. I did not say, 'Don't make donations.'"
To read more of what Limbaugh actually said, in full context, about the disaster in Haiti please follow this link to the transcript at the official site:
The following is the relevant exchange as it was aired on the January 18 Today show:
MATT LAUER: Let's bring in NBC's Tom Brokaw right now. Tom, good morning to you.
TOM BROKAW: Good morning Matt.
LAUER: I want to get your perspective on this. I mean we've got a lot of individuals, Americans there. We've got a lot of small charities doing work there. But in terms of the government's response - the U.S. government's response - how would you characterize it so far?
BROKAW: Well, I think that it was well-intentioned. But it was another reminder of how we need to streamline all of these responses and have plans that are ready to move. On the other hand, Haiti is one of the most desperate places on Earth. Even in the best of times in Haiti, it's a very difficult place to get around in. You know about the construction down there. The, the, the magnitude of this disaster is just overwhelming. But let me also say that this is a great tribute to this country. I worry that there might be donor fatigue.
BROKAW: That people have been asked to give and give and give for other causes. We have a tough economy.
LAUER: Will this be different? Because Americans are generous, but they also have a short attention span.
BROKAW: Well they do, and I think that, I've been saying to a lot of friends who want to get involved right now, why don't you wait three months. Because Haiti is really gonna need work then. There are a lot of supplies in the pipeline now. A lot of response going on. It's three months from now when the country has to be rebuilt, and it's a tribute to this country, Rush Limbaugh aside, that you have former President Clinton and former President George Bush, who are political arch enemies, coming together to say, we have to do something about this poorest place in the western hemisphere. And the response, I think has been very gratifying and a great tribute to the generosity of this country.
-Geoffrey Dickens is the senior news analyst at the Media Research Center.