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Katie Couric Giddy for Gore, All Smiles in "Exclusive" Interview

By Media Research Center
May 25, 2006

Network Gore Promotion, Part 2 of 3. The morning after ABC's Good Morning America paid tribute to Al Gore as "the Comeback Kid," NBC's Today on Wednesday aired an "exclusive" interview with Gore during which a giddy Katie Couric was all smiles as she promoted his new hysterical movie and pressed him about running for President again. "A once defeated Al Gore is now basking in the limelight soaking up standing ovations and stellar reviews," Couric gushed. Couric touted his movie as a "documentary that shows the catastrophic effects global warming could have down the road if the world doesn't take action now" and she oozed to Gore as the two sat in Central Park: "I think in this movie at different turns you're funny, vulnerable, disarming, self-effacing and someone said after watching it, quote, 'if only he was like this before maybe things would've turned out differently in 2000.'" She cued him up to spout his claims about how much of Florida and Manhattan will soon be under water: "As succinctly as possible can you explain the crisis?" And she only provided token acknowledgment of any other view: "Where there is disagreement among scientists it is not if but when we may see drastic environmental changes across the globe. Al Gore says the clock is ticking."

     The May 24 CyberAlert recounted: With "The Comeback Kid? Al Gore Takes on the World," as the on-screen moniker, ABC's Good Morning America on Tuesday championed Al Gore's comeback, through his hysterical global warming movie, An Inconvenient Truth, which ABC took quite seriously as Claire Shipman touted a potential Gore presidential run. Shipman enthused: "The guy that George Bush Senior derisively dubbed 'Ozone Man' may have hit his stride after five years in hibernation by promoting his longtime passion." Shipman trumpeted: "Here's Al being celebrated in Cannes, doing the celebrity thing at an LA opening, power-walking a green carpet in Washington as rumors of another presidential run swirl." Without scolding Gore for fear-mongering, Shipman calmly relayed how Gore's "environmental message is blunt: humanity is sitting on a time bomb and has about ten years left to deal with it. It's the messenger, though, this almost President turned dynamic professor who's making most of the waves, dominating the blog-chatter." Letting a hopeful Arianna Huffington answer, Shipman cued her up: "Is he going to go for the Oval again?" Shipman concluded by gushing: "What does Al Gore say about the possibility of another run? We asked him the other night....He gave a hearty laugh but didn't say no." See: www.mediaresearch.org

     The MRC's Geoff Dickens tracked the lengthy 7:30am half hour segment on the May 24 Today, starting with the earlier plugs:

     At the top of the show, Couric previewed: "NBC News exclusive. Al Gore on global warming and whether he'll make another run for the Oval Office."

     A little later: "And then that exclusive interview with Al Gore. He's on a new campaign to fight global warming, clearly a subject he is very passionate about. But is he also using it to kick start another run for the presidency? We'll talk with him about that as well."

     At the end of the 7am half hour: "Still to come this morning on Today former President, Vice President rather, he thought he might be president, Al Gore on the very real threat of global warning, warming and his political future."
     Clip of Couric to Gore: "All this positive response has led to a lot of speculation that you're gonna run for President. Let's just put it out there."
     Couric: "We'll have his answer coming up-"
     Lauer: "What did he say?"
     Couric: "-in an exclusive interview in our next half hour. That's why we call it a tease, Matt."
     Lauer: "You cut him off just at the good part."

     Shortly after 7:30am, Couric, over clip from Gore documentary: "Also coming up in this half hour a very interesting conversation with former Vice President Al Gore. He's off on a new campaign these days with a documentary that shows the catastrophic effects global warming could have down the road if the world doesn't take action now. We'll talk about that and he'll tell us right here whether he plans to run for President again."

     And Matt Lauer before the first ad break of the half hour: "Coming up later on Today Halle Berry will blow into our studio to tell us about playing Storm again in the new X-Men movie. But up next a more unlikely movie star, Al Gore. He'll talk about his new documentary on global warming and ask him, we'll ask him will he make another run for the White House? His answer, after this."

