In order to promote a new climate change special airing this fall, Thursday's "Good Morning America" hyped terrifying future predictions of "more floods, more droughts, more wildfires" and, bizarrely, invited viewers to somehow morph into prophets and "report back" about what life is like in the year 2100. Featuring a slate of global warming alarmists, reporter Bob Woodruff previewed "Earth 2100" and touted the show as "a countdown through the next century" that "shows what scientists say might very well happen if we do not change our current path." An online version of this story hyperventilated, "Are we living in the last century of our civilization?" [Audio available here]
However, the oddest concept of this upcoming special includes a interactive online game that Woodruff claimed "puts participants in the future and asks them to report back about what it is like to live in this future world." Certainly Dan Rather and the ethical machinations of other journalists have lowered the bar of journalism in recent years, but how does one "report" on life in the year 2100? Is ABC providing a time machine? Doesn't "report," in this instance, just mean "making stuff up?"
At one point, Woodruff played a few examples of these "reports." In one, a teenager laments, "It's June 8th, 2015. One carton of milk is $12.99."Another video features a second teenager who admits he's "scared [profanity bleeped] right now."
The scientist/talking heads featured in the piece weren't much more calm then the civilians. Featuring a cavalcade of alarmists that included James Hansen, Al Gore's science advisor and Heidi Cullen, the climate change expert for the Weather Channel, to name a few, the GMA segment preceded to terrify viewers with a apocalyptic future of death and destruction. (It should also be pointed out that ABC failed to identify any of these people and their names/associations were only discerned after matching up quotes from an article on GMA's website.)
Professor John Holdren of Harvard University darkly announced that the future would bring "more floods, more droughts, more wildfires." The segment featured movie-style footage of flames, rioting and general destruction. Added to this were unidentified "reporters" who scarily proclaimed such things as "Flames cover hundreds of square miles." Of course, these predictions were provided with no context and generally just seemed designed to induce panic.
At the end of this montage, even GMA news anchor Chris Cuomo seemed frightened. He asked Woodruff: "I think we're familiar with some of these issues, but, boy, 2015? That's seven years from now. Could it really be that bad?" (The special will look not just at the year 2100, but also the years and decades leading up to it.) Woodruff cited unnamed scientists who believe "if you connect the dots, you can actually see that we're approaching maybe even a perfect storm." Admitting the goal of this special, the journalist opined, "So, the idea now is to look at it, wake up about it and then try to do something to fix it."
The segment wrapped up with a discussion of the hypothetical future visions that the "Earth 2100" special will include. Before playing the aforementioned speculative examples, Woodruff called them "some remarkable interviews." He later referred to the guesses as "ideas." But, again, isn't this just making stuff up? Will the special include viewers who believe that, 100 years hence, the world will be run by super intelligent apes who lord over mute humans? (Perhaps that scenario is too familiar.)
If viewers are to use their imaginations and create scenarios, how about one where journalists don't use fear mongering to try and cripple the economy with leftist environmental policies?
NewsBusters readers can go here to submit their own frightening/hilarious scenarios.
A transcript of the June 12 segment, which aired at 8:34am, follows:
CHRIS CUOMO: Now, we will have a dramatic preview for you of an unprecedented ABC News event called "Earth 2100." We're asking you to help create a story that is yet to unfold: What our world will look like in 100 years if we don't save our troubled planet. Your reports will actually help form the backbone of a two-hour special airing this fall. ABC's Bob Woodruff will be the host. He joins us now. Pleasure, Bob.
BOB WOODRUFF: You too, Chris. You know, this show is a countdown through the next century and shows what scientists say might very well happen if we do not change our current path. As part of the show, today, we are launching an interactive web game which puts participants in the future and asks them to report back about what it is like to live in this future world. The first stop is the year 2015.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE #1: The public is sleepwalking into the future. You know, sort of going through the motions of daily life and really not paying attention.
JAMES HANSEN (NASA/AL GORE SCIENCE ADVISOR): We can see what the prospects are and we can see that we could solve the problem but we're not doing it.
PETER GLEICK (SCIENTIST/PACIFIC INSTITUTE): In 2015, we've still failed to address the climate problem.
JOHN HOLDREN (PROFESSOR/HARVARD UNIVERSITY): We're going to see more floods, more droughts, more wildfires.
UNIDENTIFIED "REPORTER:" Flames cover hundreds of square miles.
UNIDENTIFIED VOICE: We expect more intense hurricanes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE #5: Well, how warm is it going to get? How much will sea level rise? We don't know really know where the end is.
UNIDENTIFIED VOICE #2: Temperatures have hit dangerous levels.
UNIDENTIFIED VOICE #3: Agriculture production is dropping because temperatures are rising.
HEIDI CULLEN (WEATHER CHANNEL/CLIMATE CHANGE EXPERT): There's about one billion people who are malnourished. That number just continually grows.
UNIDENTIFIED VOICE #4: Prices of energy have gone through the roof.
UNIDENTIFIED VOICE #5: Political conflict has grown.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE #5: We've got more people, less and less resources. That's a recipe for disaster.
JAMES WOOLSEY (FORMER CIA DIRECTOR): We have got millions of neighbors to the south heading north because they don't have food and they don't have water.
UNIDENTIFIED "REPORTER:" Over a million illegals were apprehended at the border.
CULLEN: You got people moving into politically unstable territory and what would have been once an isolated event now becomes a global problem.
UNIDENTIFIED VOICE #6: If we continue on the business-as-usual trajectory, there will be a tipping point that we cannot overt. We will indeed drive the car over the cliff.
CUOMO: I think we're familiar with some of these issues, but, boy, 2015? That's seven years from now. Could it really be that bad?
WOODRUFF: It's very soon, you know. But all you have to do is look at the world today right today. You know, you've got gas prices going up. You got food prices going up. You've got extreme weather. The scientists have studied this for decades. They say if you connect the dots, you can actually see that we're approaching maybe even a perfect storm. Or you have got shrinking resources, population growth. Climate change. So, the idea now is to look at it, wake up about it and then try to do something to fix it.
CUOMO: And I love the way you're looking at it. Yes, you have your scientists and you have your reporters' mind and others, but you're getting people involved in a kind of a game. How does that work?
WOODRUFF: The game, if you check into Earth2100.tv. --That's our website that we've got. And what we're looking for is we want people not only just around the country, but also around the world, regular people to give us their ideas of what you can see around the world. The scientists have studied this for so long. This will also be, the scientist analysis will also be on Earth 2100.tv.
CUOMO: What do you do with their reports?
WOODRUFF: Well, the reports, we want people to come in from, you know, around the world. All of these ones that send these ideas will be posted on Earth2100.tv. We also have scientists, of course. But the best of these regular reports that come from people that are watching, we're going to put those on, all of this on our two-hour production that's going to happen in the fall. And we just want more of these people to watch. And we've gotten already some remarkable interviews from these people. And just take a quick look.
UNIDENTIFIED TEENAGER: It's June 8th, 2015. One carton of milk is $12.99.
SECOND UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gas reached over $9 a gallon.
THIRD UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm scared [bleeped] right now, but I have to get this out.
WOODRUFF: So the producers actually work with those people that send in their ideas into the website. And then we're just hoping that the goal is ultimately get these ideas very soon.
CUOMO: Lovely. Bob Woodruff. Thank you very much. You can find out much more about how you can be part of this exciting and important show. You can go to Earth2100.tv. Earth2100.tv or you can go to ABCNews.com.
For more on "Earth 2100," check out a related story at the Business & Media Institute Web site.