'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for Friday, January 15th, 2010
Video via MSNBC: Quick Comment (King), Quick Comment (Limbaugh), Worst Persons
Video via MSNBC: Quick Comment (King), Quick Comment (Limbaugh)
Guests: Kerry Sanders, Kate Conradt, John Holmes
KEITH OLBERMANN, HOST (voice-over): It is worse - far worse than we thought.
The new estimate: 140,000 dead. Only 40,000 buried.
And the patience of those in life or death need is nearly exhausted.
And this may be the critical night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People are going to be running out of food, out of water. I think we need help because it's urgent.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: And tonight, the single, most extraordinary piece of reporting you will see from the living hell that is Port-au-Prince.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We followed a French rescue team down into the bowels of a luxury hotel, through the concrete, under the beams, and into a tiny cavity where a man is still alive.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Give me your hand.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: This is Countdown's special coverage of the earthquake in Haiti. The fourth night since the ground shook and the fragile society there collapsed - to the point that Haiti's prime minister has now taken ceded control of Port-au-Prince airport to American troops.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RENE PREVAL, HAITI PRESIDENT: The world is with us, is helping us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: But after days of the cliched race against the clock, this appears to be the cliched 11th hour. More trapped are rescued. But few trapped can survive another night. And they are fighting over the food and the water.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We didn't think we were going to make it because people came on Tuesday and said, "We'll be right back," and nobody came back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: And at home, this thing says we have reduced the U.S.
Army to, quote, "meals on wheels."
And this congressman says we must continue to deport undocumented Haitians back to their stricken homeland and make them be relief workers there.
Our shame and our pride.
All the news and commentary - now on Countdown.
OLBERMANN: Good evening from New York.
On Liberty Street, not far from the center of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, survivors of Tuesday's earthquake today digging through rubble with their bare hands. On Liberty Street, at least, they were not looking for fellow survivors nor for the dead, now estimated by the Haitian government to number at least 140,000.
Instead, one of those digging today is telling a reporter, "We're looking for drinks and food. We don't have any."
More than 72 hours after the massive 7.0 earthquake flattened, according to the latest U.N. estimate, up to half of the buildings in the Haitian capital; in a country where 2/3 of the labor force does not have formal job, where civil unrest lies just below the surface in the best of days, survivors spending yet another of these worst of days without water or food or shelter.
The Haitian government is telling the "Reuters" news agency that its main concern is potential violence in the street. U.N. peacekeepers patrolling the capital are warning that Haitians are increasingly angry that aid has not been distributed quickly. Small bands of young men, some with machetes were wandering the streets of that city helping themselves to whatever they can find.
The U.N.'s humanitarian spokesperson describing survivors as being in a desperate situation: "If they see a truck with something or if they see a supermarket which has collapsed, they just rush to get something to eat."
The U.N. secretary general is saying that the World Food Program is now feeding about 8,000 people a day in Haiti. Keep in mind, though, that the Red Cross has estimated roughly 3 million people have been affected by the earthquake.
Plenty of aid is now landing in Haiti, with most of it is still stuck at the airport not yet reaching those in need. Soldiers from the 82nd Airborne today are setting up water distribution points around Port-au-Prince. The USS Carl Vinson providing about 35,000 gallons of water to distribute today and General Douglas Fraser, the commander of U.S. Southern Command, is saying today that the U.S. is looking into the possibility of establishing a support base in the Dominican Republic on the same island so supplies can be brought in by land from there.
Today's other logistical challenge: burying the dead. "Reuters" quotes Haiti's secretary of state for public safety is saying that 40,000 have been buried, another 100,000 still unburied and thought to be dead. The leader of a special U.S. rescue unit telling the "Miami Herald" that it is likely most victims will be buried in mass graves. Because of lessons learned in the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, recovery teams will probably only be able only to take photographs of the dead or perhaps to snip pieces of clothing to show relatives before burial.
Meanwhile, here in the U.S., the secretary of state, Mrs. Clinton, is announcing that she would visit Haiti tomorrow to get a firsthand look at the relief effort.
President Obama is saying that he would meet tomorrow with former Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush about their leading the drive to raise money in this country. His administration is announcing today it would grant temporary protected status to all Haitian immigrants now in the U.S. illegally. About 30,000 had orders to leave the U.S. Thousands more are living underground. That protected status is temporary.
