In addition to devoting the entirety of NBC's Saturday prime-time hours to this Gorestock, hosted by Ann Curry of NBC News, there will be seven hours on CNBC, 18 hours on Bravo, 22 hours on both the Sundance Channel and the Universal HD channel, and three hours combined on Telemundo and Telemundo 2. On top of that, NBC's press release added that "MSNBC will broadcast special coverage of this global concert event throughout the day with live reports from the concerts in New York and London."
It's an enormous in-kind campaign contribution. Can you imagine how many millions of dollars this 75 hours of air time would cost a billionaire politico like Ross Perot if he tried to buy it? But NBC is just giving it away to Al Gore, even as liberals press him to run for president in 2008. "NBC Universal is proud to be the exclusive U.S. broadcaster of this historic television event," said Jeff Gaspin, the president of NBC Universal's cable and digital content. This concert's "historic" status is certainly multiplied up by all the hours and hours of free publicity.
Have NBC executives convinced themselves, a la Randy Cohen, that Al Gore's concerts are really "nonpartisan"? If so, they're not reading the press accounts. In Rolling Stone, Live Earth organizer Kevin Wall is saying the concert will press their demands: "no more f---ing excuses ... No more coal-fired energy plants can be built. Three percent a year reduction in carbon emissions in all industrialized nations ... We have to mobilize an army, and that's what we're about to start doing."
These nostalgic corporate "global citizens" at NBC are not in the news-gathering business. Rather, they are looking to make the news by creating the next Woodstock, and the leftist utopia always looming around the corner in their minds. It is impossible to defend as non-ideological an agenda that mobilizes "an army" for Al Gore to put a big government-enforced dent in our energy use. Impossible, that is, unless you're "The Ethicist" for The New York Times.