Ebony Editor Responds to Rush Limbaugh: Get Out of the Office More

I had a chance to speak with Ebony Senior Editor Kevin Chappell, in response to criticism levelled at him by kevin_chappellRush Limbaugh.  You can see that at AOL here: Rush Limbaugh Slams Ebony Magazine Reporter

Tommy Christopher: Do you have any reaction to Rush Limbaugh’s criticism of your question at Tuesday’s news conference?

Kevin Chappell:  I just saw it.  It doesn’t come as a surprise, I guess.

Tommy Christopher:  Well, did you think the comparison to People magazine was unfair?

Kevin Chappell:  Definitely, we cover featured news, but we also do hard news, and have been covering the White house for, I want to say, 4 decades.  We have an office a block from the White House.  We have every right to be in the room as the big newspapers, and we’re happy that the new administration is giving us that opportunity.

Tommy Christopher: What did you think about his criticism of your question, about child homelessness?

Kevin Chappell: I think Rush probably needs to get out of the office more.  It’s on the front page of the New York Times today, these tent cities are popping up everywhere.

And that is the far extreme of the spectrum of homelessness, when you reach that point where you’re pitching a tent, that’s to one extreme, but if you look at the whole homeless problem, where, because of the economy, more and more families are either living in their cars, or in motels, or with friends or family, they’re homeless. So while these tent cities are the far end of the spectrum, the problem is still there.

I stand by my question, and I think the President realizes it is a problem, and he’s hoping that his policies will provide a cushion for people who have fallen on hard times. so they people don’t end up in these tent cities.

Tommy Christopher:  What about his contention that the President is hurting charitable giving by reducing the tax deduction?

Kevin Chappell: I sort of agree with the President that the way to increase these donations is to improve the economy.  I don’t think the tax deduction has much to do with it, I don’t see how the two questions are related.  They’re related by the fact that if you improve the economy, charitable donations will go up and less people will be homeless.  I don’t see where Rush finds this contradiction.

Tommy Christopher: Why do you think he singled you out for criticism?

Kevin Chappell: Well, Rush is, and I’ve heard this from other people, too, it’s hard to change, change is difficult, and for the longest time, the mainstream, big publications have had a monopoly on presidential political coverage.  Things are a little different now.

And the administration didn’t do this, the American people did it.  They’ve moved away from traditional media, and the administration is just reflecting that.

I would say that, probably, 3/4 of our readership gets their news from sources other than these dailies, and I think that’s going to continue.  It’s a new day.

Tommy Christopher:  Anything else you’d like to say to Rush about this?

Kevin Chappell:  I just think Rush needs to get out of the office more, to see what people are going through.



  1. Good interview Tommy. And Mr. Chappell is right about those ‘tent cities’. There is a pretty good size one in Sacramento here in California. Arnold can probably see it from his office. Oprah did a whole show on it with Lisa Ling.

    Mr. Chappell made an excellent point on how the way people are getting info is changing, and Obama seems to be very aware of that and is staying in touch by adapting to that change.

    Rush needs to lift his ass out of that chair of his and go see how real people are struggling these days. He really does seem to be out of touch–or maybe he’s just really about how much money he can make. I’m leaning more to the latter.

  2. Yeah, Kevin handled it well. I woulda been going off on Rush.

  3. Rush is such a symptom–nothing more.

  4. Why don’t you email them to me and I’ll have Caleb do it?

  5. Okie dokie, Tommy. Wait, what’s your email address?

  6. tommyxtopher@aim.com

  7. Thanks, Tommy. And thank Caleb for me too.

  8. My name is Rev. Harriet Bradley. I posted a question as well as a video on whitehouse.gov for the President’s Online Town Hall Meeting. I am “Harriet in Georgia.” I was totally shocked to see myself on the television screen during the meeting. One of my friends told me to Google “harriet in georgia.” When I did that, I saw a link for Rush Limbaugh. It was a transcript from his Friday program. He played my video clip. I read the following statement made by Mr. Limbaugh: “I don’t believe any of these questions actually came from people that just created them.” I am here to tell you that is exactly what happened. That question came from my heart. I have been troubled for a long time about jobs being outsourced. I sent Mr. Limbaugh an email. I have been trying to call his 800# but the line has been continually busy. I have been encouraging everyone that as an ordiinary American you do have a voice. You just have to use it. That is exactly what I did.

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