The president is also speaking by phone today to his Haitian counterpart, President Preval's message, according to Obama, is one of overwhelming gratitude.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I expressed to President Preval my deep condolences for the people of Haiti and our strong support for the relief efforts that are underway. I would note that as I ended my call with President Preval, he said that he has been extremely touched by the friendship and the generosity of the American people. It was an emotional moment. And this president, seeing the devastation around him, passed this message to the American people. He said, "From the bottom of my heart and on behalf of the people of Haiti, thank you, thank you, thank you."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Joining us once again, live from Port-au-Prince, Kerry Sanders, NBC News correspondent.
Kerry, good evening. Thank you again for your time.
Day four of a disaster is when you would expect to have seen by now the almost iconic images of trucks delivering supplies. Have you seen any of them?
KERRY SANDERS, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Have not. And I'm surprised, because it appeared that early this morning, that's what was the plan. It appeared that there would be those trucks out, food and water would be being distributed. And it didn't happen.
And I think that from just about every little spot that I stopped at, people came up to me and either through gestures or with limited English said, "Where's the food? Where's the water?"
You know, we talked about the fact that this is very much a community on edge. And you just mentioned people armed with machetes and walking the streets. I know the people who are in charge of delivering the food that's coming here recognized the need to get it out there. So, it just - it's just really kind of a surprise that it is not there today.
OLBERMANN: The survivors obviously don't understand that hold up, and those of us who are nowhere near this are only guessing and in the dark and kind of ashamed that we're even guessing about this. But can you explain the most it simply what the most logical and likeliest explanation for this is? Is it a question of distance from where the supplies are at the airport to the center of Port-au-Prince? Or is it the condition of the roads? Or are there other factors?
SANDERS: No. First of all, I think that the roads themselves are passable. And distance is not the issue. I mean, obviously we're getting in our vehicles and we're getting around, we can do it. And, quite frankly, there's a fair amount of traffic on the road.
The U.N. has patrolled armored personnel carriers here for quite sometime, they get around. It may be simply a matter of security. And I have seen this happen. In fact, I've seen it happen in Haiti where people come with generous ideas of bringing truck loads of goods and driving to a location and it turns into a riot as people grab for things.
And today, I saw just at a small location where water was being distributed by some Haitian police officer who had some water in a cooler and was sharing it. It got ugly as people started grabbing and attacking for things. So, I recognize it's complicated. But I think that the people also have the experience to do this. And I'm just surprised that we don't see it out in mass in this community yet.
OLBERMANN: Is it a problem of - I guess, turnover is the right word - of people who come to help who are not familiar with that environment. Because the commander of SOUTHCOM, General Fraser, said - the quote is, "If the citizens of Haiti will just remain in place and remain calm, help is on the way." That's the whole, isn't it? They can't there's a predilection not to to begin with, which you can debate the merits of and the meaning of forever.
But the point is, day four after an earthquake with no food, no water, and very little shelter, it's not a question of how people behave in certain countries, these are just ordinary human reactions at this point. And to say if they will just remain in place and remain stay calm is really asking the most extraordinary thing at the worst possible time.
SANDERS: You know, I can also say that the people are, quite frankly, remarkable, that they are holding it together.
SANDERS: I met a family today in what would be considered a nice neighborhood here in Port-au-Prince. Their house was severely damaged. Houses around them were completely gone. And they were able to take some of their living room furniture out of the home and put it under a tree, which has got some shade on the street. And they are living on their living room furniture out under a tree waiting for help.
And I've asked them, "You know, where do you expect this help to come from?" They said, "We don't know. I mean, we don't have transportation, we don't know where to go. We have what little food we were able to get out of our house."
Like I said, this is a middle class neighborhood. So, they had enough food for the week. A lot of people here get their food in the morning for that day. And so, when you hear people talking about how they need food and water, put yourself in a position where you start your day out every day, on a good day, before an earthquake about getting your day's food and your day's water. There is no refrigerator to go to.
And so, this family is living out under a tree wondering where the help is and when it will get to them. And they're a little bit off the beaten path. I had to take some back roads and some twists and turns to get there.
So, you know, the U.S. military has some Sea Hawk planes that are on the Carl Vinson. And their plan, and they did it today, was to do an aerial tour, because they do want to do the communications with the trucks on the ground and tell them, take a left here, take a right here. I see a problem four blocks from you, so don't go there, go here.
