ABC Global Warming Special Makes Up Future, But It’s Not ‘Sci-Fi’

The world is about to end, or at least that’s according to ABC’s “Good Morning America.” The June 2 segment promoted a new special called “Earth 2100.” The program follows Lucy, a girl born in 2009, and her dramatic story about how if we don’t take drastic measures immediately climate change will cause droughts, floods, mass migration, and starvation.

This may sound straight from a science-fiction movie, but “Good Morning America” went to great lengths to assure viewers this wasn’t science fiction and that by airing this series they were changing journalism. Bob Woodruff, host of the special, called making up what will happen in the future “a different kind of journalism.” The segment quoted him saying, “not a prediction of what will happen, but what might happen.”

The clips shown from the “Earth 2100” premiere painted a devastating picture that resembled the science-fiction movie “The Day After Tomorrow.” The cartoon of Lucy and her family showed an invasion of dragon flies, people migrating away from climate-ravaged areas for a better life, and, of course, New York City flooding. Clips from previous natural disasters were shown as well.

After the preview, “Good Morning America’s” Diane Sawyer responded and tried to pretend the whole program had some news value. “Amazing someone born into 2009. We’re not talking about sci-fi here and to come up with a human voice for it, a family voice, for it.” ABC left out the necessary crystal ball from the segment, so the audience was left to guess how they could predict 2100 so accurately.

Woodruff did attempt to establish some credibility for the project. “The idea that within this century a civilization can lie in ruins is unbelievable. But according to some of the world’s leading minds it’s a real possibility.” He never did mention exactly who these so-called “world’s leading minds” were or how ABC chose its experts.

Van Jones, White House adviser for Green Jobs, was one of only two sources in the segment – apparently a “leading mind.” ABC mostly used “fictional character” Lucy for it’s supposedly fact-based piece. Lucy’s family escaped to New York from Florida. Jones backed up the cartoon fictional series’ future predictions. “You’re going to see greenhouses, multi-story greenhouses and each floor will be growing, you know, carrots and potatoes, etcetera and that’ll just be considered normal.” Jones’ rosy picture of the greener future forgot to mention who exactly was going to mandate people growing potatoes from their greenhouses and how New York suddenly transformed to an eco-paradise complete with blimps in the sky in just a few decades.

Woodruff’s green predictions turn black by 2070 when sea levels rise and flood New York – “the streets were filling with water.” Stanley Feder, a former CIA analyst, described it as: “When New York begins to flood, it will be total chaos.”

What “Good Morning America” failed to show was the other side of the picture of their far-cast “Earth 2100.” By creating a series used to scare people about the future of the planet, it failed to show that this might not happen. The segment even closed with Woodruff discussing how if we do nothing this is how the Earth will end up like; we must act quickly.  

Yet, “Good Morning America” was clearly pleased with not only the series, but themselves. Woodruff stated, “This is also, I have to say, this a different kind of journalism. In the past we’ve always looked at those that have already happened in the past, and those happening in the present, but what about the future?”

This is a different kind of journalism, and a complete rewrite from ABC’s original plans for “Earth 2100.” Working with left-wing activists in June 2008, the network warned viewers that civilization was poised to go the way of the Roman Empire and the Mayan civilization. The Web site promo for “Earth 2100” discussed “100 years from now when New York is abandoned.” Now that part of the Web site is down and it simply promotes the new version of the special.

As “Good Morning America” co-anchor Chris Cuomo put it on June 12, 2008: “We’re asking you to create a story that has yet to unfold – what our world will look like in 100 years if we don’t save our troubled planet.” The network invited viewers to turn into prophets and “report back” about what life is like in the year 2100.
The call went out for user-generated content depicting what life would be like in the future. According to the story, ABC was seeking video submissions. “We are asking you to use your imagination to create short videos about what it would be like to live through the next century if we stay on our current path. Using predictions from top experts, we will brief participants on global conditions in the years 2015, 2050, 2070 and 2100 – and we want you to describe the dangers that are unfolding before your eyes. “

The Media Research Center submitted a video and will post its submission on June 3.

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