Take that, Matt Lauer: Brian Williams speaks out in defense of international travel

Last week, I took the Today show and Matt Lauer to task for deciding that international travel wasn't worth celebrating this year in the show's popular "Where in the World Is Matt Lauer" series. Instead of showing Americans the wonders of the world, they're claiming that now is a time to be nationalistic, and they're staying near home.

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A few days ago, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams trumped Lauer and made a point of announcing an opposite opinion. Williams had intended to visit an overseas beach resort with his family, but like Today, he canceled plans because of the economy. "It just. Didn't. Feel. Right," Williams told radio show host Erik Hastings during an impromptu call-in. "Expenditures feel pretty gross these days."

But after talking to a few people who derive their livelihoods from the travel industry, including Loews Hotels' owner Jonathan Tisch, Williams decided it was more important to spend his money on the road. The world is in a recession, not just America. "Stay on the planes, get out there, spend money, go to a resort, go to a hotel," Williams said. "The busboys depend on it. I get that. And we're gonna do that."

So Williams' big vacation plans are back on. Now the anchor will spread around a little of that reported $10 million he makes each year ("We're overcompensated in my line of work," he acknowledged).

"The world is still big and the airlines are still running," Williams told Hastings. Way to go, Williams. Literally.

Lauer, for his part, may not have the stamina to go abroad soon anyway; he hit a deer on his bike on Saturday and messed up his shoulder. But at least one of NBC's high-profile personalities will be hitting the road in a healthy way.
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