COMMENTS: Universal Cross-Promotion

NBC used its extra time from its limited commercials to file a couple of Our Planet features, part of NBC/Universal's weeklong Green Is Universal initiative. In keeping with corporate synergy, Dawna Friesen publicized the energy supply that "emits no pollution or carbon dioxide." She went to Samso Island in Denmark, part of the world's largest windmill farm, and to windswept southwestern ranchland where windmills "have altered the landscape" and now generate enough electricity for a million homes. In Texas, "companies like General Electric, the parent of NBC/Universal, have been monitoring the performance of their turbines." Friesen offered an indirect plea for taxpayer subsidies for her employer by pointing out that both sets of farms relied on government grants and incentives to get started. And the temptation of cliche was too great to resist for her signoff: "Ask them where the future lies, and in west Texas and Denmark, they will tell you the answer is Blowin' in the Wind."

The other Our Planet feature was a tie in with the efforts of NBC's Today to go to all corners of the globe. Morning newscaster Ann Curry introduced her report with a live stand-up from the wind chill of McMurdo Station in Antarctica. The green tie-in was only a passing reference to possible icemelt. Most of Curry's report was on the "increasingly woman's world" of polar research--a hyped claim, it turned out, since the station's team is about two-thirds male. Nevertheless Curry found Jennifer Mercer sending balloons aloft to study the ozone layer and marine biologist Amy Moran in scuba gear diving through a hole in the ice. Yes, she jumped right in.


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