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Curry Treats Dems as Victims, NBC Obsesses Over 'Swift-Boating' --4/23/2008


1. Curry Treats Dems as Victims, NBC Obsesses Over 'Swift-Boating'
On Tuesday's Today, NBC's Ann Curry treated both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton as victims of unfairness -- worrying Obama will be "swift-boated" by Republicans and asking Clinton if she agreed "the playing field has been not level because you are a woman?" This was at least the third time an NBC News host or anchor has fretted to Obama about him being "swift-boated" by odious Republican tactics, questions which presumed the criticisms of John Kerry in 2004 were mendacious. Curry's loaded question to Obama, and his answer with "Can Obama Handle Republican Attacks?" as the on-screen heading: "In the last presidential election John Kerry, a decorated military veteran, was 'swift-boated' as being unpatriotic. Why do you dismiss the kinds of questions that are going to be the bread and butter of the Republican campaign, if you become the nominee?"

2. CNN Highlights Racist/Sexist Theory About White Male Voters
CNN's Carol Costello focused on Nora Ephron's Huffington Post rant against white male voters in Pennsylvania during a report on Tuesday's The Situation Room. "Ephron uses provocative language to make a point. She says, 'let's not kid ourselves. Try as we might, white men will still decide who gets to be President.'" And if Hillary wins in Pennsylvania, it means, Ephron contended: "She can attract more racist white male voters than Obama can." While Costello used results from previous primaries to cast doubt on Ephron's theory, she and CNN chose to highlight Ephron's words and found voters who agree with her.

3. ABC's GMA: High Gas Prices Mean No More God, Drugs or Breakfast
Tuesday's Good Morning America went into hyperbole meltdown over high gas prices. According to various anchors and reporters, Americans are foregoing church, prescription drugs and breakfast in order to cope. In a tease at the show's open, co-host Diane Sawyer fretted: "As gas prices balloon, 12 cents in just one week, some Americans tell you how they skip breakfast and drugs just to drive." News anchor Chris Cuomo solemnly informed viewers of the "tough choice" many Americans face: "Food or fuel?"

4. Tom Brokaw's Nostalgia for '70s Liberalism in Earth Day Lecture
On Tuesday's Today, NBC brought out old anchorman Tom Brokaw to fondly remember the first Earth Day in 1970, when ultra-liberals first declared the need for dramatic government intervention into the planet-despoiling capitalist system. He hailed how green protests saved rivers, eagles, and America itself from ruin: "The air turned brown, rivers died. Eagles almost disappeared. America the beautiful was America the endangered." Then the first Earth Day was a "massive success." He talked like a bumper sticker: "Mother Earth -- love your mother. She's the only one we have." He sounded a lot like the environmental lobbyist that the Clinton administration unsuccessfully invited to run the National Park Service back in 1993.

5. Actor on NBC: We Must 'Catch Up' w/ China on Banning Plastic Bags
As part of its celebration of Earth Day, NBC's Today show on Tuesday invited aboard actor/environmentalist Ed Norton to promote his National Geographic special on PBS. The Fight Club star actually decried America's environmental progress compared to China as he charged the U.S. had to "catch up" to them in the area of banning plastic bags: "Yeah and when, and when China is ahead of us in banning these things [plastic bags], when other countries around the world are banning these things that we, we need to get in line with that and catch up."


Curry Treats Dems as Victims, NBC Obsesses
Over 'Swift-Boating'

On Tuesday's Today, NBC's Ann Curry treated both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton as victims of unfairness -- worrying Obama will be "swift-boated" by Republicans and asking Clinton if she agreed "the playing field has been not level because you are a woman?" This was at least the third time an NBC News host or anchor has fretted to Obama about him being "swift-boated" by odious Republican tactics, questions which presumed the criticisms of John Kerry in 2004 were mendacious.

Curry's loaded question to Obama, and his answer with "Can Obama Handle Republican Attacks?" as the on-screen heading, in the taped interview -- interspersed with clips from her session with Clinton -- as aired in the first half hour of the Tuesday, April 22 Today show on NBC (as transcribed by the MRC's Geoff Dickens):

CURRY: In the last presidential election John Kerry, a decorated military veteran, was "swift-boated" as being unpatriotic. Why do you dismiss the kinds of questions that are going to be the bread and butter of the Republican campaign, if you become the nominee?
OBAMA: Just the fact that the Republicans bring them up doesn't mean they're actually helping the kitchen table issues that the American people are, are dealing with. You know this, this is an example of, sort of politics as being all about tactics and process and attack and counterattack, as opposed to solving problems. And look I guess I'm making a bet that the American people are sick and tired of that kind of politics. That they want something different.

