Deception & Misdirection

The “Today” show: J. Fred Muggs was the smart one

[Continuing our series on deception in politics and public policy.]

On January 8, 2007, Meredith Vieiera, then the co-host of NBC’s “Today,” summed up the Global Warming controversy this way:  “So I’m running in the park on Saturday, in shorts, thinking this [warm weather] is great, but are we all gonna die? You know? I can’t, I can’t figure this out.” ]

On “Today”—a show that once featured chimpanzee J. Fred Muggs as its mascot—not figuring things out is par for the course.

On environmental issues, Matt Lauer, Al Roker, Ann Curry, and others current and former members of the “‘Today’ family” (as they call themselves) are often listed among the worst offenders among biased, dimwitted TV personalities.

Their promotion of environmental extremism should come as no surprise. NBC, its openly extremist cable channel MSNBC, and other NBC networks strongly promoted the environmentalist views of Al Gore (donating 150 hours of airtime to the “LiveEarth” environmental project), and in recent years have backed the President’s “green” agenda while systematically attacking the President’s critics.

NBC was owned until recently by General Electric, and GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt has been a top advisor to President Obama, serving currently as head of the President’s Jobs Council.

Currently NBC, part of NBCUniversal (slogan: “Green is Universal”), is owned by the cable giant Comcast. Earlier this year, after Comcast announced its plan to buy another media conglomerate, Matthew Continetti, editor-in-chief of the Washington Free Beacon, described Comcast’s relationship with politics as one of cronyism and corruption:

Comcast announced in February that it would buy Time Warner Cable for $45 billion, creating the largest cable provider in America, with more than 33 million customers. That is about one third of the U.S. cable- and satellite-television market. FCC approval is required for the merger to go into effect. . . . [T]here is little chance the merger will be stopped. Comcast, Time Warner, and their political fixers have spent years preparing for this moment — by buying off the Democratic party.

Comcast, which employs more than 100 lobbyists, spent almost $19 million last year on lobbying activities. Its president and CEO, Brian L. Roberts, is a golf buddy of President Obama’s, and a Democratic donor who has contributed thousands of dollars not only to the president’s campaigns, but also to the Democratic party of Pennsylvania, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the DNC Services Corporation, and to [House Democratic Whip] Steny Hoyer and Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Bob Casey. Roberts’s executive vice president, David Cohen, is a former aide to Democratic bigwig Ed Rendell. Cohen skirts lobbying regulations through loopholes, has raised more than $2 million for Obama since 2007, and in 2011 hosted a DNC fundraiser at which the president called him “friend.” Cohen has visited the White House 14 times since 2010, including two visits to the Oval Office. He attended the recent dinner for President Hollande of France. . . .

Of the $33 million Comcast has spent on political campaigns since 1989, more than half, or some $18 million, has gone to Democrats. Barack Obama is No. 1 on the list of the top ten recipients of Comcast’s largesse. . . .

Comcast has one channel, MSNBC [sister to NBC News], which is almost entirely devoted to furthering the president’s agenda and the broader priorities of the American Progressive movement.

NBC News is so close to the Clinton operation that it recently paid Chelsea Clinton approximately $27,000 a minute for her airtime as a “news” personality.

Here’s a look at some of the

►Ann Curry, the network’s national and international correspondent and anchor-at-large, was on “Today” from 1997 to 2012. In a recent, hour-long special report, she claimed: “Our planet is changing. Vanishing waters in the West, rising waters on the coast. Could all this, the sunny paradise of Miami Beach, one day be overcome by the ocean? Is it already beginning to happen?”

Said Curry: “There is virtually no debate among climate scientists now. Most agree that climate change is here and that we are the biggest reason. We may also have to be the solution. You’ll see powerful new evidence from people who say climate change is already changing lives, right where we all live. You’ll also learn what we can do to protect our planet.”

The scientists interviewed for the program included no skeptics of Global Warming theory. (The only partial exception: Roger Pielke, Jr., a political scientist who believes in “man-made climate change” and would like to see additional taxes on traditional carbon-based fuels, disagreed with attributing specific weather events to man-made change.) Curry painted a picture of catastrophic man-made warming that already caused drought, wildfires, snowstorms, superstorms, ice melt and sea rise,, citing the “groundbreaking” report of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

►Al Roker has been the weather anchor of “Today” since 1996.  On the April 3, 2013 edition of the program, the on-air personalities discussed a poll on “20 widespread conspiracy theories.” “Global warming is a hoax, 37% believe that,” said fill-in host Willie Geist. “Wow!” said weatherman Al Roker. After “Today” laughed at people’s belief in Bigfoot, the faking of the moon landing, and the conspiracy to kill JFK, Roker reiterated, “37% said, 37% of these people don’t believe in global warming! They think it’s a hoax!” Newsreader Natalie Morales: “All these weather events!” Roker: “Okay, two words: Superstorm Sandy!” Morales: “Sandy? Right. There you go.”

(Sandy is called a “Superstorm” rather than a hurricane because , when it did most of its damage, it wasn’t strong enough to be classified as a hurricane. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA),  Hurricane Sandy was no longer a hurricane when it made landfall on October 29, 2012 near Brigantine, N.J., just north of Atlantic City. Sandy’s severe damage resulted from bad luck and bad politics; it hit at high tide under a full moon, in an area where politicians had refused to make proper preparations and  where the availability of subsidized insurance had encouraged people to build in flood-prone sections.)

