Friday, November 9, 2007

Greenzo Continues to Haunt the Halls of NBC

Is it green solution or green disease?

After browsing through the conservative Blogosphere, much outrage has been levied against NBC's sweeps gimmick of one week of "Green is Universal" or whatever their motto is. There are several reasons to their dissent, but here are a few interesting ones:

1. Some conservatives say that the global warming debate is not over, so it would be unfair to endorse such a global position without having an opposing point of view. It has something to do with whether the current increase in carbon dioxide levels are unhealthy for nature (which of course includes humanity) or just part of the natural cycle of climate change. In other words, there is still a segment of society that continues to demonize Al Gore.

2. Some religious conservatives do not subscribe to the sentiment of "environmental stewardship" but instead leave the fate of the Earth to God - which also means that draining the Earth's resources is a God-given right. I don't know about you, but if someone makes something with their own two hands as a gift to a friend, and that same friend totally disrespects the gift, it'll hurt the feelings of the giver. Of course, the recipient of the gift can technically do whatever they please with their property. Okay, fine. The giver might still be friends with such a disrespectful person - they have other things in common to keep the friendship alive - but what are the chances that the giver will be giving that person a similar gift in the future?

On the other hand, if the Earth was on loan to a steward, when the owner returns...heads will be rolling, probably.

3. Some religious conservatives say that environmentalism is akin to religion. For some environmentalists, that may be true, and Gaia will one day have her revenge. For others, it's just a way of life that augments their religious beliefs - whether Judeo-Christian or not. The same could be said about capitalism being a religion for some, communism, nationalism, and of course religion being a religion for some and just a facade for others.

4. Some conservatives say that environmentalism is akin to totalitarianism. Some conservatives say that green is the new red - red meaning communism and not red state Republican conservatism. Libertarians and anarchists aside, it seems to me that many people can be coaxed to agree with totalitarianism as long as they share the same ideology as those in power. Friends of the regime will perpetually agree about economics, politics, and religion in a Utopian society; dissenters will be "sent" to the "salt mines"; what's not to like? Well...

5. Some conservatives say that the Today Show anchors and correspondents aren't actually at the ends of the Earth, but in nice and toasty movie sets. This has something to do with not seeing Matt Lauer's breath in the cold. Also of note is Ann Curry seeing the Antarctic ice melt during a warm spring in the Southern Hemisphere, and identifying the melting as global warming. Hypocrisy this, and hypocrisy that. If socially conservative Republican Senator Larry Craig's allegedly attempted homosexual restroom escapade constitutes as tit, then Matt Lauer's breath would be tat - as in tit-for-tat, if you didn't catch my drift.

Anyhow, when it comes to NBC's gimmick, all the above (and other) reasons to protest are pretty much irrelevant.

Why? If you haven't noticed, television is propaganda. Sometimes, it'll lean left - but not exclusively - and sometimes it'll lean right.'s readers, according to our U.S. politics survey, hit the nail on the head when neither selecting "liberal" nor "conservative" when it comes to media bias. Watch the advertising, and you'll notice that the program will never contradict the values expressed by the commercials. It doesn't work the other way around. When the show contradicts the advertiser's core beliefs, the show will get pulled off the air. This happened to Bill Maher's Politically Incorrect the week after 9/11. The overall expected ideology of the show will depend on the time of day, the intended audience of the show, and the sponsors.

Take, for instance, Chevy Silverado's "This Is Our Country" commercial:

It expresses heartland values and intertwines it with a feeling of patriotism. In the past years the definition of patriotism been hijacked by the neoconservative* right - jingoism trumps dissent, etc. However, this commercial is a bona fide piece of corporate propaganda, uncaring about overall political ideology. It'll make most viewers feel good about themselves and America, but do you know what would make General Motors' Board of Directors feel good? You guessed it: Selling Silverados by the hundreds. While NBC's green gimmick is almost over, Chevrolet - which sponsors not only various NBC shows but other broadcast networks' shows - will probably continue to air various edits of this commercial for over a year.

Yesterday's 30 Rock episode satirized its own network's gimmick. Alec Baldwin's character correctly identified why NBC was going green - to ultimately sell products and advertising that will bring immense profits to NBC, Universal, and GE. So NBC used a leftist concept to try to get more viewers and thus make more money. Big deal. Chevy uses a right-wing ideal to sell trucks. Es lo mismo.

Remember, folks: Green (environmentalism and money) is neither Red nor Blue.


Tina Fey photo credit: Cicero17.

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