[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Tuesday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

The two previous incidents:

# The February 20 CyberAlert, "NBC's Matt Lauer Raises Notion of GOP 'Swift Boating' Obama," recounted:

Even though the general election campaign has yet to begin, some in the media seem pretty anxious to start condemning Republicans for dirty tricks. In an interview with Barack Obama shown Tuesday morning [February 19] on Today, Matt Lauer asked the Democratic frontrunner: "Have you stopped to think what the Obama version of Swift Boating might be in this campaign cycle if you get to the general election? What they did to John Kerry, what's that version going to be with Barack Obama?"

For a full rundown of the entire interview: www.mediaresearch.org

# The October 31 CyberAlert item, "NBC's Williams Suggests Obama Likely to Be 'Swift-Boating' Victim," reported:

During Tuesday night's [October 30] Democratic presidential debate on MSNBC, NBC anchor Brian Williams posed a question to Barack Obama which managed to simultaneously impugn Republicans as executors of disreputable campaign practices and portray Obama as a likely victim of it -- all based on Mitt Romney flubbing Obama's name and memories of the Bush campaign's attacks on John McCain in 2000.

Explaining that his question would be "about religion and misinformation," Williams, who co-moderated the debate with Tim Russert, raised how Romney "misspoke twice on the same day, confusing your name with that of Osama bin Laden," as if, apparently, that was some sort of effort to suggest Obama is Muslim. Williams proceeded to highlight how "your party is fond of talking about potential swift boating," before he got to his charged political point in the form of a question: "Are you fearful of what happened to John McCain, for example in South Carolina a few years back, confusion on the basis of things like names and religion?"

For the rest of the previous CyberAlert item: www.mediaresearch.org

CNN Highlights Racist/Sexist Theory About
White Male Voters

CNN's Carol Costello focused on Nora Ephron's Huffington Post rant against white male voters in Pennsylvania during a report on Tuesday's The Situation Room. "Ephron uses provocative language to make a point. She says, 'let's not kid ourselves. Try as we might, white men will still decide who gets to be President.'" And if Hillary wins in Pennsylvania, it means, Ephron contended: "She can attract more racist white male voters than Obama can." While Costello used results from previous primaries to cast doubt on Ephron's theory, she and CNN chose to highlight Ephron's words and found voters who agree with her.

[This item, by Matthew Balan, was posted Tuesday evening on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Tim Graham's item on NewsBusters.org about Nora Ephron's Huffington Post piece: newsbusters.org

Host Wolf Blitzer introduced the report, which aired at the bottom of the 5 pm Eastern hour, and described Ephron's "controversial opinions," as he put it, as "pretty intriguing stuff." After playing a clip from a Democratic debate that included the then-candidate John Edwards, Costello described Ephron as "[t]he woman famous for making movies like Sleepless in Seattle" and excerpted some of the Huffington Post article: "Pennsylvania's primary is 'an election about whether the people of Pennsylvania hate blacks more than they hate women. And when I say people, I mean white men.' In other words, if Hillary Clinton can win the white male vote in Pennsylvania, where white male politicians overwhelmingly hold office, she will win the primary, because, as Ephron puts it, 'she can attract more racist white male voters than Obama can.'"

Costello then played two soundbites of Pennsylvania white males who apparently agreed with Ephron:

COSTELLO: A number of voters we spoke with today buy Ephron's argument.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: No question, absolutely. It will be the white men that determine who is going to be the president.
BEN WINTERS, VOTER: It's sort of a paradoxical result, considering this is the first time we have an opportunity to elect a woman or a African-American, that white men should sort of hold the power. That feels icky to say. But I guess it's true, technically. They will cast the deciding vote.

Both of the men interviewed agreed that the white male vote is going to be crucial, but it isn't clear from the sound bites if they agreed with the racist/sexist component of Ephron's theory.

Costello then highlighted the fact that "[i]f you look at how this year's primaries have been won, he who takes the white male vote rules. Clinton won Ohio, taking 58% of the white male vote. Obama won Wisconsin, taking 63% of the white male vote." But, as Costello pointed out, this detail "may not matter two hoots in a general election."

