Howard Kurtz Questions Responsibility of NBC Showing Gore's Live Earth
In a striking contrast to his fellow reporters, the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz took NBC to task for the extensive Live Earth coverage on NBC and its sister cable channels (earlier NewsBusters item on this very same column, with transcript of Kurtz's discussion on CNN's Reliable Sources.) Shockingly, Kurtz even used quotation marks when mentioning the global warming “crisis.” In his “Media Notes” column, Kurtz rightfully questioned the ethics of a network taking sides on a political issue (a General Electric senior VP said he doesn't “think climate change is a political issue”) and helping a “prominent Democrat” who potentially has presidential ambitions to raise money.
These are important points that most reporters have failed to raise, but Kurtz was not intimidated by the peer pressure and got down to the nuts and bolts (emphasis mine):
NBC and its cable networks devoted a total of 35 hours of air time Saturday to the Live Earth concerts, organized by Al Gore to call attention to what he calls a global warming "crisis."
The worldwide series of concerts, featuring 150 artists from Madonna to Red Hot CHili Peppers, was also designed to raise money for the Alliance for Climate Protection, a nonprofit group chaired by the former vice president. Commercials aired at a reduced rate.
Doesn't this strike a discordant note? Wasn't NBC, whose news division covers the debate over climate change, providing a huge platform for advocates on one side of a contentious issue? And isn't the network helping a prominent Democrat -- who granted "Today" an interview last week in which he was asked again about his presidential ambitions -- raise money?
Dan Harrison, an NBC senior vice president, does not back away from the message. He calls the Gore effort "an initiative we believe in," including parent company General Electric. "I really don't think climate change is a political issue," Harrison says.
"Everyone agrees it's happening. If it's a political issue, it's whether the political will exists to address that change. We know we need to do something, and this is a way to heighten awareness."
There should be more questions about Gore-apalooza and the problems involved with a network literally giving a stage to an issue that, despite the shrill desperate claims otherwise, is one which is both political and not settled.
Since NBC is so eager to televise concerts about "settled" non-political issues, I wonder when the peacock network will host one that is designed to "raise awareness" about the threat of global Islamic terrorism. Maybe they would even get Keith Olbermann to contribute a PSA, ala Penelope Cruz at Live Aid, or just rock out with Toby Keith.
Contact Lynn at: tvisgoodforyou2 AT yahoo DOT com