On May 7, 2014, Roker again weighed in support of Global Warming claims about so-called extreme weather, even though, in fact, there has been no increase in hurricanes, tornadoes, droughts, wildfires, and other extreme weather. During an interview with President Obama, Roker pontificated: “More dangerous floods. More frequent and powerful storms. Wildfires burning more often with less water on hand to put them out. And on the heels of America’s warmest decade, more heat waves and periods of severe drought. All these symptoms set to grow more severe, according to the latest National Climate Assessment put out by the White House Tuesday. [To President Obama:] Why has it taken so long to get to this point where you’re sounding this urgency?”

►Not even movie reviews are exempt from Global Warming propaganda. The late film critic for “Today,” Gene Shalit, in his March 29, 2006 review of Ice Age: The Meltdown, made his position clear. “Think Global Warming isn’t real? Ask Manny the Mammoth, Diego the Tiger or Sid the Sloth. . . . The herd’s 88 happy minutes will melt away your out-of-theater cares while attesting that Global Warming is no snow job.” If you can’t trust a cartoon sloth, who can you trust?

►And then there’s Matt Lauer. The longtime “Today” co-host has falsely characterized moderate/conservative positions on Global Warming as “Far Right” (a term that likens their view to those of Nazis); he has put forth absurdities about mass extinction and about mankind’s ruination of the earth; he has promoted “green energy” scams that happen to enrich the owners of NBC; and he has promoted the views of the likes of Al Gore and Michael Bloomberg.

Here are some samples from just the period 2006-2007 (from the “Today” show unless otherwise noted).

Lauer: “When you look at some of the things the Tea Party and others on the Far Right are asking for — no funding for Planned Parenthood, no funding for climate control, public broadcasting — does it seem to you, Senator, that this is less about a fiscal debate or an economic policy debate and they are making an ideological stand here?” Senator Charles Schumer (D-New York): “That’s exactly right, Matt. You’ve hit the nail on the head.” —April 6, 2011. [emphasis added]

Lauer: “Today, life on Earth is disappearing faster than the days when dinosaurs breathed their last, but for a very different reason. . . . Us Homo sapiens are [sic] turning out to be as destructive a force as any asteroid. Earth’s intricate web of ecosystems thrived for millions of years as natural paradises, until we came along, paved paradise, and put up a parking lot. Our assault on nature is killing off the very things we depend on for our own lives. . . . The stark reality is that there are simply too many of us, and we consume way too much, especially here at home. . . . It will take a massive global effort to make things right, but the solutions are not a secret: control population, recycle, reduce consumption, develop green technologies.” —Countdown to Doomsday, a two-hour Sci-Fi Channel special, June 14, 2006.

Lauer (regarding Global Warming): “[I]f you were fortunate enough to win the presidency, you’d sit in the most powerful office in the free world with a real chance to make — you could be in a position to save the planet, without putting too much emphasis on it. Wouldn’t that be enough of a reason to run for President for you?”
Former Vice President Al Gore: “Well, I appreciate the impulse behind the question. I am not planning to run….”
Lauer: “But as someone who feels as passionately about the subject as you do, and your documentary is evidence of that, why pass up the opportunity to have that world stage again?”
—December 6, 2006.

Lauer: “A controversy in Washington over what literally could be the end of the world as we know it. Did the Bush administration freeze out scientists trying to sound the alarm on Global Warming?” –January 31, 2007.

It might be easier to take the views of Lauer and Company seriously if they knew anything about science. But no.


In a December 21, 2010 report on the lunar eclipse shortly after midnight, the first eclipse to coincide with the winter solstice since 1638, Lauer interviewed astrophysicist and science popularizer Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson.

sja GW1408 Mat Lauer with Dr Tyson on what causes seasons 140704Lauer: So we have the winter solstice…

Tyson: Yes.

Lauer: …so the sun is as close to the earth as it ever is.

Tyson: No no no NOOOO.

Lauer (shocked): No??

Tyson:  In fact, it’s the opposite of that.

Lauer: It’s as far away from the earth?

Tyson: It just turns out, that tells you that our distance to the sun has nothing to do with our weather.

Lauer: So how far was the sun from the earth last night?

Tyson: The sun – ah, no, no – Distance has nothing to do with the solstice.

Lauer (stunned): Really??

Tyson: Yeah, no, no. So it turns out that we will be closest to the sun on January 4th, or 3rd, somewhere around there. And we will be 91 million miles, close to the sun, three million miles closer than we are in July. So that’s a whole other, that’s a different show.

Lauer, who has berated skeptics for their views on Global Warming, was stunned to learn that the earth is closest to the sun in the dead of Northern Hemisphere winter – something that any 3rd grader should know.

Perhaps the most astonishing aspect of Lauer’s ignorance about the cause of the earth’s seasons, and about his apparent belief that the seasons are caused by the earth’s proximity to the sun, is that he is a world traveler of some renown, visiting some 50 countries as part of the “Where in the World is Matt Lauer?” series. In 2011, Lauer listed two Southern Hemisphere locations among his Top 4 favorite places in the world. Of course, the fact that the seasons in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres run counter to each other is a pretty strong indicator that the seasons are not caused by earth’s closeness to the sun.

Ira Flatow, host of “Science Friday” on the government’s National Public Radio, commented: Matt Lauer got stumped by one of the simplest questions: why do we have seasons?” As Flatow noted, if the seasons are caused by the distance between the earth and sun, “why is it winter in Australia when it’s summer up north?”


sja GW1408 Mat Lauer stunned about what causes seasons 140704

Matt Lauer—stunned to learn something that every 3rd grader should know.

Dr. Steven J. Allen

A journalist with 45 years’ experience, Dr. Allen served as press secretary to U.S. Senator Jeremiah Denton and as senior researcher for Newt Gingrich’s presidential campaign. He earned a master’s…
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