The report concluded with possible scenarios for Democratic victory in the fall election.

ROGER SIMON, POLITICO: No Democratic candidate for president since Lyndon Johnson has won the white vote. Jimmy Carter; Bill Clinton, twice; have always lost the white vote. The trick for a Democratic candidate is to get enough of the white vote and an overwhelming black vote.
COSTELLO: Or you could look at it this way -- the winning candidate will have to get enough of the white vote and an overwhelming female vote and that makes both Democratic candidates a possible winner in the general election. Nothing is easy to figure out in this election, Wolf.
BLITZER: You're right, Carol. Thank you.

Interestingly enough, Democratic strategist and CNN regular Paul Begala slammed Ephron's theory only a few minutes later on The Situation Room during a panel discussion:

BLITZER: Paul, what do you make of these exit poll numbers that we've just received? 92% of African-American voters going for Obama in Pennsylvania.
PAUL BEGALA: Right. And I think this is what -- I'm a huge Nora Ephron fan, I've never met her, but I love her movies, she's a great writer, but she's a pretty crummy political analyst, okay? 92% -- if Bill's exit polls are right, and who knows? But if that's true, they're voting for Barack Obama. They're not voting against Hillary Clinton. It's not to say that African-Americans are racist against white people. They have a terrific, remarkable candidate that they can be for. So it is with Hillary Clinton, particularly in the Democratic primary, right?. If this was -- if they were torn between their sexism and their racism, they'd stay home, because that's the only choice they got is the African-American or the woman. There's just nothing in the data that suggests, at least in the Democratic party, that this is hurting them. You know, more and more people are registering, more participating, which is good.

The full transcript of Carol Costello's segment from Tuesday's The Situation Room:

WOLF BLITZER: A female author has some controversial opinions on tonight's Pennsylvania primary -- Nora Ephron thinks the race will turn on white men, and whether they are racist or sexist. CNN's Carol Costello talked to her today. She's watching this story for us -- pretty intriguing stuff, Carol. What did she say?
CAROL COSTELLO: Well, to put it mildly, Wolf, Ephron uses provocative language to make a point. She says, 'let's not kid ourselves. Try as we might, white men will still decide who gets to be president.'
For some, Pennsylvania's primary will make one thing crystal clear, despite denials from Democrats, present and past-
JOHN EDWARDS, FORMER DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And the only thing I would say, and I think it has nothing to do with race and gender. Let me be real clear about that. It's amazing now being the white male-
BARACK OBAMA: Feeling all defensive about it. John, it's all right, man. (LAUGHS)
EDWARDS: -is that this is different.
COSTELLO: But Edwards was wrong according to Nora Ephron. The woman famous for making movies like 'Sleepless in Seattle' writes in 'The Huffington Post' -- Pennsylvania's primary is an election about 'whether the people of Pennsylvania hate blacks more than they hate women. And when I say people, I mean white men.' In other words, if Hillary Clinton can win the white male vote in Pennsylvania, where white male politicians overwhelmingly hold office, she will win the primary, because, as Ephron puts it, 'she can attract more racist white male voters than Obama can.' And she thinks that may persuade those undecided superdelegates that only Clinton can win in the general election against a white man, John McCain. A number of voters we spoke with today buy Ephron's argument.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: No question, absolutely. It will be the white men that determine who is going to be the president.
BEN WINTERS, VOTER: It's sort of a paradoxical result, considering this is the first time we have an opportunity to elect a woman or a African-American, that white men should sort of hold the power. That feels icky to say. But I guess it's true, technically. They will cast the deciding vote.
COSTELLO: But is it true? If you look at how this year's primaries have been won, he who takes the white male vote rules. Clinton won Ohio, taking 58% of the white male vote. Obama won Wisconsin, taking 63% of the white male vote. But guess what? It may not matter two hoots in a general election.
ROGER SIMON, POLITICO: No Democratic candidate for president since Lyndon Johnson has won the white vote. Jimmy Carter; Bill Clinton, twice; have always lost the white vote. The trick for a Democratic candidate is to get enough of the white vote and an overwhelming black vote.
COSTELLO: Or you could look at it this way -- the winning candidate will have to get enough of the white vote and an overwhelming female vote and that makes both Democratic candidates a possible winner in the general election. Nothing is easy to figure out in this election, Wolf.
BLITZER: You're right, Carol. Thank you.

