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Spot the conflict: GE owns NBC, the Weather channel and lots and lots of wind turbine factories


    +    …  .. =  “…news”?


Harold Ambler (Don’t Sell Your Coat) points to a conflict of interest that hadn’t hit my radar til now (golly):

“In the newspaper business, and other journalistic domains as well, fires are of note. Non-fires aren’t. Fair enough. But something very insidious has taken place. The selling of weather disasters as entertainment has led to a state in which big business stands to gain handsomely from the perception that the planet has gone meteorologically mad. Specifically, General Electric stands to profit. When in 2008 NBC (owned by General Electric) purchased The Weather Channel, an interesting thing took place: the largest domestic producer of wind turbines became the owner of the best-positioned purveyor of images of destructive weather. The same year, NBC’s Today Show continued its longstanding practice of “showing” the great destruction to the ocean-atmosphere system caused by manmade global warming, with story after story: fires, floods, melting Kilimanjaro, you name it. The rest of NBC News, and the Weather Channel, meanwhile, keep the same pieces of videotape on nearly infinite repeat.”

How “Green” is GE I wonder?

GE Australia explains that the company focus is so green they have a special word for it: “Ecomagination is GE’s business strategy to help meet customers’ demand for products that improve their bottom line and reduce their impact on the environment. This will also drive growth for GE that delivers for our investors.

How much money does GE make from green philosophies? I don’t know, but GE wind explains that their most widely used wind turbine has produced no less than 16,500 bird killing, bat chopping versions planted around the globe, though they don’t say it quite like that. They have big plans for it. Their “ecomagination commitments for 2010 – 2015” are planned to “double R&D to $10 Billion…”  So that’s just $2 billion a year that GE will spend on green R & D for the next 5 years?

Remember, Exxon have been controlling this debate by funding deniers with a measly $2 million a year (which stopped years ago). It just puts things in perspective…

What else is part of the business plan? The media

“NBC Universal is GE’s media arm, which operates locally through CNBC, broadcasting relevant business news 24 hours a day, 7 days a week…” [From the GE Australian factsheet]

It puts a new tint on the phrase “business news” — is that news relevant to your business or mine? For the record, GE owns Universal Studios, Telemundo,  NBC Universal Global Networks (MSNBC, CNBC, NBC WeatherPlus, WeatherPlus, and WeatherChannel plus lots more.)

And who knows? GE is a huge multinational company, and I’ve seen no evidence that GE management makes any editorial demands about green articles, but then, there is no evidence that MSNBC, CNBC or the Weather Channel are reporting both sides of the climate change news either, is there? It’s a point to bring up next time someone tells you Big-Oil funded deniers control the debate.

Lately GE has sold some of NBC. Now, it’s only a 49% stake. Perhaps that’s alright then?

But when Gina owns 13% of Fairfax, it’s a national crisis, “Democracy is doomed”?


Don’t Sell Your Coat by Harold Ambler

Thanks to Harold for sending me a copy, and for being so patient… 🙂

A few weeks ago, “Don’t Sell Your Coat” was doing so well, it was topping the list of Climatology best sellers on Amazon (beating out Mann and co). Ambler is  a professional journalist, and very much the story teller, and it shows. The book is a smooth read that flows easily. It has beautiful sentence construction (and you’re wondering why I’d even mention that, but predictable sentences are a pet hate of mine).  Ambler works his craft with skill. I like it. Relaxing.

I’m a tough reviewer for skeptical books because only a few tell me something I don’t know, but Ambler’s had a new angle on several aspects of climate change (and info like the GE one above, why hadn’t I noticed that before?). I imagine many readers who would find something like Heaven and Earth too heavy would enjoy “Don’t Sell Your Coat”. It might make just the perfect gift for that slab of the population who would have happily read skeptical feature articles in their newspapers week after week if only the newspapers would run skeptical feature articles. For die-hard climate aficionado’s there are new ways to look at familiar things.

He has earned some great reviews on Amazon. Ambler also blogs and you can hear him discuss the book on radio and TV.

Buy the book on Amazon: Don’t Sell Your Coat: Surprising Truths About Climate Change.



About Harold Ambler

Harold Ambler has been talking about weather and climate since he could first speak. He was educated at Dartmouth and Columbia and started his journalism career at The New Yorker. His work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Huffington Post, The AtlanticWire, and wattsupwiththat.com, among others. He lives in Rhode Island. He wrote the very popular article Mr. Gore: Apology Accepted

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