'Today' Show Stuffs Al Gore Down Viewers' Throats

In the first hour of this morning's Today show, there were not one but two segments that would make Al Gore smile. First NBC's Andrea Mitchell explored whether Al "warrior for climate change" Gore would consider jumping into the presidential race, then in the second half hour Today co-host Matt Lauer, in a segment about environmentally-friendly gadgets, gave Gore face time via a clip from An Inconvenient Truth. In fact both segments featured preachy clips from the documentary.

First up Mitchell's piece featured the following clip:

Al Gore: "The misconception that there's disagreement about the science has been deliberately created by a relatively small group of people."

Then Lauer, in his piece featured a clip from the movie with Gore declaring: "Scientific consensus is that we are causing global warming."

To her credit Mitchell did note, at the end of her piece that: "Some scientists complained recently that Gore's documentary exaggerated some of its claims."

However Lauer and Today co-host Vieira shedded any doubts about their stance on global warming in their teases for the segment on green technology:

Matt Lauer: "Plus with all the talk about global warming you maybe wondering how you can save some energy and by the way, save a little green of your own along the way. We're gonna show you some energy efficient gadgets that will make you feel good about yourself and allow you to chip in with a very worthwhile and important cause."

...

Meredith Vieira: "But up next doing well by doing good. Useful household items that will save you money and help protect the environment too, right after this."

Before showing off the enviro-friendly products with Men’s Journal’s Paul Hochman, Lauer pushed the green cause in his set-up piece that was full of liberal pontification from Gore and some pretty self-righteous consumers:

Matt Lauer: "And this morning on Today's Tech we are talking about going green. You don't need to be a tree-hugging environmentalist any more to be worried about the planet and what you're doing to it."

Al Gore from An Inconvenient Truth: "Scientific consensus is that we are causing global warming."

Lauer: "In Al Gore's Oscar winning documentary about the dangers of climate change he issues a challenge."

Gore: "Once we face the danger and decide to solve the crisis we can do it. We have everything we need."

Lauer: "And people seem to be getting the message, green is in!"

Unidentified woman: "I went green a long time ago and I go greener and greener."

Unidentified woman#2: "People are really beginning to look around them and say, 'well how can I do better or how is this gonna affect me?'"

Unidentified woman#3: "Definitely more and more thinking green everyday."

Lauer: "Last month the world's top climate scientists determined that global warming is real and that human activities are the cause of it. Now after years on the fringe energy saving techniques are moving into the mainstream. Money spent on green home building is projected to rise as high as $38 billion by 2010. And big business is getting into the green too. Companies like Wal-Mart, Hilton Hotels and NBC parent company GE have all launched environmental initiatives."

[GE ad: "To make it a better place to live for everyone."]

Lauer: "The energy efficient Hybrid Prius has already helped Toyota become the world's leading automobile manufacturer. And Philips recently teamed up with environmentalists to call for the end of traditional incandescent light bulbs within 10 years to be replaced by compact fluorescent bulbs which use a third less energy."

Unidentified woman#4: "You know I was thinking of Kermit the Frog the other day when he sang the song, 'It's Not Easy Being Green.'"

[Kermit the Frog singing: "It's not that easy being green."]

Unidentified woman#4: "It's very easy being green. You sleep better, you feel better."

Lauer: "Today's tech editor and Men's Journal contributor Paul Hochman has some simple environmentally-friendly items that can save you some real green in the long run and of course do great for the planet. Paul, nice to see you, good morning."

The following is the full Andrea Mitchell speculation piece as it occurred on the March 21st Today show:

Meredith Vieira: "Al, thank you. And now from the weather to global climate change. Al Gore says global warming is threatening the Earth and he's taking his message to Capitol Hill today and there's that big question in the air will he run for President? NBC's Andrea Mitchell has more on that. Andrea, good morning."

[On screen headline: "Warming Up For 2008? Gore Returns To Washington."]

Andrea Mitchell: "Good morning, Meredith. This will be Al Gore's first visit to Capitol Hill since what must have been a painful moment for him, watching George Bush take the oath of office seven years ago. The question now, does Gore still have dreams of some day taking that oath himself? Al Gore - warrior for climate change."

Al Gore from An Inconvenient Truth: "That brings up the basic science of global warming."

Mitchell: "Today bringing his battle against global warming to Congress."

Gore from An Inconvenient Truth: "The misconception that there's disagreement about the science has been deliberately created by a relatively small group of people."

Mitchell: "But is the former Vice President with an Academy Award winning documentary and nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize also considering another type of campaign? One to win political vindication for the 2000 election."

[Clip from post-Oscars press conference with reporter calling for Gore: "Mr. President, Mr. President."]

Michael Feldman, Gore adviser: "He hasn't completely shut the door but I think he's been pretty clear that he's not planning a campaign."

Mitchell: "In the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll Democrats are evenly divided on Gore. 40 percent want him to run, 39 percent do not. Gore is so well-known and well-financed he can benefit from waiting."

Bill Clinton, standing next to Hillary: "I give you the person for who 35 years I have always believed would be the bets America could offer. Thank you."

Mitchell: "To see if Hillary Clinton, whose husband helped her raise money Tuesday night stumbles or if the Democratic hopefuls knock each other out making room for Gore."

Chuck Todd: "He could be tempted into this thing but he doesn't want to run a long campaign because I think Al Gore doesn't sit well in a long period of time with the American people."

Mitchell: "But supporters say this is a new Al Gore, more confident than ever."

Gore from Saturday Night Live: "What if the scientists are right and one of those giant glaciers hits Boston? That's why we have the lockbox."

Mitchell: "A man with a mission."

Sen. Barbara Boxer: "Whether Al Gore gets into the presidential race or not and that's something he only knows the answer to, because of his work this is an issue already in the presidential race."

Mitchell: "Some scientists complained recently that Gore's documentary exaggerated some of its claims. Still no one questions that Al Gore is helping shape the debate over global warming whether or not he gets into the race, Meredith."

Vieira: "Andrea Mitchell thanks very much."

Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens is the Deputy Research Director at the Media Research Center.