NBC Uses Moon Landing to Wail About ‘Earth Burning Up From Abuse and Neglect’

Wrapping up a series of reports on the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing, on Friday’s Today show, dour NBC correspondent Harry Smith used the opportunity to bemoan the lack of progress over the past five decades on liberal agenda items like climate change and economic inequality, among other “problems here at home.”

“Going to the Moon, the Apollo program, would require the resources of the most powerful and technologically advanced nation the world had yet witnessed,” Smith optimistically declared at the beginning of the segment. However, only moments later, the report took a sharp, dark turn:

 

 

And beating the Russians to the Moon was a big darn deal, a battle won in our long cold war. But it did nothing to heal our broken cities, which were bleeding from riots. And did nothing to stop the U.S. from digging deeper into the trench of despair that was Vietnam. Fifty years later, our mother Earth is burning up from abuse and neglect.

Suddenly he went from the Moon to “the trench of despair” in Vietnam.

Later in the piece, Smith fretted: “Did we miss something 50 years ago?... maybe space is just easier to conquer than our problems here at home. Poverty, inequality, disease, climate change, we wonder 50 years later what big thing could we, should we accomplish now?”

Co-host Savannah Guthrie gushed over the “perspective” that Smith supposedly brought to the story: “Well, Harry, you always put it in perspective. It’s easy to romanticize this accomplishment, and why not, it was incredible....But also to look at the work that’s unfinished in this beautiful place.”

Smith noted the cost of the mission to the Moon: “In U.S. Dollars, it was about $25 billion back in the day. In today’s dollars, probably more like a quarter of a trillion.” He then implored: “What could a quarter of a trillion dollars do now?...Where’s our audacity and where’s our sense of common purpose?”

The veteran reporter has a long history of viewing American history with pessimism – at least when Republicans are in the White House. While reporting for CBS This Morning in 1990, Smith did a series entitled The Record of Who We Are, in which he derided the Reagan era of the 1980s as a “decade of greed,” lamented the U.S. under George H.W. Bush’s leadership having “a crumbling infrastructure, dirty air, countless homeless people,” and denounced “America’s system of apartheid” when it came to race relations.

For Smith, when the GOP is in power, it’s always midnight in America.

Here are excerpts of the July 19 report:

8:10 AM ET

(...)

HARRY SMITH: Going to the Moon, the Apollo program, would require the resources of the most powerful and technologically advanced nation the world had yet witnessed. And a price tag of a then staggering $25 billion. An 18-year-old I know had just graduated from high school. He watched that summer night and believed anything was possible.

The Greatest Generation had won a world war, then lifted up our broken enemies. And beating the Russians to the Moon was a big darn deal, a battle won in our long cold war. But it did nothing to heal our broken cities, which were bleeding from riots. And did nothing to stop the U.S. from digging deeper into the trench of despair that was Vietnam. Fifty years later, our mother Earth is burning up from abuse and neglect.

(...)

8:12 AM ET

SMITH: Did we miss something 50 years ago? Perhaps the heroic effort required to get to the moon should have been less a ta-da moment than an a-ha moment. It proved that imagination, determination, and money can get big things done, but maybe space is just easier to conquer than our problems here at home. Poverty, inequality, disease, climate change, we wonder 50 years later what big thing could we, should we accomplish now?

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Well, Harry, you always put it in perspective. It’s easy to romanticize this accomplishment, and why not, it was incredible.

SMITH: Exactly.

GUTHRIE: But also to look at the work that’s unfinished in this beautiful place.

SMITH: Without question.

(...)

8:13 AM ET

SMITH: In U.S. Dollars, it was about $25 billion back in the day. In today’s dollars, probably more like a quarter of a trillion. What could a quarter of a trillion dollars do now?

GUTHRIE: But also, just the vision, you know, the daring of it.

SMITH: Yes.

GUTHRIE: To say we’re going to do it, not because it’s easy but because it’s hard.

SMITH: Audacity.

GUTHRIE: Yeah.

SMITH: Where’s our audacity and where’s our sense of common purpose?

(...)

NB Daily Environment Global Warming NBC Today Video Harry Smith

Sponsored Links