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Geist Gushes Over Gore: Skips ‘Inconvenient’ Fact Check of Climate Claims

Posted on 17 July 2017

In a fawning two-part interview with former Vice President Al Gore on Monday’s NBC Today, fill-in co-host Willie Geist sympathized with the Democrat’s alarmist environmental crusade and promoted his new film, An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power. However, absent from the conversation was any mention of the numerous errors, inaccuracies, and false predictions made in Gore’s first documentary, An Inconvenient Truth.

When Geist first sat down with Gore for the live exclusive in the 7 a.m. half hour, the Sunday Today anchor and Morning Joe regular teed up the partisan politician to blast the Trump administration: “...you were open-minded the day after Donald Trump was elected president. In fact, you went to Trump Tower and met with him in December to talk about climate change. You had hope that maybe he could be helpful on that issue....How’s he doing?”

Gore predictably ranted: “Well, our country’s going through a challenging time for sure. We’ve never had a president who’s deliberately made decisions the effect of which is to tear down America’s standing in the world, starting with his withdraw from the Paris Agreement.”

Geist wondered: “When you sat in that room with him in December at Trump Tower, did you feel in any way like you may have persuaded him on the issue of climate change?” Gore lamented: “I hoped that he would come to his senses on the Paris Agreement, but I was wrong.”

Back during the 2016 campaign, correspondent Anne Thompson fretted to Gore about the “threat” that a President Trump would pose to the “progress” supposedly made by Barack Obama: “Do you see a Trump presidency undoing all the progress that the U.S. has made in the last ten years in the fight against climate change?”

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In part two of his softball exchange with Gore later on the Monday morning show, Geist sympathetically asked:

You know, as I was watching the film yesterday, I noticed two or three times you made a point of saying over the last decade you’ve been frustrated. At one point you said you viewed it almost as a personal failure that more hadn’t been done about climate change. What did you mean by that?

Gore bitterly lashed out: “Well, the large carbon polluters have used the playbook from the tobacco companies years ago by putting out false information, trying to pull the wool over people’s eyes.” Geist worried: “Why is this issue historically been so difficult to sink in with people? You had over the years it be – you know, it’s behind health care and terrorism and jobs and all the things people worry about.”

Gore pushed conspiracy theories: “...the continuing climate denial, such as it is, is intentionally created by the large carbon polluters trying to squeeze more profits out of their business plan no matter the consequences.”  

In reality, Gore was one who tried to “pull the wool over people’s eyes” with several inaccuracies and outlandish predictions in An Inconvenient Truth.

Rather thanpoint to any those specific falsities the first documentary, Geist only vaguely referred to complaints from anonymous “critics”:

You open the movie with the voices of your critics, I thought that was an interesting way to open the movie, and you just touched on it be a minute ago, there are people who watch An Inconvenient Truth and hear you say, “In the next decade we’ll reach the point of no return. We'll be at the tipping point, the environment will be lost to us.” Your critics now say here we are 10, 11 years after that and the environment is not lost, it is getting warmer, but we’re doing okay. What do you say to your critics?  

Gore dismissed such voices:

Well, regrettably some damage has been done. Major sections of Antarctica have now passed a point beyond which some huge additional sea level rise is inevitable. And we’re now seeing these incredible downpours. This city was inundated during SuperStorm Sandy, as the movie a decade ago predicted, and it happened years beforehand. But the other big change that I mentioned is giving us a lot of hope. We just need to push these changes through. They’ll create a better way of life for people across the U.S. and around the world.

The liberal climate activist was forced to actually rewrite his claim from the 2006 film which predicted that ordinary sea level rise alone would cause flooding in parts of Manhattan. He never said anything about an dramatic storm surge from a rare massive storm.

Amid all the climate discussion, Geist also took a moment to ask if Gore had “commiserated” with Hillary Clinton after her election loss:

I’m curious to know, Mr. Vice President, because you were one of only two living people on this planet who can appreciate what it’s like to win the popular vote but to lose the presidential election. Have you spoken to Secretary Clinton since the election, commiserated at all about that?

NBC wasn’t the only friendly forum for Gore, CBS Sunday Morning also offered a glowing profile of the “movie star” and even compared his upcoming big-screen screed to the superhero blockbuster Wonder Woman.

The biased segments were brought to viewers by Hyundai, IHOP, and McDonald’s.

Here are excerpts of the two-part July 17 Today show interview:

7:08 AM ET

WILLIE GEIST: Former Vice President Al Gore is with us now. He’s out with a new documentary and book, An Inconvenient Sequel, a follow-up to his Oscar-winning documentary, An Inconvenient Truth. We’ll talk about that a bit later. But first, his take on the headlines out of Washington this morning. Mr. Vice President, good to have you with us.

AL GORE: Good morning, Willie.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Fmr. VP Al Gore Speaks Out; Talks Trump, Health Care, Gridlock & Climate Change]

GEIST: I couldn’t help but notice as I was reading through your comments over the last several months that you were open-minded the day after Donald Trump was elected president. In fact, you went to Trump Tower and met with him in December to talk about climate change. You had hope that maybe he could be helpful on that issue. This week marks six months since the Trump administration was sworn into office. How’s he doing?