But all of that didn't happen today. We may see it happen tomorrow. But, you know, I spoke to a representative from the White House today, he came down here, he was confident that we would see something happen today, and it didn't happen.
OLBERMANN: Is tomorrow - to use that cliche, the 11th hour, is tonight the 11th hour? Is that - is that remarkable patience about to be strained beyond repair?
SANDERS: I think that what really is at stake here is opportunists at this point.
SANDERS: We went by a location today where it appeared, with sledge hammers and bare hands people, were working frantically to get down into a building to get, perhaps, a survivor. But as we stayed there longer and spoke to enough people, we discovered they were doing two things. The building was a bank, they were trying to bore their way down to where the money was, and they were taking the rebar, that's the metal that's inside the concrete when you do construction, and they were pulling that rebar out and piling it up because that has value.
So, those are the opportunists. And I'd like to say that the people I've met here over the years of coming to this country are extremely patient people. I mean, living in the poorest nation in the western hemisphere certainly test your patience every day.
So, it would suggest that the folks here have more in them to wait for it to be delivered. I guess the expectation is, though, from an American point of view, is, what's taking so long?
OLBERMANN: It would - it would be, I think, unfair not to point out that in that country, rebar actually is gold. It is - that's one of the reasons so many of these buildings from an architectural point of view collapsed because so many things were built without it. And additions on to specs that buildings were built without it.
Forgive me for getting too architectural here. I want to talk about something more important than that.
We have in the next hour, two of these stories. We have evidence in the last 24 hours of survivors still being pulled from the rubble. Is there any gauge as to how many there may still be? Are there more stories to come? Or is that window closing, as well?
SANDERS: I spent a fair amount of time today at a building, which is a five-story grocery store that collapsed. It pancaked down. And I was there with a 37-year-old young man who was literally with the cross around his neck, praying that the voice that was coming from inside was his wife and the team from Turkey that was there with listening devices, tapping on the wall, that they were going to be able to get to her and pull her out.
It went on for hours. The team got - got to understand now, when you have a building that's collapsed, if you remove the wrong piece, it actually collapses more, because some of those pieces are the supports that allow it to stay where it is. So, they worked for hours, and as they went through the - as they went through the hours of work, they would stop, get everybody in the community to be quiet, turn the generators off. It was a hushed tone, and then as the - as the day progressed, they tapped some more, and there was no response. They tapped a little bit more, there was no response.
And this young man Lowell (ph), he's from the Philippines. His wife worked as a cashier of that grocery store, he asked them whether he could go over and perhaps he could communicate with his wife. He took the little hammer, tapped a few times, nothing, shouted to his wife, there was no response. He came back, but he said he was hopeful that she's strong, that she could still be in there, and the Turkish team said they're going to stick with this because they have experience that tells them even if there's not a response, it may turn out that they have a remarkable recovery.
And they say that because in India, at a recovery there following an earthquake, they pulled a 13-year-old girl out seven days after the building collapsed. So, there are those miracle stories for Lowell and so many here. There's a lot of prayers that that miracle story happens over and over again beginning again tomorrow. They're not really working through the darkness, it's just too difficult.
OLBERMANN: Kerry Sanders, who's been doing such exemplary work at Port-au-Prince and seeing so much - it's extraordinary situation and we thank you greatly for expressing it and conveying it to us in that extraordinary fashion. Thank you, Kerry.
SANDERS: Thank you.
OLBERMANN: United nations, itself one of the hardest hit employers in Haiti, and its efforts to supply both aid and patience to these survivors. The under secretary general of the U.N., Mr. John Holmes, with us next.
And tonight's comment, there is actually a U.S. congressman demanding that we deport undocumented Haitian immigrants in this country back to that country now so they can move the rubble around.
OLBERMANN: A long night ahead in Haiti. The hope that those desperate for food and water can hold out until morning, when we return there in a moment.
First, those in this country desperately trying to make political hay out of Haiti, the subject of tonight's first "Quick Comment."
This is madness. It is now not just the carping conservative monsters of the air who are demanding cold-heartedness here and playing politics with the Haitian earthquake victims. Now, it is conservative politicians.
The administration has - as we mentioned - suspended the deportation of Haitians back to their devastated homeland. This is not just a humane thing to do, but a blatantly obvious one. There is in essence, nowhere for them to be deported to.
