CBS & NBC Cheer Student Climate Strike, Warn ‘Future Might Not Exist’

On Thursday and Friday, CBS This Morning and NBC’s Today show celebrated left-wing student activists around the world preparing to walk out of their classrooms to “demand action on climate change.” The CBS report took a particularly dark turn as correspondent Tony Dokoupil warned of “a future that might not even exist” for the young protesters.

“Groups of students across America say they will skip class tomorrow for the first national school strike over climate change,” co-host Gayle King proudly announced on Thursday’s CBS This Morning. “Tomorrow’s protests are planned in more than 130 U.S. cities and about 90 countries worldwide,” she added.

 

 

In the report that followed, Dokoupil touted the demonstrations as just the latest example of liberal outrage: “We’ve seen student walkouts for gun control, now it seems climate change is getting the same treatment.” He then applauded “a few teenagers on social media” who started the movement and endorsed their dire perspective: “They were reading about the worst-case scenarios of climate change and they came to a pretty logical conclusion: why keep going to school to prepare for a future that might not even exist?”

After having sufficiently depressed the morning show viewers, Dokoupil offered a gushing profile of one of the youth organizers:

Every Friday, as most kids hurry off to school, Alexandria Villasenor heads to the United Nations....The seventh grader plays hooky in hopes of pushing adults into action against global warming....She’s been doing it for more than three months, but it won’t be a one-girl show come tomorrow....Villasenor is co-founder of Youth Climate Strike U.S., along with 12-year-old Haven Coleman and 16-year-old Isra Hersy. They’re calling for, among other things, 100% renewable energy by 2030.

Later in the report, he asked the girl: “If you could teach everybody one thing about what you’ve learned about climate change, what would it be?” Villasenor demanded: “That a lot of world leaders and politicians have to start making decisions based on facts. They need to start listening to scientists, and they need to stop being bought off.”

Dokoupil fretted: “And if they don’t?” Villasenor predicted doom: “If they don’t, then you can say good-bye to your life and your future.”

Following the taped report, Dokoupil argued: “And while you can argue with the tactics, scientists have provided a pretty good sick note for the planet in the form of the latest international report on climate change.” He gushed: “No more studying history, they’re going to try to make it.”

On Friday, during the third hour of NBC’s Today show, weatherman Al Roker hailed the radical student activists:

Well, here’s another thing, students actually taking charge and wanting to be part of change. Students all over the globe, including the U.S., are skipping school to demand action on climate change....An organizer calling the event here the U.S. Climate Youth Climate Strike. Similar strikes planned in nearly 100 countries, already started....All around the globe, kids walking out of school and protesting and wanting action by their governments to take action on climate change.

The panel hosts then proceeded to lament how bad the U.S. was at recycling compared to nations like Sweden and Roker wished America could be more like Iceland: “...you know, there are a lot of countries that we could – for example, Iceland. I mean, there’s no fossil fuels. It’s all geothermal or hydrogen.”

At no point did any of the so-called “journalists” on either network point how extreme many of the student demands were or ask any serious questions about the impact of such proposals on the global economy.

Here is a full transcript of the March 14 report on CBS This Morning:

8:06 AM ET

GAYLE KING: Groups of students across America say they will skip class tomorrow for the first national school strike over climate change. We've already seen similar demonstrations in Europe and Australia. Tomorrow’s protests are planned in more than 130 U.S. cities and about 90 countries worldwide. Tony Dokoupil talked with organizers about the goal of the walkout and he joins us at the table to discuss. Good morning, Mr. Dokoupil.

TONY DOKOUPIL: Good morning. We’ve seen student walkouts for gun control, now it seems climate change is getting the same treatment. And this is expected to be a major protest, but it began with just a few teenagers on social media. They were reading about the worst-case scenarios of climate change and they came to a pretty logical conclusion: why keep going to school to prepare for a future that might not even exist?

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Striking to Save the Planet; Student Protest to Push for Action Global Warming]

DOKOUPIL: Every Friday, as most kids hurry off to school, Alexandria Villasenor heads to the United Nations.

ALEXANDRIA VILLASENOR [“YOUTH CLIMATE STRIKE US,” CO-FOUNDER]: Since climate change will be a global problem. I decided that this would be the best place to strike.

DOKOUPIL: The seventh grader plays hooky in hopes of pushing adults into action against global warming.

[TO VILLASENOR] What did your mom said when you proposed the idea of not going to school on Fridays?

VILLASENOR: Well, both of my parents were very supportive. I mean, they understand my point of view.

DOKOUPIL: No double take at all?

VILLASENOR: Well, they did start laugh-crying, but I took that as a good sign.

DOKOUPIL: She’s been doing it for more than three months, but it won’t be a one-girl show come tomorrow.

VILLASENOR: All 50 states are going to be striking that day.