ABC's GMA: High Gas Prices Mean No More
God, Drugs or Breakfast

Tuesday's Good Morning America went into hyperbole meltdown over high gas prices. According to various anchors and reporters, Americans are foregoing church, prescription drugs and breakfast in order to cope. In a tease at the show's open, co-host Diane Sawyer fretted: "As gas prices balloon, 12 cents in just one week, some Americans tell you how they skip breakfast and drugs just to drive." News anchor Chris Cuomo solemnly informed viewers of the "tough choice" many Americans face: "Food or fuel?"

Cuomo then introduced reporter Bianna Golodryga to explain "the sacrifices people are now making." Included in those sacrifices was one Juan Martinez who told Golodryga "Our church is approximately 35, 40 miles away. We've really cut down on the amount of times that we've come into service since the price has gone up." Now, as Golodryga admitted, this clip was actually from November of 2007, during a previous GMA segment about gas prices causing people to skip church and possibly cancel Christmas. So, ABC has resorted to recycling gas horror stories? Could that mean, perhaps, there's not enough of them to go around? See a November 13, 2007 CyberAlert posting for more on Golodryga's last over-the-top gas report: www.mrc.org

[This item, by the MRC's Scott Whitlock, was posted Tuesday morning on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Not content with showing viewers how high gas prices are negatively effecting Mr. Martinez's "relationship with God," Golodryga also intoned, "Some people even say that they are changing their diets, cutting down on costly prescription drugs or walking instead of driving to the local grocery store." The ABC correspondent then proceeded to read two e-mails from viewers who claimed that they were having smaller breakfast meals or skipping after-school activities for their children. (However, there was no mention of the people who weren't taking their medications.)

Now, certainly, gas prices are high and this would obviously be difficult for those with lower incomes. But if "Good Morning America" is going to hyperventilate about Americans cutting down on God, drugs and breakfast, perhaps they should have more evidence then just two anecdotal examples.

GMA's story is reminiscent of a famous 2001 item in Newsweek's "Conventional Wisdom" section about the Bush tax cuts, as recounted in an August, 28, 2001 CyberAlert posting:
# Bush (Down arrow): "Adios, surplus. When retired boomers dine on dog food, will they say thanks for that $600?"

See: www.mediaresearch.org

A transcript of the April 22, 2008 segment, which aired at 7:14am:

7am tease
DIANE SAWYER: As gas prices balloon, 12 cents in just one week, some Americans tell you how they skip breakfast and drugs just to drive.

7:14am
CHRIS CUOMO: We begin with the tough choice many families are now facing. Food or fuel? That's the reality as prices continue their steady climb. Oil hit another record just this morning. So, our Bianna Golodryga is in New Jersey to show us the sacrifices people are now making. Good morning, Bianna.
BIANNA GOLODRYGA: Good morning, Chris. As we speak, the price of gas at this New Jersey station is going up five cents. You can see the gas station owner Joe changing the price right now. Take a look at this, $75 is what the last customer paid here and you can imagine the sacrifices Americans are having to make to be able to afford gas at that price.
JUAN MARTINEZ: Our church is approximately 35, 40 miles away. We've really cut down on the amount of times that we've come into service since the price has gone up.
GOLODRYGA: That was Juan Martinez last November, discussing the effect high gas prices were having on his family's relationship with God. Since then, the average price for a gallon of gas has skyrocketed 12 percent nationwide, from $3.08 a gallon to $3.51. From San Francisco, where at least 15 gas stations have shattered the $4 per gallon mark, to Kansas City where Americans are feeling the pinch of record-high gas prices. V Smith e-mailed her story to our Kansas City affiliate KNBC. "I have had to cut back on after-school activities for my daughters because I cannot afford to take them or pay for the activities anymore." Some people even say that they are changing their diets, cutting down on costly prescription drugs or walking instead of driving to the local grocery store. All in hopes of saving money on gasoline. It's a burden for millions of families, but especially for the little ones, as Barbara Hatfield writes, "It's not fair to have to tell your children that we have to eat a smaller meal this evening or skip breakfast because we had to buy gas." One way Juan Martinez in Phoenix was able to avoid paying the high prices was actually shopping at wholesale clubs like Sam's, Costco and BJs. He actually saved a lot of money, going from $3.30 a gallon to $3.18 a gallon. This is something, Chris, that a lot of people are actually going out and driving out to the outer parts of town to be able to get cheaper gas and going to some of these wholesale shops.
CUOMO: I'm sure. I'm sure.