But this simple reality cannot crack the density of Steve King, the Republican congressman from Iowa who on a good day acts like one of Marie Antoinette's handmaidens. And this is not a good day for Mr. King. "This sounds to me like open borders advocates exercising the Rahm Emanuel axiom: never let a crisis go to waste." He emailed ABC News, "Haiti is in great need of relief workers and many of them could be a big help to their fellow Haitians."
Honestly, Congressman, you can't suspend your Pavlovian response to all that is good, all that is decent, all that is generous about the American soul, you can't contain your paranoid, racist, anti-immigration hatred? You can't stop the politics just until they stop bulldozing the dead bodies? Are you still a human being, Congressman?
And to the caring and generous people of both parties in Council Bluffs and Sioux City and Storm Lake and the rest of the great towns of the Iowa's fifth district, you are America's heartland. This is the man you send to represent you - the man who does not know America's heart?
OLBERMANN: Haiti needs more than food, water, and medicine - specifically tents, fuel, diapers, baby formula, baby vitamins, children's vitamins, generators, water purifiers, clothing, soap, blankets, towels, phones, bulldozers and other earth-moving equipment - doctors, nurses, aid workers, and soldiers, and body bags.
And once aboard the C-130s, HC-130s or C-17s, you must then land on Port-au-Prince's one runway without ground radar. Air traffic control is being run off of laptop computers. And once you do land, you must find mobile stairways and ramps to get your supplies out. And once you unload your supplies, you must get through roads clogged with rubble and humanity alive and dead.
And on the roads, you risk encountering any of the 4,000 prisoners who escaped when the prison collapsed or just ordinary people in desperate quest of food and water. And then if you are truly fortunate, you will deliver help to the people for whom it makes a difference between life and death, rather than merely to those well enough to come to you and get what they undeniably also need.
And that assumes you knew where to go in the first place in a city without a functioning government or electricity or phone service.
Today, the U.S. military began doing just that. The Army's 82nd Airborne Division handing out food, water, and medical supplies, but even then, beginning at the airport, the unit's commander, Captain Mike Anderson, saying with both humility and acute awareness, quote, "We are here to do as much good and as little evil as we can."
Joining us tonight to discuss the relief effort, Sir John Holmes, United Nations undersecretary general for humanity affairs and the emergency relief coordinator.
Please accept our condolences on the losses suffered by the U.N., and thank you very much for your time for this update on the relief efforts tonight.
JOHN HOLMES, UNITED NATIONS: Thank you very much for that.
OLBERMANN: The U.N. described an earlier report of looting as overblown, but there are concerns, as we've been hearing from Port-au-Prince, that patience is growing thin. How would you characterize the security situation on the ground?
HOLMES: Well, I think, the first thing to say is that we fully understand the impatience of people who want to see the aid arriving to them. They need that food. They need that water desperately. And we're more conscious of that than anybody else and we are frustrated by the difficulty of getting that aid to them.
It's very much what you've just been describing. You've got to get the planes in unloaded, in stores, then we got to have the trucks and the fuel, which are in short supply.
We need the distribution points in the city, which we now have. We need storage points in the city. And then we need to make sure we can do it in a fair manner, distributing that food and water doesn't cause a riot.
So, we've been amazed, actually, by the patience and admiring of the patience people have shown so far and, of course, their resilience in trying to find their friends and family under the rubble and so on. So far, the situation has been remarkably calm. And of course, there are 3,000 U.N. peacekeeping troops and policemen in Port-au-Prince who are patrolling the streets and doing their best to maintain law and order. And there are more available if necessary outside the capital.
So, at the moment, we're reasonably confident the situation can be controlled. But, of course, we're also aware that there are risks there and we need to make sure we do this in a controlled manner.
OLBERMANN: There has been a great deal of - I guess, it's mostly speculation. Perhaps some of it is informed, and perhaps some of it is merely the other kind. But this is the critical night tonight and tomorrow is the critical day in this process - that if there is significant progress towards establishing this great mechanism of relief within the next 12 to 24 hours, things will turn out as good as they can the rest of the way in Haiti.
Is that your time frame, too?
HOLMES: I think that's a bit simplistic to be absolutely honest with you. Of course, every day that passes makes it more difficult for people who are waiting for food and water. There are very limited supplies available in the market although some people are moving out of the capital to try to find it, and that's a perfectly natural reaction.
