Brokaw Scolds Letterman on 'Horrible' U.S.; Environmental Hypocrisy

Tom Brokaw came aboard Monday's Late Show to promote his book, Boom! Voices of the Sixties: Personal Reflections on the '60s and Today, but soon chided David Letterman with some historical context after Letterman forwarded standard liberal claims about how the America of 2008 is in a “horrible” state thanks to the awful President George W. Bush, and when Letterman fretted about government inaction on global warming, Brokaw embarrassed the late night host by pointing out how he's a big carbon-producer since he drives a big vehicle and flies executive jets.

On the terrible state of the nation, Letterman contended “everything...has gone so lousy in the last eight years” so “things are horrible in ways they shouldn't be horrible.” Brokaw pointed to his book about 1968, and delivered a friendly lecture:

Let me remind you that forty years ago this year, Doctor King was killed, Bobby Kennedy was killed, we had the Chicago riots, 16,000 people were killed in Vietnam, Lyndon Johnson decided not to run for re-election, the Kerner Commission said we are two societies -- one white, one black, separate and unequal -- we had urban riots and in the fall we had as cantankerous and as contentious and in many way as mentally violent an election as we've ever had...
Similarly assuming the present is the worst ever, Letterman complained: “People are all talking about, 'okay we're going to change the emissions by 2035, by 2020.' That's too late. I mean, it's a hundred degrees now!” Letterman pleaded: “It's got to come from the government. They have to lead us.” Brokaw agreed, but then made the host uncomfortable:
BROKAW: The government has to lead and those of us who drive -- uhh uhh -- big carbon-emitting vehicles or fly in airplanes that have only two passengers on them-
LETTERMAN: Alright, alright, that's fine Tom.
MP3 audio (45 secs, 255 Kb) or Windows Media video (2.8 MB) matching above Flash clip of the global warming exchange.

Letterman owns homes in the Caribbean and in Montana.

As a long-time Letterman fan, I attribute his slide into believing liberal claptrap to his daly reading of the left-wing New York Times, a paper which is particularly alarmist about global warming claims.
The two exchanges, before an audience in Manhattan's Ed Sullivan Theater, as broadcast on the Monday, June 9 Late Show with David Letterman on CBS:

DAVID LETTERMAN: Guys talking about the President really can't do anything about the economy. I don't know if that's true or not, but let's give them that one, let's just say “okay, the President can't do anything about the economy.” Everything else has gone so lousy in the last eight years. I mean – and I'm a guy who doesn't pay attention to much, as long as I got wresting and a TV dinner I'm fine – but even I am perceiving now that things are horrible in ways they shouldn't be horrible. Now, we're not going to impeach the guy. Could we get our money back? Honest to God, what, I mean [audience applause], just at least something.

TOM BROKAW: David, that's why we have elections and we're about to have an election and on January 20th he'll be out of office. In this book, I write about 1968. Let me remind you that forty years ago this year, Doctor King was killed, Bobby Kennedy was killed, we had the Chicago riots, 16,000 people were killed in Vietnam, Lyndon Johnson decided not to run for re-election, the Kerner Commission said we are two societies – one white, one black, separate and unequal – we had urban riots and in the fall we had as cantankerous and as contentious and in many way as mentally violent an election as we've ever had – with George Wallace who was part of it.

So, we've been through these difficult times before and the way you work your way out of them is you get the two parties to nominate their best candidates and then everybody re-enlists as citizens and say to themselves and their family and their friends: “Hey, it's time for us to get involved.” So that's how I feel about it.

LETTERMAN: Well, if you're confident, I'll be confident. But don't you agree, they guy just was a mistake?

BROKAW: Well, it's ah [pause for applause] Remember it's his tax return that your auditing, not my tax return!

...

LETTERMAN: Now here the other day I hear that the Senate, they were monkeying around, they had some kind of climate change bill and it just ran out of gas and it dropped dead. And people are all talking about, “okay we're going to change the emissions by 2035, by 2020.” That's too late. I mean, it's a hundred degrees now! In 2020, honest to God, what's it going to be?

BROKAW: Well, everybody has to dive into this. A lot of businesses are making the turn because they think there's an opportunity-

LETTERMAN: But it's got to come from the government. They have to lead us. We need leadership here.

BROKAW: The government has to lead and those of us who drive – uhh uhh – big carbon-emitting vehicles or fly in airplanes that have only two passengers on them-

LETTERMAN: Alright, alright, that's fine Tom.
Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center