In recent months, ABC reporter Bill Blakemore has been a passionate proponent for getting all that harmful objectivity and balance out of reporting on the impending disaster of global warming. (See here, or here, or here.) So it shouldn't be surprising -- it should flow naturally, like a melting glacier -- that Blakemore is using ABC's World Newser blog to plug Al Gore's new documentary "An Inconvenient Truth." The filmmakers could use Blakemore's review here as a promotional blurb. He calls it "96 minutes well spent," says "Regardless of your politics, it's riveting and informative," not to mention "remarkably clear, concise, and informative."
Blakemore also repeats his mantra that liberal media bias will save our lives, if we let it: "Global warming is not, after all, a politics story -- though it is greatly politicized, of course...Global warming is an event story -- like when Mount St. Helens suddenly blew up in 1980, or the recent mega-tsunami in Indonesia, only far bigger. As such, it needs not so much "balance," which must be accorded politics stories, but perspective [read: no stinking "balance"] -- as mainstream editors and reporters have finally begun to realize over the past year."
But Blakemore also lauds Gore as a "surprisingly affable professor" of doom, and begins by comparing the film to "self-levitating" great literature and poetry, to Shakespeare and Dante, Dickinson and Frost. Oh, he doesn't dare call the Gore film "great," but it's remarkably concise because Gore cares so much, "as a result of Gore's long commitment to -- and consideration of -- this inconvenient truth."
Here's the syrupy endorsement in its entirety:
The greatest writers - Shakespeare, Emily Dickenson, Edgar Allen Poe, Robert Frost, Dante - are found in the biographies to have focused the most of their time and mental energies as adults on their craft - writing. Their great clarity and insight does not come by accident.
The Italian scholar Italo Calvino added that all great literature has one additional quality: lightness. Such art has a self-levitating quality; it provides its own field of gravity -- one of the reasons we value it.
Former vice president Al Gore is the central actor in the non-fiction 96-minute long movie opening later this month entitled "An Inconvenient Truth." [WATCH TRAILER HERE]
It shows Gore delivering what he calls his "slideshow" about the basics of global warming, its psychological challenges, and the ominous impacts already observable around the world.
Gore calls global warming a "planetary emergency" and calmly sets out, aided by compelling mega-graphics to explain why.
Regardless of your politics, it is riveting and informative - as the many responses from a variety of screenings are proving.
Global warming is not, after all, a politics story - though it is greatly politicized, of course - any more than it is a finance or religion story, though many in the worlds of finance and religion are scrambling to figure out how to adjust to the impacts of the global temperature already rising.
Global warming is an event story - like when Mount St. Helens suddenly blew up in 1980, or the recent mega-tsunami in Indonesia, only far bigger.
As such, it needs not so much "balance," which must be accorded politics stories, but perspective - as mainstream editors and reporters have finally begun to realize over the past year.
We learn in this short film that Gore has been pondering the great dangers of global warming since college, when he studied under scientist Roger Revel [sic], one of the earliest to foresee the catastrophic consequences if humanity kept pouring greenhouse carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
Gore has reportedly given the slideshow about a thousand times around the world.
The practice shows.
He is able to make -- or teach -- each scientific and sociological point in one or at most two sentences, calmly, clearly, and concisely.
Our news editors and mentors constantly urge the same on us who write. Shorter is so often better - but only as long as you also go through the hard work of boiling it down and refining the essence so that the audience can easily take the message - and if you're lucky, the beauty - away with them.
"The power of the genie is in its confinement," says our great American poet Richard Wilbur, who still uses rhyme and meter (albeit in original formats) to challenge his mind to find ever better poetic formulations.
Whether this film is any kind of "great" is surely irrelevant and not my point here. But it is remarkably concise, clear and informative, and this as a result of Gore's long commitment to -- and consideration of -- this inconvenient truth.
People will inevitably ask, upon seeing it, whether Al Gore is just running for president again with a fancy new way to project his persona.
But that question will, I suspect, fade for most viewers into second place as they ponder the various parts and possible consequences of the enormous and unprecedented problem that Gore, now a well traveled and surprisingly affable professor of it, explains.
Whatever your politics or lack of them, as a student of the problems of reporting on global warming, I would recommend these as 96 minutes well spent.