Al Gore may not have won the presidency (thank God), but over the last two years, he's been given an enormous consolation prize by his friends on the left. He's been designated as the Savior of the Planet.
First came the warm wave of supportive publicity surrounding his slide-show documentary "An Inconvenient Truth." Katie Couric, Harry Smith and Oprah Winfrey all touted Gore as so warm, so vulnerable and self-effacing, and his predictions so impossibly scary. Last May, Gore and Couric sat together on a sunny day in Central Park and unspooled the doom. Manhattan would be under deep water soon if we don't take drastic measures, they warned.
Now comes another warm wave of media smooches and applause with the news of his plan for an international set of "Live Earth" concerts to promote massive government action to curb humanity's excessive reliance on energy. Impending global doom has become such a hip cause it's now pushed by Cameron Diaz, Jon Bon Jovi and a flock of other Hollywood astrophysicists, the homelessness issue having become passe.
Ever since the whole planet-panic kicked in around Earth Day 1970, there have been repeated predictions of impending doom, which didn't exactly work out. When will someone in the media ever admit this?
Go back to 1989 and 1990. Instead of NBC's Katie Couric handing the microphone over to Al Gore to lament how Manhattan's about to go underwater, the same NBC network handed its microphone and camera crew directly to left-wing "Population Bomb" author Paul Ehrlich, awarding him large chunks of airtime to imagine America losing the nation's capital and the entire state of Florida.
In May 1989, Ehrlich claimed, global warming was going to melt the polar ice caps, causing a flood in which "we could expect to lose all of Florida, Washington D.C. and the Los Angeles basin. ... We'll be in rising waters with no ark in sight." Ehrlich didn't give a time frame, but his panicked report clearly suggested doom around the corner.
The panic was necessary to sell an extremely harsh "solution" of "enormous, rapid change." Ehrlich commanded that to forestall doom, the world needed to cut its energy use in half over 20 years. Industrialization needed to be dragged to a screeching halt, not only in America, but especially in the Third World. Ehrlich felt the next generation of Americans should be denied the Earth-strangling prosperity of their parents, saying the world's ecosystems "cannot support the spread of the American lifestyle to the Third World or even to the next generation of Americans."
Ehrlich was back on NBC in January 1990 to sell his "inconvenient truth" line again. This time, he gave a more concrete timeline. Antarctica's ice sheets were slipping, and then "we'll be facing a sea-level rise not of one to three feet in a century, but of 10 or 20 feet in a much shorter time. The Supreme Court would be flooded. You could tie your boat to the Washington Monument. Storm surges would make the Capitol unusable."
It's been almost twenty years, we never cut our energy use in half, and Florida is still above water, not to mention Washington and Los Angeles. We have yet to tie our boats to the Washington Monument. But the media are still handing over their microphones and their accolades to panicky predictions, with no apparent expectation that anyone will ever question their accuracy in a decade or two. How many decades do we wait to question these predictions?
Despite this, too many media outlets approach global warming with a surprising arrogance, insisting that all the facts are in and that anyone who seeks to confuse the public with dissent is too harmful to be heard. CBS reporter Scott Pelley scoffed, "It would be irresponsible of us to go find some scientist somewhere" to cast doubt on the doomsayers. He went on to suggest any scientist who disagreed was probably paid off by fossil-fuel interests.
Skeptics of global warming are even being compared to Holocaust deniers. It seems that climate science isn't the only thing leftists monstrously exaggerate.
Don't expect that in 2027, NBC will challenge Al Gore to explain why his "climate crisis" talk of Manhattan under water never occurred, it being assumed that NBC will still be broadcasting out of New York. By then, the torch of panic will be passed on to a new generation, which will no doubt also ignore the collapsed predictions of yesteryear as they pat themselves on the back as the vanguard of planetary compassion.