What we're trying to do is to get that aid on the ground as quickly as possible. We've had some small food distributions, some small water distributions so far from U.N. agencies and NGOs. But we need to scale it up very rapidly. We're well aware of that.
But I'm afraid this is a bit of a classic point in a massive aid effort like this when there's a huge effort going in, there's a massive scaling up going on all around the place. But it's not very visible on the streets.
I can't promise it's going to be dramatically different tomorrow. We're going to get there as fast as we can. We usually get there in the end and save those lives.
So, I think one needs to avoid being too dramatic about saying people are going to start dying in large numbers tomorrow or something like that.
OLBERMANN: Certainly. And no criticism was implied by the question. I did want to know - you mentioned people leaving Port-au-Prince in search of relief. What does that do to the situation as we're hearing reports of people leaving the city?
HOLMES: Well, in a sense, it's an obvious reaction. If people have friends and relatives in villages or towns elsewhere in the country, which have not been so badly affected by the earthquake, where they can find some food, water, and shelter - it's a perfectly natural reaction on their part to do that.
And, of course, in a sense, it will make our job easier certainly in the short-term because there'll be less people to deal with. In the longer term, it may be more difficult because they will still need help, we need to find them and find the communities and families that are hosting them. But in the short-term, it's a natural reaction and not one we would discourage.
There's also reports of people moving towards the border with the Dominican Republic. And particularly those people in search of medical help from hospitals on the other side of the border. We need to watch that too and make sure we can deal with that problem, as well.
OLBERMANN: And you launched an appeal today for more than half a billion dollars from member nations with the prediction attached to that that Haiti will still be in great need six months from now. Can you explain why you did that?
HOLMES: Well, this is a usual formula. We launched an appeal, as you say, for $562 million. We believe that's what we'll need for the next six months to deal with the 3 million people who are badly affected in one way or another by this in terms of food. Food is about half of that in this quarter, water and sanitation, medical aid, shelter items, kitchen equipment - there's a whole series of things that go with that. And the moving towards early recovery, agriculture - agricultural help, coastal (ph) work, and all sorts of other things to get people moving again and get them some cash in their pockets.
I'm confident that the international community will respond to that kind of appeal. There's been an enormous amount of response already from countries, from individuals, from companies. This is a tragedy which is visible on the screens as you were showing this evening, which has touched the hearts of people around the world and I'm confident that we'll get that response.
Indeed, we've already had some $360 million in pledges. Not all of it for short-term aid, some of that is for long-term reconstruction.
But I think that shows the kind of response we're getting. And the challenge is to turn that into the aid on the street that people need so desperately now.
OLBERMANN: The United Nations undersecretary general for humanity affairs and the emergency relief coordinator, Sir John Holmes - Sir John, great thanks for your time tonight.
HOLMES: Thank you.
OLBERMANN: Next from Bill Neely of Britain's ITV News, the most compelling television reporting yet seen from this nightmare. It is of a New Yorker in Haiti saved by the French and all of it recorded by the English.
OLBERMANN: Extraordinary images of life and death, and hope and horror are not hard to find in Haiti this week. Yet, as I said at the beginning of this news hour, one piece of television reporting from the stricken city of Port-Au-Prince is remarkable, and it is from a remarkable correspondent named Bill Neely of our affiliated British network ITV.
In advance, we will tell you we think we know who the man is.
BILL NEELY, ITV CORRESPONDENT: We followed a French rescue team down into the bowels of a luxury hotel, through the concrete, under the beams, and into a tiny cavity where a man is still alive.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Give me your hand.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You want a painkiller?
NEELY: Clinton from New York is trapped by a concrete beam across his legs. The rescue workers have hooked him up to drips and believe they can get him out. They pulled four people out yesterday. Near him, a second American man, and in a room beyond, an American woman. Working next to them, American rescuers, and then a moment that stuns everyone.
They help out a Haitian hotel waiter. But he hardly needs help. He hasn't a scratch. He told me he never thought he'd die. He lived because he was trapped in a lift.
MARK STONE, FAIRFAX CTY SEARCH AND RESCUE: It kept him from getting crushed, probably kept them from getting debris falling on them. It's probably a safe bet that that elevator served as a protection for them.
NEELY: They are still hearing voices in the rubble. It's really surprising that after three days anyone is still alive in this crush. This building really is, in truth, a mass grave, with more than 100 bodies trapped in the debris.
