Monday, April 21, 2008

Green is Universal...

...but, according to NBC, consensus on global warming is anything but.

NOTE: This is a guest post from my son, Richie. It also appears on his blog, The View from the Seven-and-a-Halfth Floor.

As part of their company-wide greenwashing campaign, Green is Universal, General Electric subsidiary NBC ran an episode of Dateline last night dedicated to environmental themes.

The last story on the episode was about the retreat of Bolivia's glaciers due to global warming, and the effect this will have on the residents of Bolivia. At first, the story seemed to treat the issue objectively, contrasting old photographs with present footage, and interviewing locals and experts, all in an effort to describe the disappearance of the world's highest-elevation ski area, and to discuss the current ramifications for La Paz, Bolivia, which relies on glacial runoff to produce hydroelectric power and provide clean drinking water for its residents. Several times in the story, the glacial retreat is directly linked to global warming.

Then, out of left field near the end of the story, the 'journalist' states as fact that there is not scientific consensus that an increase in greenhouse gases has caused the global warming we are observing, and that some scientists believe it is part of a natural 'cycle.' No subsequent effort is made to present an alternate theory for this rapid warming 'cycle' (because there is none), nor to explain the highly coincidental correlation between CO2 levels (a primary greenhouse gas) and global average temperature. While acknowledging that global warming is actually occurring AND that the rapidly accelerating glacial retreat is a real phenomenon, the producers went out of their way to create the impression that global warming is some big mystery, and that nobody is certain why it is happening.

My bullshit detector hit liar liar pants on 5-alarm fire.

Why does our government under the current administration, and many major American corporations (some of them, like GE-subsidiary NBC, posing as sources of unbiased news), feed us this crap, and why do we let them do so? Haven't we reached the point where we can accept that there is total scientific and public consensus that human-induced pollution has raised greenhouse gas levels and directly contributed to global climate change? Isn't the only "lack of consensus" remaining in the details, as in "How great is our impact on the climate?," "How much will the climate change?," "How quickly will this all happen?," and "How the hell do we get ourselves out of this mess?"

Could you imagine what this country would be like if people weren't constantly fed carefully-tailored crap, bordering on propaganda and teetering on the edge of intentionally false, every time they turned on their television? For starters, we'd have a different president, we'd choose our wars more carefully, we'd have safer food, consumer goods, and workplaces, and we certainly wouldn't think that right-wing Republican John McCain is either "moderate" or a "maverick."

I also can't help but find it a little coincidental that BOTH President Bush and his wife Laura will make high-profile appearances on NBC this week, the former during an episode of Deal or No Deal (President Bush is hoping to reduce the national debt by one-million-dollar-suitcase), and the latter as a guest host of the highest-rated morning show on American television. Could it be possible that NBC toned down their environmentally-friendly rhetoric, and kicked the anti-science bullcrap up a few notches, all in an effort to make their visitors this week feel more at home?

UPDATE (4/21/08): More than three years ago, nearly the exact same story appeared in another NBC outlet (MSNBC.com)--minus the crap about greenhouse gases possibly not contributing to global warming (the article does appropriately consider other factors that contribute to both glacial retreat and climate change, but does not dismiss human-produced pollution as one of the major ones). This is one step backward for NBC Universal and American journalism, one giant leap backward for the health of our planet and its people.

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