NBC's announcement that Today news anchor and Dateline host Ann Curry will co-anchor NBC's prime-time simulcast of Al Gore's "Live Earth" concerts on Saturday is an obvious indicator that it won't just be a rock concert. It will include gooey interviews where celebrities will be praised for their global conscience.
Curry's big prime-time gig could be a reward for the one-sided environmental activism she's long displayed at NBC's morning show. In her time at Today, Curry has brought her trademark sappy personality along with the expected liberal bias to numerous environmental interview segments. In the last five years, Curry often revealed her soft spot for all things green:
# On the October 21, 2002 Today, Curry went ape promoting primatologist Jane Goodall's "Ten Trusts" for saving Earth: "You come out with it at a time when the nation is facing terrorism. Its eye is on something else. And also you say that people are afraid to talk about being caring about the environment because they may be perceived, they think, as unpatriotic?" As Curry helped Goodall explain that cell phones damage the planet, Curry asked "What gives you hope, Jane?...What sustains you?...'Travel the forest within you,' you say."
# Two years later, Curry interviewing Goodall again, asked: "Why at the age of 70 do you travel 300 days out of the year working on behalf of this world that is in such trouble?" Curry ended by oozing, "You've given so many people hope including those listening to you this morning. Thank you so much for all the work you've done."
# On the April 21, 2004 Today, Curry offered syrupy praise to Trudie Styler, wife of the rock star Sting, over her benefit concert: "Since 1988 when you co-founded The Rainforest Foundation which is having tonight's benefit you have raised, helped raise $19 million. You've saved millions of acres of the rainforest and yet this morning there is still a fire burning within you...What causes you to not be discouraged, to keep fighting. I mean, really, someone who's raised $19 million can afford to stay home and knit, you know, or do more yoga as in your case, you know, but you don't. You keep doing this year after year after year." She concluded the interview with more praise: "I'd just like to say thank you for doing all that you're doing to save the world's resources. I think all of us owe you a debt of gratitude. Carry on and good luck tonight on the big event."
# On May 16, 2006, Curry praised Styler again: "You just told me just before we started going live here that your, this organization, since you started it in 1989 along with your husband Sting, has raised $21 million. Phenomenal. How does that feel and how does it feel seeing what good it's done?" Styler said global warming was coming home to roost on a "karmic level," and said her concert's after party would have a "Woodstock theme," singing '60s songs in '60s garb, and Curry begged, "Oh please give me an invitation to that one!"
# On June 5, 2007, Curry hosted Terri Irwin, and her daughter, Bindi. As Bindi expressed her opposition to people using animal skins, Curry grew giddy: "Wow! You are a serious, Terri you have a serious environmentalist on our hands here! And she's gonna fight for the environment... and the timing is really perfect because it seems that the world is waking up to the needs of the planet, you know?"
# On May 17, the Today crew promoted Jerry Greenfield of the leftist Ben & Jerry's ice cream company. Curry cooed: "It's just very cool to have a guy who's as cool as you, given all that you're trying to do in the world, to do this for us." When Greenfield unveiled the "people-powered blender bike" to make smoothies, Curry added: "You really care and have, for years, cared about global warming." As Curry pedaled the blender bike, she exclaimed, "You see, you can save the environment! It is possible!"
- Geoffrey Dickens and Tim Graham