Soon, slowly and carefully, the American team bring out a second man. Eyes open, scanning his rescuers, he is badly injured. Within minutes, the shock has rendered him unconscious. But they think he will make it.
So many thousands have not. Like litter, they lie everywhere. Outside a school that was three stories high, the injured parents and grandparents of the children wait. But here, tragedy was averted. The school was closed 30 minutes before the quake struck.
Bill Neely, ITV news, Port-Au-Prince. >
OLBERMANN: The "Washington Post" is now reporting that 10 or 11 other people at that hotel, the Montana, were rescued in this day, and that four or five other Americans were among those. I said we believe we know who Clinton from New York is. "The Times of London" reports as follows for tomorrow's edition: "Clinton Rab (ph) was luckier. He arrived in Haiti from New York at 9:00 am on Tuesday. At 5:00 pm, he sat down to eat at the luxury Hotel Montana, which overlooks the city from a verdant hill. And the roof fell in. The first rescuers reached him on Thursday morning. A team from France heard his cries and those of a friend and dug a tunnel to them through what had been the hotel's lobby. Both men were trapped by their legs. As he spoke, a firefighter cut through the reinforcing bars in the concrete trapping the men's legs. A doctor with the team said Mr. Rab would not be able to use his legs again."
OLBERMANN: Her parents were dead. The family home had collapsed on them, and she was trapped. Winnie, not quite two years old, was facing near certain death. It had been nearly three days since the walls of her home came down on her. And lying there, Winnie could not have known that her uncle had come to look for her, nor that nearby, at the Save the Children offices, two Australian film crews were surveying the damage.
The crew members saw people digging nearby, and could hear sounds coming from underneath the rubble. So they began digging too. And eventually, neighbors and the camera crew were able to pull Winnie out of the pile of debris under which her parents had died, and her uncle was there waiting for her.
Joining us now from Port-Au-Prince, by phone, is Kate Conradt, a spokesperson for Save the Children, a group which helps children in need around the record. Thanks for more of your time tonight, Kate.
KATE CONRADT, SAVE THE CHILDREN: Thanks for having me.
OLBERMANN: Tell me more about Winnie.
CONRADT: She's beautiful. She's healthy. She's very shy. But she was happy to see her uncle. The camera crews had just left our offices. We have an Australian staff member. And they were interviewing him, and brought her back immediately. We have doctors on staff. So we made a call. They were out doing assessments, and helping get medical supplies to clinics and hospitals.
Our doctor came in, examined Winnie and said she was fine. Checked her out, a little bit dehydrated. We got her some water. We got her a product called Plumpy Nut, which is a fortified peanut butter peanut paste that has dehydrated milk, micro-nutrients. It's very good for malnourished children. She had a that ate that. And we got a blanket and her uncle took her to her aunt's. And it was - and he got to call his family in Boston. They got to call them.
And that's good news. But he was also telling them the really bad news that her parents had died, and her uncle's wife, who was five months pregnant with their first child, also perished.
OLBERMANN: Tell me - obviously, we know what this does for Winnie. What does this do for - a story like this do for those of you trying to help and for people in the neighborhood who have all these extraordinary challenges ahead of them, and the continuing delays in getting rescue supplies? What does it do for everyone psychologically?
CONRADT: This really - this gave us hope. We were - this was a difficult day because conditions are increasingly more dire. We're getting reports from the field, from the general hospital where we took medicine today, and they were telling us what they need. We're bringing in Haitian-American doctors come to help out. But they'd also been visiting the camps for displaced people.
And so my colleague said she met a woman who gave birth yesterday out in the grass, at camp, where there were about 2,000 people. It doubles at night. There are two camps close together. There are four latrines for those two camps. So at night, for close to 7,000 people, there for four latrines.
It's horrible and you're really trying - we know we're helping and we know things aren't moving quickly enough for anybody's taste. And you hear these heart breaking stories - and then in walks this beautiful baby, bright-eyed, and looking none the worse for the wear, in the arms of her uncle. And it just - it really blew us all away.
OLBERMANN: Kate Conradt, a spokesperson for Save the Children, and today it was meant literally, on the phone with us from Port-Au-Prince. Once again, our great thanks for your great efforts and some of your time, Kate.
CONRADT: Thanks for keeping the story going.
OLBERMANN: Of course.
