NBC Universal Launches 'Earth Week', GE Conflict of Interest Remains an Issue

Beginning on April 17, NBC-Universal and all of its television news and entertainment shows will launch into seven days of environmentally-themed programming titled "Earth Week." If this Earth Week is anything like those past, it will once again raise the issue, highligted on numerous occasions at this website, of the symbiotic relationship between Earth Week's political implications and the financial interests of General Electric, which owns a large stake in the media company.

The conflict of interest apparent in Earth Week also points to a double standard: while the political activities of Fox News's parent company News Corporation were touted by numerous commentators - both partisan and "objective" - as evidence that Fox itself has a political bent, few to this day seem concerned that NBC is advancing a liberal environmental agenda that could potentially enrich GE, which spends millions (more than $230 million on lobbying alone since 1991, more than any other private company by far) advancing the same agenda through political channels.

Earth Week goes beyond even news content, which TV Newser previews, and advances the same agenda through NBC's entertainment programming. Beyond NBC itself, its USA, Syfy, and Bravo channels will also be taking part, according to a release from NBC-U.

"Earth Week" is part of NBC's "Green is Universal" campaign, which has consistently, since its inception, toed the liberal line on environmentalism. In fact, in sort of a meta-commentary, NBC brought Al Gore on its show "30 Rock", which parodies NBC itself, to propose "an entire week with nothing but environmental themes on all the programs." He added that NBC should "use entertainment for substance."

After a couple years of "Green is Universal," that substance's political implications were clear. From fawning over Swedes "showing kindness to the planet" by neglecting fossil fuels to "live broadcasts aimed at alerting us to the effects of global warming," "Green is Universal" programming has served, from the start, to advance liberals' ideas concerning environmentalism and how to combat global crises.

GE, meanwhile, stands to make windfall profits off of the policies that such ideas advance, as noted at the links in the opening paragraph.

Here is the full press release from NBC-U announcing the effort. As you can see, it's a full-court press.

Green is Universal Kicks Off Its Annual “Earth Week” April 17th-24th, Focusing

On The Theme of Reuse

New York, NY – April 13, 2011 – “Green is Universal” will kick off its most robust “Earth Week” ever April 17–24, marking the first company-wide environmentally themed week since the Comcast merger. More than 45 different brands across NBCUniversal’s broad portfolio will feature 100 plus hours of environmentally themed content throughout the week—both online and on-air. Rallying around the theme of “reuse,” NBCUniversal brands will highlight greener lifestyle habits for consumers, and provide them with some of today’s most pressing environmental news.

“According to our new research[1], an overwhelming 93% of consumers say they have a personal responsibility to take care of the environment,” said Beth Colleton, Vice President, Green is Universal. “Earth Week is prime opportunity to tap the power of NBCUniversal’s newly expanded portfolio to keep consumers informed on this important subject and highlight ways to live a more a eco-friendly lifestyle.”

Following are highlights of some original programming and Earth Week events for the week:

Note: Several NBCUniversal brands, including NBC, USA, Syfy, and Bravo, will be offering viewers custom “Earth Week” stickers from GetGlue for checking-in to particular green-themed shows during the week.

Oxygen: Tori and Dean plan a shabby chic wedding on “STORIbook Weddings.” Using old chairs and couches as seating for the guests and mason jars as candleholders to line the aisle, the couple demonstrates the real meaning of reuse.

Sprout will feature daily eco-friendly crafts, games and activities designed for preschoolers and parents to do together on “The Sunny Side Up Show.” On Earth Day, special guest and winner of Bravo’s Top Chef, Richard Blais, will join hosts Sean and Chica the Chicken on the show’s 1000th episode to create a preschool friendly dish and recycled craft. Sprout will also air back-to-back episodes of “dirtgirlworld,” the first green living series for preschoolers.

The Style Network will showcase all things eco, by wrapping their signature Style Nightcap with environmentally themed tips, as well as interstitials featuring ideas on how to repurpose everything from old clothing to food storage bags. Style will also run a 3-hour “Style-A-Thon” of its makeover series “How Do I Look?,” as well as on-air marathons of “Clean House” and “Whose Wedding Is It Anyway?”– featuring even more green content.

E! Entertainment will showcase green celebrities on “E! News,” including interviews with Pharell about his eco-friendly product line, and Ludacris on the “Change Your Oil! Change The World” campaign. The network will also incorporate green themes on its hit shows, including “Chelsea Lately,” “The Soup” and “Fashion Police.”

