Just days after he told Parade magazine that his environmental coverage was “not political,” on Wednesday’s Today show, weatherman Al Roker excitedly announced that NBC News would be joining a push by left-wing “journalists” to preach climate activism.
While marking Earth Day, Roker touted climate “renewal” amid the coronavirus pandemic, but warned that “the change in the air is only temporary and not nearly enough.” Following that taped report, he proclaimed: “And guys, we’re actually proud to say that NBC News has made reporting on climate change a priority, and so we are now happy to be joining and covering, joining this group called Covering Climate Now.”
Roker described the organization as “a global journalism initiative that’s committed to even more and better coverage.” Taking one look at its website, the liberal roots of Covering Climate Now become obvious:
Organized by journalists, for journalists, CCNow was co-founded in April 2019 by the Columbia Journalism Review, and The Nation, in association with The Guardian. Our partners include more than 400 news outlets with a combined audience approaching 2 billion people, and our innovative collaborations are driving stronger climate coverage across the media. CCNow works directly with newsrooms, sharing first-class content, providing story ideas and background resources, amplifying our partners’ coverage, convening climate journalism conferences, and publishing a weekly newsletter highlighting best practices.
One cannot imagine more leftist “new outlets” to turn to than Columbia Journalism Review, The Guardian, and The Nation.
In addition, left-wing PBS host Bill Moyers is also involved in the project. In a speech delivered to the group, Moyers compared climate change to World War II.
Beyond those involved, the organization’s stated agenda is clear:
Good climate coverage connects the dots between human-caused climate change and stronger heat waves, droughts, storms, and sea level rise and the damage caused to people and the economy....Good climate coverage eliminates the silos which confine climate coverage to the science desk and increases infrequency of reports as a regular part of every beat in every newsroom, especially weather, business, and politics....Without drifting into activism, good climate coverage explores solutions — technical fixes such as solar panels and sea walls but also policies such as pricing carbon or halting fossil fuel subsidies, as well as political actions taken to advance such policies, including voting and marching in the streets.
On Wednesday’s Today, Roker continued to gush over the network’s “alliance” with the activist group: “It’s a story that isn’t going to be going away anytime soon. We’re going to be there to report on it, including our NBC News Climate Unit. So we’re very excited to announce this alliance coming up.”
Pushing a political movement under the guise of “journalism” is misleading at best. Objective reporting should not be invested in a particular outcome or set of government policies. Journalists cannot be lobbyists.
Here is a full transcript of Roker’s April 22 report:
7:42 AM ET
SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Alright, Al, and as you mentioned earlier, it is Earth Day. We all know the coronavirus has been just a terrible crisis, a health crisis, an economic crisis, and it’s just turned everything upside down. But we thought you’d want to know about some surprising ways that it’s actually helping our planet.
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Earth Day Today; Al’s Inside Look at Environmental Impact of Global Lockdown]
AL ROKER: That’s right, Savannah. It’s the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, and with most of us staying home, with this pandemic, it’s affecting the Earth in some really striking ways. We talked to some experts about how this crisis may actually be preparing us for the ultimate climate emergency.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN [CHICAGO RESIDENT]: That’s literally a coyote.
ROKER: Coyotes roaming the streets of Chicago. Sheep working on the landscaping in Wales. In some places, sea turtles nesting on beaches for the first time in years.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN B [LOGGERHEAD MARINELIFE CENTER]: We predict that with these fewer interactions, if the beach closures go on any longer due to COVID that we will see possibly more successful nesting events with the sea turtles.
ROKER: Wildlife around the world ranging freely in cities and regions normally bustling with people. Just one of the ways in which the coronavirus lockdown has quickly and dramatically changed our environment. Less foot traffic, less waste, less energy consumption, allowing certain animals to thrive and impacting the Earth’s atmosphere as well. What kind of reductions have we seen?
PETER GLEICK [PACIFIC INSTITUTE PRESIDENT EMERITUS]: We’ve seen reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, those gases that contribute to climate change. But we’ve also seen reductions in sort of the typical air pollution, the particulates, the smog, and we’ve seen remarkably some amazing improvements in air quality.
ROKER: In India, for the first time in decades, the majestic snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas were revealed to the people of Jalanhar more than 120 miles away. And last week, in the normally polluted city of New Delhi, clear skies. Here in the United States, the plummeting emissions were evident almost immediately. Two weeks ago, Los Angeles, a city of nearly 4 million people and more than 6 million cars, registered the cleanest air on the planet.
While these signs of renewal are encouraging, climatologists say the change in the air is only temporary and not nearly enough.
KRISTOPHER KARNAUSKAS [UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR]: We could be seeing a reduction in our emissions this year, in 2020, at the most probably 5%. And while that may sound like a lot, for context, compare that to the roughly 8% that the international climate science community has told us that we need to reduce emissions by year after year.
ROKER: When the world finally heals, and our societies come back, is there a way to make these changes permanent, without hurting our economy?
GLEICK: We can have a strong economy, but improve our air quality, and they’re taking steps in that direction. We can reduce our emissions of greenhouse gases by switching from fossil fuels to renewable energy. We know that wind and solar work. We know they’re economic. We know that they’re growing very rapidly.
ROKER: As we come out of this, is there a silver lining?
KARNAUSKAS: A pandemic or a financial crisis is nobody’s idea of a solution to the climate crisis at all, but if we do look back and see that, you know, when humans, whether we had a choice or not, made changes and the needle moved in terms of the global climate and the environment, that may be seen as, you know, a reminder that we’re in control and we have a responsibility and the ability to actually move that needle.
ROKER: And guys, we’re actually proud to say that NBC News has made reporting on climate change a priority, and so we are now happy to be joining and covering, joining this group called Covering Climate Now. It’s a global journalism initiative that’s committed to even more and better coverage. It’s a story that isn’t going to be going away anytime soon. We’re going to be there to report on it, including our NBC News Climate Unit. So we’re very excited to announce this alliance coming up.
CRAIG MELVIN: That is fantastic news, buddy. That is fantastic news. And what about an unintended consequence of all of this, too, Al, huh?
ROKER: Yeah, it really is. I mean, and of course, once we start ramping back up, we’re going to see an uptick in pollution again, so the challenge is to find how can we keep these levels lower but bring our economy back to speed.
MELVIN: Alright, Mr. Roker, thank you very much, good sir.