Words are of great value. Our actions greater still. The images we have seen, however, may be the most lasting; a catalog of them.
And he cannot stop himself. Though none of those he thinks he rules has come to his defense for his previous inhuman characterizations of this nightmare, this man has said something unforgivable about Haiti again.
OLBERMANN: A visual record of the Haiti nightmare, and a worst persons record of the nightmares of American media figures without consciences or souls, humiliating our country through their cold-heartedness. And to that point, the second of tonight's quick comments.
He has already insisted that our relief effort in Haiti, our governments, on behalf of you and me as Americans, was so a black president could burnish his credibility with black voters. He's already tried to discourage people from giving to the Red Cross via the White House website, by claiming the White House might keep the money.
And now Rush Limbaugh, madman, says "Haiti is about domestic US politics. The US military is now Meals on Wheels. It always is with Democrat presidents."
His words have been met with deafening silence by those who, a week ago, thought this man, the titular head of their party, their movement, their world view - many of them now see him juxtaposed against the heart breaking images of Haiti for what he is, a man for whom misery is just new material, a man who took his own spark of humanity and wasted it lighting his own cigar.
Throughout our history, and that of our neighbor countries, Americans have always been able to coalesce, however briefly, to help those in desperate peril. We've been able to hold our disagreements for a period of time, no matter how short. And somebody who cares about Rush Limbaugh, if there is such a person, must get the message to him: this is such a time.
Your words, sir, against humanity, against American generosity, against us, Americans, will be remembered and acted upon.
OLBERMANN: The images are tough to watch and tougher to catalogue, and yet, ultimately, the easiest way to understand the fundamental aspects of what it means to be human. These long four days in pictures next.
But first paying, tribute to the network that devoted its most watched hours this week not to Haiti but to the momentous news of it having hired a new commentator that it intends to force to become president of the United States. It's tonight's Worst Persons in the World.
The bronze to Sean Hannity of Fox News. "All eyes," he actually said on Wednesday, out loud, "are on the Senate race in Massachusetts."
He said this and seemed to believe it, while hundreds maybe thousands still lived trapped in the rubble in Haiti, among them people who are from what Sean Hannity modestly likes to call Hannity's America.
The runner-up is Glenn Beck of Fox News. His inability to grasp the world around him has never been more clear than this past week, talking not about Haiti - that would require not waisting an hour for an exclusive interview with a woman they're now paying to be on their channel anyway, but about Barack Obama. "I also believe this is dividing the nation, to where the nation sees him react so rapidly on Haiti, and yet he couldn't react rapidly on Afghanistan; he couldn't react rapidly on Ft. Hood; he couldn't react rapidly on our own airplane with an underwear bomber."
"Imagine," this man continued, "if George Bush would have waited several hours before he came out with a press conference on this, and then he have would've been at a place and he would've said hey, by the way, I want to thank everybody, and hey, shout out to you, and shout out to you, and it's great."
Mr. Beck, were you conscious the day - six days after Katrina hit New Orleans when President Bush came out with a press conference and shouted out to heck of a job, Brownie? No wonder Mr. Beck is limited to exclusive interviews with Sarah Palin and breathless confessions that he'd written a Dear Diary note to himself about how nervous he was about meeting her. His brain is not worth the paper it is made out of.
But our winner, for sanctimonious dribble that out- morons even those of his colleagues, Bill O'Reilly of Fox News, complaining about the money. "President Obama," he said, "should not just promise 100 million dollars with no accountability. Every dollar needs to be managed. And if that means the USA calls the shots, talking points says good."
Talking points is believed to be his invisible friend. And I believe the Haitian people would say good, as well. We handed umpteen billion taxpayer dollars to the Halliburtons and Blackwaters in Iraq; no accounting, no accountability, and no complaints from Bill O'Reilly. "In Haiti, he continued, "billions of dollars have gone right down the drain. In slums like City Soleil, neighborhoods are run by drug dealers, Voodoo priests or common extortionists. State relief workers give food and clothing directly to Haitians in need. Odds are as soon as the relief person leaves, a thug will steal the charity from the poor person. Block by block in Haiti, gangsters rule."
How inconvenient for Mr. O'Reilly that so many of those neighborhoods have now been destroyed, and so many of those voodoo priests have been crushed to death, or that the people who know what they're talking about told him to his face that he was wrong, like Sophie Delaunay, the executive director of Doctors Without Borders.