TODAY: Hosts Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford will feature items from the “Art of Reuse” contest, which was launched in partnership by Green is Universal and Etsy. Kotb and Gifford are both are judges for this contest. Consumers were asked to submit handcrafted items made of purely recycled and repurposed materials. The two will also take part in an interactive game with audience members called “Earth Week/Who Knew?” Other green-themed content to air throughout the week includes: a profile on a family who produces zero-waste and a segment called “Test Your Green/Earth IQ” with Julie Bain from Ladies’ Home Journal.

CNBC will premiere the documentary, “Fuel,” that takes a look at the history of energy in America. Viewers can also learn more about the business of green throughout the week on “Fast Money,” “Mad Money” and “The Suze Orman Show.”

MSNBC: Throughout the week, NBC News Environment and Science Expert Jeff Corwin will cover the one-year anniversary of the Gulf oil spill. Additionally, “Your Business” will focus on an environmentally friendly small business.

Nightly News: On the first anniversary of the recent oil disaster, Brian Williams will look at the lingering impact on the region and its residents and where recovery efforts now stand. NBC News’ Chief Environmental Affairs correspondent, Anne Thompson will also report on the environmental health of the Gulf and look at the state of its tourist industry. Additionally, Brian Williams will interview Ted Danson on his new book “Oceana,” to help raise awareness around ocean protection and preservation.

The Weather Channel will air a special town hall event moderated by NBC News Special Correspondent Tom Brokaw at Yale University, entitled “Changing Planet,” one in a series of three events intended to encourage student learning and dialogue about climate science. Online, The Weather Channel will feature green content relating to lifestyle interests, travel, outdoors, health and home & garden.

Comcast Sports Group regional networks will air local vignettes showcasing the various environmental efforts of players, teams and leagues, such as a feature on Lincoln Financial Field, home of the Philadelphia Eagles and the first major sports stadium to convert to renewable energy.

Golf Channel: Morning Drive and Golf Central will cover environmental trends in the industry through interviews with eco-minded golf course leaders that will run daily, both on air and online.

G4: On “Attack of the Show” (ATOS), “Green Pron” will spotlight eco-friendly gadgets and technology, including solar backpacks, energy measurement tools, water-powered devices and even human-powered chargers. In addition, AOTS will showcase the new Japanese car that can travel 206 miles on a single charge, and a Green Map iPhone app that connects people to the ‘Green Movement. “X-Play” will highlight and recommend eco-friendly games available at GamesforChange.org, as well as list five simple ways that any gamer can be more environmentally conscious with the “X-List: Top 5 Ways to Game Green.”

VERSUS will air spots throughout the week, during the network’s outdoor programming, that will feature environmental and conservation-related issues from the perspective of outdoor enthusiasts.

DailyCandy will feature green deals in their daily newsletter throughout the week, along with a green-themed edition of its new online shopping guide, “The Round Up.”

Fandango will be highlighting movies that feature environmental themes, and celebrities who are known for their green practices

iVillage will offer recommendations on all things green, including “Stuff We Love: Green Finds,” “25 Stores That Will Keep You Eco-Friendly and Stylish” and “Easy Eco-Friendly Changes That Can Make You Happier.”

Telemundo will air daily green reports in Levántate on food, fashion, children and construction. All Telemundo stations, including NY, LA, Dallas, Miami, Chicago and Las Vegas, will feature green stories in evening newscasts throughout the week.

Universal Picture’s current box office hit “Hop” implemented sustainable production practices while making the live action and animated family feature. The entire cast and crew worked together to compost and recycle on location, preventing 34 tons of material (85% of location set waste) from ending up in a landfill.

Access Hollywood and Access Hollywood Live will air green segments on celebrity, lifestyle and beauty, as well as a special earth-themed weekend show featuring eco-conscious celebrities.

NBCUniversal’s Emmy-Award winning “The More You Know” public service campaign will launch new public service messages this week. Talent including Alec Baldwin, Brian Williams, Andy Cohen, Maria Bartiromo and Matt Bomer will play a significant role in encouraging viewers to adopt greener habits. Click here to watch.

NBCUniversal employees will also participate in a number of environmental community service activities, such as park beautification projects and tree plantings, in more than 15 cities including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, Philadelphia and London. Employees will also be encouraged to participate in weeklong electronics and clothing drives at many of these NBCUniversal locations.

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