Should Americans Donate Money to Japan?

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," March 15, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Impact" segment tonight: As you may know, Americans are the most generous people in the world. When the tsunami hit southeast Asia, we donated a billion taxpayer dollars, and that doesn't count private donations. When the earthquake hit Haiti, we gave that country more than a billion dollars. Even the recent earthquake in Chile resulted in $10 million American tax dollars being sent down there.

Now Japan is in bad shape, but a columnist for the Reuters news agency, Felix Salmon, says America should not send any money over there at all. He points out that Japan is a rich country and massive donations often lead to not much relief. Haiti being a good example of that.

With us now, our "Barack and Hard Place" duo: Monica Crowley and Alan Colmes. So Monica, money to Japan. I'm getting a lot of mail on this. The celebrities are tweeting about it. Celebrities tweeting…

MONICA CROWLEY, SYNDICATED RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Yes, I've been following Lady Gaga who has been tweeting about this.

O'REILLY: What exactly does Lady Gaga want to happen?

CROWLEY: Well, what most of the celebrities are tweeting about now…


CROWLEY: …with regard to helping Japan is donating at least $10 to the American Red Cross…


CROWLEY: …who is seeking to go in there. American Red Cross is a very good…

O'REILLY: Yes, we like them.

CROWLEY: …a reputable charity. Part of the problem when you talk about donating in the wake of natural disasters like this is that so many governments are incredibly corrupt. Haiti, for example. So when you pump in government money or private donations, a lot of times that money just goes right down the drain and doesn't help the people in need. Japan is a different kind of situation. It is a first-world country. It's not a third-world country. They do have very solid institutions, good government. That's why…

O'REILLY: But they are a wealthy nation, also.


O'REILLY: And they have insurance. And they have an infrastructure. So did you send your $10 bucks in?

CROWLEY: I have not done that yet.

O'REILLY: But you might?

CROWLEY: I – but I am seriously considering doing it. However, because -- and here's why. Because a lot of times when these disasters happen in third-world countries, everybody rushes because they are so desperately poor, say in Haiti. But I also think that just because a disaster happens in the first world, where these countries are better equipped to rebuild because they are richer, that doesn't mean they deserve our support moral or economic any less.

O'REILLY: All right. But there's a matter of being deserving and there's a matter of whether it does a lot of good. Look, when we have a disaster here, Colmes, in the United States, all right, we're not getting any money from anybody.

CROWLEY: That's not true.

O'REILLY: Nobody sending us anything.

ALAN COLMES, FOX NEWS RADIO HOST: Katrina people wanted to help us; 9/11 people wanted to help us.

O'REILLY: The Katrina people, that help was basically -- and the oil spill help -- was basic logistic; it wasn't financial. You know, they say, this is a rich country. You know, you guys take care of yourself.

COLMES: Well, we have the same (INAUDIBLE) as Japan. It's not just money they need. They need water; they need potables; they need to get equipment there.

O'REILLY: Well, we are doing that. I don't think there is anybody has a beef with that. I think that we provide logistics for them. But cash is -- the guy from Reuters is saying, listen, you know, enough is enough here. We've been sending money to all these countries. We don't have any money. We are bankrupt.

COLMES: That's not exactly the argument I took from his article. I thought what he was saying was that at certain organizations like the Red Cross…


COLMES: …will put the money where they know it's needed. So if it's needed in Japan, they will put it. If there are other areas, like Haiti, they'll put it there. If you go to an organization like that…

O'REILLY: So you're not guaranteed that your $10 bucks is going to Japan.

COLMES: No. In other words don't (INAUDIBLE) specifically but go to an organization like that.

O'REILLY: But that -- but the Red Cross is a good organization, so what? So they take $2 and give it to a blood bank in Schenectady, New York; I don't have a beef with it. But it's the -- it's the philosophy of how much can the United States or should the United States do because we do everything. You know, I mean, I -- I've got to say that we -- we -- every single time, and we don't have any more money. It's gone.


CROWLEY: Yes, no I -- I understand what you're saying. If you're talking about government money going to Japan, that's a different issue. But a lot of people feel a moral imperative to try to help…

O'REILLY: Then the Red Cross is the way to go.

COLMES: Absolutely.