O'Reilly, "did they try to extort money? I've been to Haiti and those people are rough people. They'll chase you down if they can."
Dr. Delaunay, "no, we didn't experience this kind of problem."
Later in the same interview; O'Reilly, "but you haven't been shaken down by the gangsters?"
The doctor, "no."
O'Reilly, "they haven't come in and stolen your supplies or anything like that?"
Doctor Delaunay, "nope, they haven't."
It is temping to say that this week, in ignoring Haiti in its busiest hours, except to provide excuses to harang the president of the United States, or to politicize mangled corpses, Fox News jumped a shark of some kind. It did not. It is serving its audience and the dream world in which it and they live, just the way its audience is served by - another's audience is served by Cartoon Network.
OLBERMANN: It began at 4:53 in the afternoon this Tuesday. With little more than a few words on a computer screen, "Earthquake strikes Haiti," and a number that spoke volumes about the pictures that might follow, 7.0. Two to three million people lived in third world conditions, some already starving, some already homeless, and all within 10 miles of the epicenter.
An estimated one third of Haiti relies on money sent by relatives overseas through electronic channels that are now down. An estimated 300,000 have lost their homes or cannot return without fear of aftershocks. And yes, they were still bringing down buildings today, collapsing their homes on top of them.
And ultimately, it proved that the earthquake was about 50 percent closer to the surface than was the one that struck Los Angeles in 1994, and that was the one was considered the kind of shallow death quake that most concentrates the construction. And now, three days later, we know as well as we can know, watching on TV, what the death of a city looks like.
In the images you're about to see, what you cannot feel is the heat, still above 80 degrees after sunset there tonight, and forecast to reach the 90s tomorrow. What you cannot smell is a mercy. We begin with the very first moments before the dust even cleared.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The world is coming to an end.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This just in from our news desk, a major earthquake struck off the coast of Haiti. The US Geological Survey put the magnitude at 7.0. Tsunami warnings are in effect. There are reports that a hospital and some other buildings are -
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I watched the building pancake down, one on top of another. It was absolutely the most horrific thing I've ever seen.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not going to talk long. I'm going to go in there. Hold this. Take this in case I don't live.
OLBERMANN: The three words are the big one. The island nation of Haiti has suffered its big one and the results are enough to melt the strongest heart and shatter the most imperturbable soul. The grim tally of disaster -
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I need help. I need help. Too many people are dying. We need help. We need help, international help.
OBAMA: We'll be resolute in our response. And I pledge to the people of Haiti that you will have a friend and partner in the United States of America.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're having another aftershock, and the people are waving their hands as the ground is shaking.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The problem in the coming days right up here, trying to carry in supplies. The air space is congested already.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Even now, it is still hard to take in the scale of the devastation and loss of life unleashed in this city Tuesday night.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So we lose it, my mother was - now, we have somebody here. There is some person inside the house.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We can't find them. We don't have a load to take them out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And once we got into Haiti, it is truly an unbelievable sight. There are bodies on the streets of children.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Search and rescue crews have been working feverishly to comb through mountains of debris. Occasionally, they do find survivors.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Jover (ph) are you glad to be out?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you think? Of course I am.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What was that like as you were trapped under there?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was hoping I would die quickly.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Somebody came on Tuesday.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chaos now threatens in what was always a rough part of town.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All of these people here. Look at this. The Red Cross don't show up. The minister don't show up. Nobody show up here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's nobody doing their job. So even these families now, these two families, they have to go to the cemetery with their shovels and dig their own graves.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The margin for life here was narrowed. Now survival has become that much harder.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Haiti, a nation that was on its knees, is now prostrate and begging for help.
OLBERMANN: The headlines again at this hour; the Haitian government now estimating 140,000 dead, 70 percent of those still unburied. And that government has turned over control of the airport there at Port-Au-Prince to US forces.
With Secretary of State Hillary Clinton headed to Haiti, word now that the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon is headed there on Sunday. While all on the ground predict this is the night that will tell us, based on how much patience the embattled survivors can still muster and how quickly aid can get to them, how much of that fragile society will hold together.
And now to continue MSNBC's coverage of the Haitian earthquake, ladies and gentlemen, here is Rachel Maddow. Good evening, Rachel.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC ANCHOR: Good evening, Keith. Thank you. Thank you at home for staying with us for the next hour.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END