DOKOUPIL: Villasenor is co-founder of Youth Climate Strike U.S., along with 12-year-old Haven Coleman and 16-year-old Isra Hersy. They’re calling for, among other things, 100% renewable energy by 2030. And the three young women were inspired by a fourth.

GRETA THUNBERG: With not doing anything to fight the climate crisis.

DOKOUPIL: Greta Thunberg started her own Fridays for the Future strike last August, outside the Swedish parliament in Stockholm.

THUNBERG: Change is coming, whether you like it or not.

DOKOUPIL: Since then, she’s taken her message directly to the United Nations climate change conference, known as COP 24.

THUNBERG: You are not mature enough to tell it like it is. Even that burden you leave to us children.

VILLASENOR: I was amazed because she put the world leaders in their place. She really pointed out that they are acting like children.

DOKOUPIL: Haven Coleman is organizing students from her home in Colorado.

HAVEN COLEMAN: It doesn’t matter if we get thousands. It doesn’t matter if we get hundreds. We’re still influencing, we’re still powerful because a voice is a voice, and every voice has power.

DOKOUPIL: A lesson you don’t always learn in a book, in a fight that certainly won’t be over tomorrow.

[TO VILLASENOR]: If you could teach everybody one thing about what you’ve learned about climate change, what would it be?

VILLASENOR: That a lot of world leaders and politicians have to start making decisions based on facts. They need to start listening to scientists, and they need to stop being bought off.

DOKOUPIL: And if they don’t?

VILLASENOR: If they don’t, then you can say good-bye to your life and your future. We will continue striking until the necessary actions are taken. We will not be stopping.

DOKOUPIL: And while you can argue with the tactics, scientists have provided a pretty good sick note for the planet in the form of the latest international report on climate change. No more studying history, they’re going to try to make it.

JOHN DICKERSON: Right.

KING: Do we point out that most of those leaders in that package were young girls?

DOKOUPIL: In fact, not only here in the U.S., but around the globe, most of the leaders in this movement are women, young women.

KING: Yeah. I like that. I like her thing about laugh-crying.

Here is a full transcript of the March 15 discussion on the Today show:

9:07 AM ET

AL ROKER: Well, here’s another thing, students actually taking charge and wanting to be part of change. Students all over the globe, including the U.S., are skipping school to demand action on climate change.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Demanding Action; Students Around the World Plan Climate Strikes]

DYLAN DREYER: Today, right?

ROKER: That’s right. This is happening today. An organizer calling the event here the U.S. Climate Youth Climate Strike. Similar strikes planned in nearly 100 countries, already started.

[FOOTAGE ON SCREEN OF CLIMATE STRIKES]

CRAIG MELVIN: Wow. A hundred countries?

ROKER: Yeah, look at this. All around the globe, kids walking out of school and protesting and wanting action by their governments to take action on climate change. It began last summer in Sweden. A teenager named Greta Thunberg spoke at the U.N. about climate change.

SHEINELLE JONES: Look at them.

ROKER: They’re there in Rome.

DREYER: You know, I went to Sweden a couple of years ago. I don’t know if we ever ended up airing the story, but it was all about the recycling movement in Sweden. And they are just top of the world when it comes to recycling.

ROKER: Yup.

DREYER: Every home has about five bins.

JACOB SOBOROFF: That’s right.

DREYER: You’re not just throwing plastic versus trash. I mean, you have metal, you have CDs, you have just every single little type of thing you can throw out.

ROKER: Yes, the recycling stream is pristine.

DREYER: Yes, even pill bottles.

SOBROOFF: Do you know that our recycling is so bad and backwards in the United States that China, which normally accepts most of our plastic, has refused to take the plastic from China. So right now in the United States, a lot of the stuff that we throw in recycling bins here, you know –

ROKER: Landfill.  

SOBOROFF: It goes into a landfill.

ROKER: Landfill. Yeah, because –

DREYER: Especially if you don’t clean it out.

ROKER: If you don’t, because it contaminates – one container – a plastic container that still has food in it can contaminate an entire recycle bin.

SOBOROFF: That’s right. And so, it just gets –

JONES: That’s good to know that you should rinse it out. I have to be honest – I mean water bottles might be a little bit different.  

ROKER: And I’ve been guilty of that. But I think, you know, there are a lot of countries that we could – for example, Iceland. I mean, there’s no fossil fuels. It’s all geothermal or hydrogen.

DREYER: Well, Sweden actually buys trash from other countries and they use it to power and heat millions homes.

MELVIN: By the way, what’s also – what also didn’t pass me on that is that we sent you to Sweden for a story we never put on television.  

DREYER: I know, I don’t know why that didn’t happen.

SOBOROFF: It’s called a junket.

DREYER: I did a bunch of stories and this was the one that, for some reason, didn’t air.

ROKER: Next time they should send a crew with you. That’s probably the problem. [Laughter]

DREYER: I was showing up interviewing people and –

ROKER: She just had a pretend microphone, “Hi, how are you?”

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