CROWLEY: Right. And if you want to donate whatever money you feel that you can donate to the Red Cross to have them help the human suffering in Japan, I think that that's an appropriate thing to do.

COLMES: There's also Operation Blessing International. They are doing drinking water. If you go to Charity Navigator they actually have a good sense of how much of your money actually goes to a particular charity.

O'REILLY: Did you send your $10 bucks in?

COLMES: Not yet.

O'REILLY: Not yet.



COLMES: But I may do that.

CROWLEY: But – but…

O'REILLY: But you may not.

CROWLEY: You know what, but the other point is you…

COLMES: Well, I may. Depends how this interview goes.

CROWLEY: …you have been good over the years attracting different charities…

O'REILLY: Right.

CROWLEY: …whether it's 9/11 or the Haiti earthquake.

O'REILLY: And I just -- and I want to stop you right now and that's because it was so disappointing to me to see what happened in Haiti. It was so outrageous. And all of these guys like Sean Penn and all these who grandstand down there, Clinton, Bill Clinton, grandstand, grandstand, grandstand.

CROWLEY: And they still are by the way.

O'REILLY: We ask them to come on here, no way. No way. Are they…

COLMES: With all -- with all due respect, just because they don't come on "The Factor" doesn't mean they are doing bad work.

O'REILLY: They don't come on anywhere. Go ahead. Google Sean Penn explaining Haitian donations and you know what you come up with? Nothing.

COLMES: All right.

O'REILLY: Google Bill Clinton about it. Google Clinton about it.

COLMES: Bill Clinton has done nothing.

O'REILLY: He has not explained one time what the Clinton Initiative has done to make sure the money gets to the Haitian people. Not one time.

COLMES: I didn't come on the show to defend everything Bill Clinton does.

O'REILLY: Then don't make those statements. Don't make those statements then.

COLMES: Well, does he not do good work?

O'REILLY: No, he didn't do good work.

COLMES: Bill Clinton doesn't do good work.

O'REILLY: Initially him and Bush, they did what they should have done and then they didn't track it.


COLMES: The Clinton -- the Clinton Initiative actually brings a lot of powerful people who actually put in writing what they got to do.

O'REILLY: This is the biggest bunch of BS.

COLMES: Oh come on, Bill.

O'REILLY: His obligation is to track it and make sure the money gets to the folks and he doesn't do it.

COLMES: That aside. We should be encouraging people.

O'REILLY: That aside.

CROWLEY: Well, no because that…

COLMES: Well, wait a minute. We should be encouraging people to do the right thing and offer help and offer assistance.

CROWLEY: Look, look, this is the point whether you are former President Bush and former President Clinton or Sean Penn or Lady Gaga. If you're going to attach your name to this kind of…

O'REILLY: You've got to follow through.

CROWLEY: …you must follow through. You have a moral responsibility…

O'REILLY: You know, and this isn't a partisan attack. I asked President Bush in my interview for his book out in Dayton, Ohio. I said: Do you have any idea where any of that money went for Haiti that you and President Clinton asked for? And he was honest. No.

CROWLEY: No, because they weren't tracking it. Exactly.


CROWLEY: Exactly.

COLMES: But we should encourage people to follow their hearts and to give what they can give to the right organization.

CROWLEY: Ok, but…

COLMES: And track where the money is going. And let's not dissuade people from -- from giving…

CROWLEY: So -- so the point is -- the point is…

O'REILLY: I'm not dissuading anybody. I'm -- I'm -- I'm so angry because this has been going on since 9/11.


O'REILLY: All right.


O'REILLY: They get out there and they grandstand and they ask the folks to give money and the folks always come through, always come through. And then the money, boom, gone.

COLMES: So do your homework and go to Charity Navigator and go to Red Cross. Go to organizations you know.

O'REILLY: All right, last word. Last word.

CROWLEY: To avoid theft on this kind of grand scale, your hard-earned money, if you want to choose to donate to support morally or economically the Japanese people, do your due diligence and make sure you have…

COLMES: Right.

O'REILLY: The Red Cross. We trust the Red Cross.


O'REILLY: All right. So if you give…

CROWLEY: They're outstanding.

O'REILLY: …money to the Red Cross for the Japanese people, some of it will get there and some of it, as Colmes pointed out accurately, might be peeled off someplace else. But that's all right. They're not going to waste it.

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