Tom Brokaw's Nostalgia for '70s Liberalism
in Earth Day Lecture

On Tuesday's Today, NBC brought out old anchorman Tom Brokaw to fondly remember the first Earth Day in 1970, when ultra-liberals first declared the need for dramatic government intervention into the planet-despoiling capitalist system. He hailed how green protests saved rivers, eagles, and America itself from ruin: "The air turned brown, rivers died. Eagles almost disappeared. America the beautiful was America the endangered." Then the first Earth Day was a "massive success." He talked like a bumper sticker: "Mother Earth -- love your mother. She's the only one we have." He sounded a lot like the environmental lobbyist that the Clinton administration unsuccessfully invited to run the National Park Service back in 1993.

[This item, by the MRC's Tim Graham, was posted Tuesday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

At 8:51am Eastern time, the lecture began (as transcribed by MRC's Geoff Dickens):

MEREDITH VIEIRA: We are celebrating "Green Week," here on Today. And on this Earth Day we asked Tom Brokaw to give us his take on this nation's environmental history.
BROKAW: There was so much of America and it was so beautiful, so wild. And it was settled so late. It seemed we would never run out of open space, clean water, clear skies, wild game and birds on the wing. But in the 20th century, America became a different place, a great machine at full throttle, creating a colossus of factories, freeways and dams. Sprawling cities, farming by chemistry. The air turned brown, rivers died. Eagles almost disappeared. America the beautiful was America the endangered. But something else was going on. A new generation was taking its place in American life. A generation with lots to say and the power of protest.
Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin, a child of the North Woods, recognized the possibilities. He called for an Earth Day in the spring of 1970. It was a massive success. An estimated 20 million people participated, young and old, Democrat and Republican. The Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act quickly followed. President Nixon created the Environmental Protection Agency.
RICHARD NIXON: I have sent to the Congress today a sweeping set of proposals to clean up our nation's air and water.
BROKAW: By the tens of thousands, Americans left the city streets to be restored in the wild. The journey is not yet complete. But the air is better. Water is cleaner. The eagle is back. And always there is this reminder: "Mother Earth, love your mother, she's the only one we have."

Brokaw obscured the real anti-capitalist, anti-technology bent of the Earth Day organizers of 1970. Back then, organizer Denis Hayes explained the whole agenda: "I suspect the politicians and businessmen who are jumping on the environment bandwagon don't have the slightest idea what they are getting into. They are talking about emission control devices on automobiles, while we are talking about bans on automobiles."

In 1993, Bill Clinton's Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt offered NBC anchor Tom Brokaw a government job as director of the National Park Service. At the time, Brokaw told The Washington Post he considered the offer "very seriously," but decided to reject it because of turmoil at NBC (and the pay cut would have been dramatic). He professed, "We need more park land" and "I have a lot of friends in the environmental movement." But he might have told the Clinton folks: "I can do more for you here at the studio."

Actor on NBC: We Must 'Catch Up' w/ China
on Banning Plastic Bags

As part of its celebration of Earth Day, NBC's Today show on Tuesday invited aboard actor/environmentalist Ed Norton to promote his National Geographic special on PBS. The Fight Club star actually decried America's environmental progress compared to China as he charged the U.S. had to "catch up" to them in the area of banning plastic bags: "Yeah and when, and when China is ahead of us in banning these things [plastic bags], when other countries around the world are banning these things that we, we need to get in line with that and catch up."

[This item, by Geoffrey Dickens, was posted Tuesday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

The following is the full segment as it aired on the Tuesday, April 22 Today:

