Green Is Universal: Corporate Shilling at Its Finest

Green is Universal parody imageAs you pretty much have to know by now due to the fact that they won't shut up about it, NBC Universal's "Green Is Universal" campaign is winding down. Begining next week, we'll no longer be hearing the media giant's numerous television properties spreading feel-good environmentalism to viewers and promoting allegedly earth-friendly policies (ethanol, anyone?). I, for one, couldn't be more happy, not just because we'll finally be spared the painful inanity that such reports often entail but also because of the numerous acts of unethical journalism we'll no longer have to witness.

We often hear lefties rage against Rupert Murdoch for allegedly harming the objectivity of his employees by forcing his "right-wing" politics on them. At the same time, however, our journalistic bluenoses routinely turn a blind eye to flagrant corporate-sponsored journalism such as "Green" or the equally disturbing case of an Australian company literally banning its employees from criticizing its own "Earth Hour" campaign.

We all know the reason why media-beat reporters are unconcerned by such actions of course. It's because they support liberal policy goals. Sadly, in the eyes of many left-leaning journalists, good journalism is liberal journalism. As troubling as the fact that NBC News has willingly prostrated itself before its corporate master is, it's probably less disturbing than the fact that the entire "Green" campaign seems to have been cooked up by NBC Universal's own parent company, General Electric, as a way to make money for itself.

Washington Examiner columnist Tim Carney (h/t Mark Tapscott) explains why in today's paper:

NBC Universal is owned by General Electric, which plays a regular role in this column because of how aggressively the company has hitched its profits to its lobbying successes. GE spends more than any other corporation in America on lobbying the federal government — more than $20 million annually over the past three years — and Green Week and Earth Week probably should be disclosed as lobbying efforts.

In many of GE’s businesses, the profit model appears to be: (1) invest in something for which there isn’t much demand; (2) then lobby to mandate or subsidize it. [...]

GE’s coal gasification, solar power generation, electric cars and biodiesel businesses are the same: Consumers and investors acting with their own money would not patronize these technologies, but Congress, acting with your money, will. GE’s $20 million annual lobbying budget sees to it.

GE has also launched a venture dealing in “greenhouse gas credits,” which are literally worthless until Congress starts limiting greenhouse gas emissions. Throw in the expensive but unattractive light bulbs they’ve convinced Congress to mandate, and the pattern is clear.

But the innocent viewer of NBC isn’t informed of the network’s vested interest in environmental laws. He is just fed a parade of beautiful celebrities talking about the virtues and necessity of “going green.” If David Schwimmer and Alicia Silverstone can convince you to become an environmentalist, then GE has “grassroots” demand for the federal policies that will enrich it.

Is "green" journalism the new yellow journalism? It's sure starting to look that way. The slogan for the campaign is "Awareness. Activation. Results." A news company should not be trying to lobby for "results." NBC and MSNBC owe viewers a tremendous apology.

Update 13:37. Thanks to Jack Bauer for his excellent suggestion for a parody image.

Matthew Sheffield
Matthew Sheffield
Matthew Sheffield, creator of NewsBusters and president of Dialog New Media, an internet marketing and design firm, left NewsBusters at the end of 2013