GORE: Well, our country’s going through a challenging time for sure. We’ve never had a president who’s deliberately made decisions the effect of which is to tear down America’s standing in the world, starting with his withdraw from the Paris Agreement. The climate crisis is, by far, the most serious challenge we face. But he’s also undermined our alliances, such as NATO, and hurt our standing in the world in many ways. So it's going to be – the months ahead will be a test for the American people. We’ve got to get through this.

GEIST: When you sat in that room with him in December at Trump Tower, did you feel in any way like you may have persuaded him on the issue of climate change?

GORE: Well, I’ve respected the privacy of the conversations I’ve had with the President. I will say that he was certainly attentive, they were pleasant exchanges, and I hoped that he would come to his senses on the Paris Agreement, but I was wrong.

GEIST: Have you spoken to him since the withdrawal on June 1st?

GORE: No, I have not.

(...)

8:33 AM ET

WILLIE GEIST: Former Vice President Al Gore’s documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, showing the growing impact of climate change, won a pair of Oscars, including one for Best Documentary Feature. His work on the issue also earned him a Noble Peace Prize. More than a decade later, Vice President Gore is at it again with An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power. Take a look.  

AL GORE [AN INCONVENIENT SEQUEL]: It is right to save the future for humanity! It is wrong to pollute this Earth and destroy the climate balance! It is right to give hope to the future generation! It will not be easy.

GEIST: Vice President Gore, welcome back. Good to see you again.

GORE: Thank you.

GEIST: It’s been ten years since An Inconvenient Truth.

GORE: Yeah.

GEIST: What has changed, both with the environment and the perception of the issue of climate change in that time?

GORE: Well, there have been two big changes, Willie. First of all, the climate-related extreme weather events have become more destructive and a lot more common. Here in the U.S., we’ve had 11 once-in-a-thousand-year downpours just in the last seven years. Secondly, we’ve got the solutions now, and there’s so much hopefulness in this movie. And people can be a part of solving the climate crisis by getting involved. You know, use your voice on this issue. Use your vote on this issue. Use your choices in life. The truth about the climate crisis is still inconvenient for the large carbon polluters, but we all need to be inconvenient for them and actually push the right kind of policies. And it creates more jobs in the process.

GEIST: You know, as I was watching the film yesterday, I noticed two or three times you made a point of saying over the last decade you’ve been frustrated. At one point you said you viewed it almost as a personal failure that more hadn’t been done about climate change. What did you mean by that?

GORE: Well, the large carbon polluters have used the playbook from the tobacco companies years ago by putting out false information, trying to pull the wool over people’s eyes. But people are seeing through it now because mother nature has joined the debate. It’s long been virtually unanimous in the scientific community, but now mother nature is pretty persuasive, not only with the downpours and floods and mudslides, but the droughts and the sea level rise. I went to Miami on a sunny day, no rain, and I saw fish from the ocean swimming in the streets in Miami Beach just because it was a high tide.

GEIST: Why is this issue historically been so difficult to sink in with people? You had over the years it be – you know, it’s behind health care and terrorism and jobs and all the things people worry about. Those numbers have gone up, 45% of people in a new Gallup Poll say they do believe climate change is a big issue. Why is it such a tough road to hoe, why do you think?

GORE: Well, in Tennessee there’s an old saying, if you see a turtle on top of a fence post, you can be pretty sure it didn't get there by itself. And the continuing climate denial, such as it is, is intentionally created by the large carbon polluters trying to squeeze more profits out of their business plan no matter the consequences. But there’s also the fact that it’s a global issue, it’s bigger than anything we’ve had to confront in the past. We’ve quadrupled population in less than a century and we still rely on carbon-based fuels for 80% of the world’s energy.

But the good news is solar electricity and wind electricity have come down so quickly in price. In many areas it’s much cheaper than electricity from burning fossil fuels. Now the batteries are coming down in price as well. And efficiency improvements. Solar jobs are now growing in the U.S. 17 times faster than other jobs. We are really seeing a surge in employment in the renewable sector and the things we need to do to solve the climate crisis are things that will boost our sustainable economy as well. But people need to learn about this, I hope they’ll go see this movie. There’s a new book coming out the same day next week, An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power.

GEIST: You open the movie with the voices of your critics, I thought that was an interesting way to open the movie, and you just touched on it be a minute ago, there are people who watch An Inconvenient Truth and hear you say, “In the next decade we’ll reach the point of no return. We'll be at the tipping point, the environment will be lost to us.” Your critics now say here we are 10, 11 years after that and the environment is not lost, it is getting warmer, but we’re doing okay. What do you say to your critics?  

GORE: Well, regrettably some damage has been done. Major sections of Antarctica have now passed a point beyond which some huge additional sea level rise is inevitable. And we’re now seeing these incredible downpours. This city was inundated during SuperStorm Sandy, as the movie a decade ago predicted, and it happened years beforehand. But the other big change that I mentioned is giving us a lot of hope. We just need to push these changes through. They’ll create a better way of life for people across the U.S. and around the world.

GEIST: Alright, Vice President Al Gore, thank you very much. The film is An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, it opens in select theaters on July the 28th, and nationwide on August 4th. Mr. Vice President, it’s been a pleasure.

GORE: Thank you, Willie.

GEIST: Thanks for being here.

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