     Finally, at 7:42am, Couric set up her taped session with Gore:
     "This morning we're beginning a new series called Today's Climate Challenge, Tomorrow's Global Opportunity. With a record setting hurricane season, the warmest April ever and rising ocean temperatures many are saying global warming is in fact to blame. Former Vice President Al Gore is one of them and now he's bringing his message to a theater near you. The last memory many Americans may have of Al Gore is the night of December 13th, 2000 when he withdrew his challenge to the election that put George W. Bush in the White House."
     Al Gore in 2000: "I offer my concession."
     Couric: "But times have changed. Mr. Gore now finds himself the summer's most unlikely movie star promoting his new film, An Inconvenient Truth, which he's described as, 'a nature hike through the book of Revelation.'"
     Al Gore from the movie: "If you look at the ten hottest years ever measured they've all occurred in the last 14 years and the hottest of all was 2005."
     Couric: "In the movie Mr. Gore presents a high-tech slideshow he's been giving for years which contains an avalanche of evidence he says points to one thing, the climate is changing and a crisis is on the horizon. But before delivering the bad news he breaks the ice with a little comedy."
     Gore from the movie: "I am Al Gore. I used to be the next President of the United States of America."
     Couric: "We met in Central Park to talk about the future, the past and his new found stardom."
     Couric, all smiles, to Gore as two sit in Central Park: "I think in this movie at different turns you're funny, vulnerable, disarming, self-effacing and someone said after watching it, quote, 'if only he was like this before maybe things would've turned out differently in 2000.'"
     Gore: "Well I benefit from low-expectations. But I've been through a lot since then and the old cliché is what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. And you know I often joke when I start speeches now by saying put yourself in my position. I flew on Air Force 2 for eight years and now I have to take off my shoes to get on an airplane. But I sometimes do say to the people patting me down. 'I say look I was mad after the election but I wasn't that mad.'" (Couric chuckles)
     Couric narrated: "But he's plenty mad about global warming and he painstakingly lays out the evidence in a movie and a book saying that the phenomenon has already had a major impact."
     Couric to Gore: "Why is it that this is what you wanted to really focus on?"
     Gore: "I think what we're facing is a planetary emergency. It's by far the most dangerous crisis our civilization has ever confronted. And it's a challenge to our moral imagination. How could we be having this kind of catastrophic effect on the, on the Earth's environment. It, it's, it's hard to imagine that we could be but we are." (Couric nods)
     Couric: "As succinctly as possible can you explain the crisis?"
     Gore: "We've quadrupled our population on the Earth in the last 100 years and our technologies are thousands of times more powerful and one consequence of that is that we're now filling up the thin layer of atmosphere that surrounds the Earth with so much pollution that it's trapping much more of the Sun's heat inside the atmosphere and heating up the planet and that messes up the weather, it causes more droughts, ironically more flooding at the same time and more powerful hurricanes. We have to rein in this very dangerous wave of pollution that we're putting up there every single day."
     Couric: "People on the other side of the debate say yes it's getting warmer but the Earth's average temperature has done this before, we may have something to do with it but it hasn't warmed that much and it's not going to have catastrophic consequences any time soon."
     Gore: "There's really not a debate. The, the debate's over. The scientific community has reached as strong a consensus as you'll ever find in science. There are a few oil companies and coal companies that spend a million dollars a year to put these pseudo-scientists out there pretending there is a debate. It's exactly the same thing that the tobacco companies did after the Surgeon General warned us about the linkage between smoking and lung disease." (Couric seen nodding again)
     Couric: "Where there is disagreement among scientists it is not if but when we may see drastic environmental changes across the globe. Al Gore says the clock is ticking."
     Gore from movie: "This is Patagonia 75 years ago and the same glacier today. This is Mt. Kilimanjaro 30 years ago and last year."
     Couric: "What do you see happening in say 15 to 20 years or even 50 years if nothing changes?"
     Gore: "Well what I think is gonna happen is that we're gonna respond to it but if we didn't respond then what you would find is desertification of the mid-continental areas in the U.S., Europe, Asia, Africa." (Couric nods)
     Gore over computer animation of Florida and San Francisco being flooded: "The melting of the polar ice cap and the beginnings of the same thing in Antarctica. Sea-level increases of 20 feet or more worldwide. Of course Florida and Louisiana and Texas are particularly vulnerable. The San Francisco Bay area, Manila. And we have seen the impact of a couple hundred thousand refugees from an environmental crisis."
     [Footage of Hurricane Katrina victims]
     Gore: "Imagine 100 million or 200 million."
     Couric over computer animation of Manhattan being flooded: "Even Manhattan would be in deep water right?"
     Gore: "Yes in fact the World Trade Center Memorial site would be underwater."
     Couric: "Some people might say, 'oh boy there's that tree-huggin' Al Gore. He's at it again.' Some people might dismiss you out of hand."
     Gore: "Ah, look I, I've been trying to tell this story for 30 years and I have a new ally in telling this story. Unfortunately Mother Nature is weighing in very powerfully and very loudly."
     [Footage of flooded New Orleans]
     Gore: "And people are listening. It's not a political issue, it's a moral issue."
     Couric: "A once defeated Al Gore is now basking in the limelight soaking up standing ovations and stellar reviews. He even showed up recently on Saturday Night Live where he played of all things, President Al Gore."
     Gore on Saturday Night Live: "In the last six years we have been able to stop global warming. No one could have predicted the negative results of this. Glaciers that once were melting are now on the attack."
     Couric: "All this, of course, has led to the inevitable question. Needless to say all this positive response led to a lot of speculation that you're gonna run for president. Let's just put it out there."
     Gore: "I don't intend to be a candidate ever again and-"
     Couric pleaded: "Never, never, never?"
     Gore: "Well look, I, I have no plans to be a candidate and no intention of being a candidate. I have said that I'm not at the stage of my life where I'm gonna say never in the rest of my life will I ever think about such a thing."
     Couric: "What does that mean?"
     Gore: "It means that I was in politics for a long time and ran for national office four times and I'm 58-years-old and that used to sound like the oldest age in the world to me now. Now I'm trying to convince myself that 58 is the new something."
     Couric: "That it's the new 38? Yeah."
     Gore: "Yeah, I love that line. I don't quite buy it but look I'm enjoying serving in other ways. I really enjoy my life now. I am involved in a kind of campaign but it's not for a candidacy. It's a campaign to change the minds of the American people about this climate crisis."
     Couric, back on the Today set: "And tomorrow we're gonna take a look at the alternative fuels that may help reduce global warming in the future and Friday what your family can do to cut down on energy consumption from sunup to sundown."



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