MATT LAUER: Two-time Oscar nominee Edward Norton packed a punch with his performance in the film "Fight Club," now he's fighting for a cause, planet Earth. He's narrating National Geographic's series "Strange Days On Planet Earth," which is back for its second installment premiering this week. Edward Norton, good morning, nice to see you.
EDWARD NORTON: Good to see you again.
LAUER: Before we talk about this, this show let me talk about how you come about this because your dad was very active in environmental causes. Is this, were these discussions you guys had on a daily basis or have on a daily basis or do you kind of pick this up by osmosis?
NORTON: Very much, yeah, I sometimes say it was the family business.
LAUER: Right.
NORTON: You know what I mean? I mean some people are, you know, some people are grocers. Our family was environmental activists. My dad was the head of public policy at the Wilderness Society for many years and then founded the Grand Canyon Trust and founded the Nature Conservancy's China program and ran that program in China for many years. And so it's, I, I grew up so immersed in it that, in a lot of ways, I was just lucky. A lot of what people have been coming to realize, I think on a broader level, in the last five to 10 years my dad-
LAUER: Was part of your upbringing.
NORTON: -he, he was, he was way ahead of the curve.
LAUER: So it's a natural fit with you and this National Geographic series because basically each episode takes a look at a problem facing planet Earth but it does it in a way that is, it's, it's I think it's extremely compelling for the viewers. It presents it almost as a mystery that will be solved throughout the episode.
NORTON: Yeah the guy, the guys who make this series just did a terrific job. It was one of the first things I had seen that I felt made a real narrative out of these issues in the sense, in the same way, like if you love CSI, you'll, you'll like this series. It's, it's very much an investigation experience. It's, it's about taking mysteries, things that are actually happening in the world that seem impossibly disconnected like, that seem like they could never be connected and shows, in fact, how these scientists are tracking down the, the connections between these things that are happening. You know the way that, the way that fishing is affecting climate warming or disappearance of animals in jungles. It's, it's, it's really remarkable storytelling.
LAUER: It, it's, it's head turning material. Are you noticing, Edward, that there's a change in attitude across this country? And maybe I should ask you in the Hollywood community as well. That, that these green issues used to be seen as kind of eating your veggies. You know it was good for you. And now people are, are excited about it. And excited about the fact that in small ways they can make a difference.
NORTON: Absolutely. Yeah I think, I think it's gone way beyond the entertainment community. I don't think the entertainment community is even leading the curve any more. I think, I think this is something that, that is becoming a very broad kind of a new social consciousness. I think, I think it's way beyond politics. I don't, I think it's moved beyond being a liberal issue or a conservative issue. I think conservatives are recognizing that the economic, the economic interplay with sustainability is essential for us to grapple with. And so I think it's really, it's, it's reaching that, that level of a national mission.
LAUER: But when it comes to the entertainment community, you know for years we've lived with product placement in movies and television.
NORTON: Sure.
LAUER: You see a can of Coke here, an Apple computer here. Have we gotten to the point and are we gonna get to the point where you're gonna start to see leading actors in movies going with reusable shopping bags to the grocery store to drive home the green message?
NORTON: Hopefully. I mean I've seen a few Priuses in movies and things like that. But I think, you know, I mean I think, one of the first places that apart from in the stories I think that Hollywood or, or the film industry needs to confront is, is they need to look at the way, literally the physical footprint of the way films get made. You know there's a lot of waste in the way we make films, even.
LAUER: Is that an active discussion today?
NORTON: It is. I know a lot of people who are talking about that and I think actually the studios are being, are being pretty, you know they're doing their part. I think people, because again not, not just because it's the right thing to do but because it's cost effective.
LAUER: And we had you earlier in the show handing out our reusable shopping bags. This is based on a story that I had done a couple of months a go where you go to a supermarket and they ask you paper or plastic and the answer should be neither.
NORTON: Neither, right.
LAUER: And you made a film about this, a short film.
NORTON: Yeah we did. You know that people sometimes say like what's the, what's the one thing you could do to help and I kind of tend to say that you gotta do more than one thing. Now there's a, there's a list of things and those list of things are readily available to us but, but one thing for sure is the bags. The plastic bags are without a doubt emerging as one of the worst, stupidest things that we're doing for the environment. Those little Bodega Deli plastic bags that you use for 30 seconds and throw away actually-
LAUER: 500 billion of them around the world.
NORTON: Yeah and when, and when China is ahead of us in banning these things, when other countries around the world are banning these things that we, we need to get in line with that and catch up.
LAUER: And paper not much better, although it's somewhat biodegradable. It's just the waste of the trees and resources to make those paper bags is, is crazy.
NORTON: Yeah.
LAUER: And so it was nice to have you out there.
NORTON: Yeah, no, that's, it's great what you're doing. I think it's, that is a simple, small thing that everybody can do is, is forget about these little plastic bag.
LAUER: If you want to know more about the issues facing the planet, check out Edward's series on National Geographic. It's called "Strange Days on Planet Earth," it airs tomorrow at 9:00 pm Eastern time, that is on PBS. And Edward continued success with this.
NORTON: Thanks, great to be here as always.
LAUER: Thanks very much.
NORTON: Yeah, you're great.

-- Brent Baker