Brian Maloney at The Radio Equalizer reports that Rush Limbaugh’s July 4 appearance in tornado-ravaged Joplin, Missouri drew a whiff of coverage from Dan Barry in The New York Times: "There will be ice cream, and games, and country-western music, and inflatable bouncy houses, and fellow Missourian Rush Limbaugh, who will seize the moment to promote an iced tea drink flavored with Tea Party fervor."
But the Times line implied that Limbaugh came on a profit-seeking promotional tour, instead of a charitable event celebrating the greatness of the country and this city:
After Joplin fans won a listener contest, Rush personally delivered 3800 cases of Two If By Tea, his new iced beverage, free of charge to attendees. In addition, the Missouri native was to make a contribution to the tornado relief fund while there.
Your Radio Equalizer caught up with Rush just before his plane landed to get a sense of the visit's aims: "It's all about keeping the spotlight on Joplin, dropping in here personally. The Tea is second, it's just a gift," Limbaugh said.
"I'm personally donating to the relief fund here and am paying all the vendors here $500 each to offset any missed sales because of free tea. [There's a] huge semi-trailer, chilled, with 3800 cases of Two If By Tea. [I'll give] a 25-minute little speech between bands about 8:15 on why America, and Joplin, are unique and great. No politics. No mention of conservative or liberal, Democrat or Republican. It's about the people of Joplin," he added.
The local newspaper The Joplin Globe summarized:
Limbaugh, a commentator and talk show host known for his conservative stances, stayed away from politics and instead vowed to keep telling the story of Joplin’s recovery.
“What I am going to do is keep the spotlight on Joplin, Missouri,” he said, “and what you are doing and how you are overcoming something that was thrown your way.”
Some of those who attended the event said they were grateful that Limbaugh came to Joplin.
“I got a lot of friends. Some like Rush and some don’t,” said David Weaver, of Duquesne, who said he lost two houses in the tornado. “It was neat of him. He got some national attention for us. He has brought something to Joplin.
“It is neat to see a national figure, whether it is President Obama or Rush Limbaugh, two opposite ends of the spectrum, both come to Joplin to find a welcome.”