COMMENTS: Boone Pickens Blows a Mighty Wind

Into the vacuum of a very light day of news entered T Boone Pickens. Not a single development this day was deemed newsworthy enough to warrant coverage by a reporter on all three newscasts. President George Bush may have been at the G8 Summit in Japan but no White House correspondent filed on global diplomacy. Instead oilman Pickens qualified as Story of the Day as he unveiled his plan to end imports of crude oil by building windmills. ABC led with Pickens while CBS and NBC each chose a lead that no other network even mentioned. NBC selected breast cancer; CBS chose low tar cigarettes.

Pickens' plan is to end the national dependence on gasoline by converting cars to natural gas. Where would the natural gas come from? The fuel that is currently used to generate electricity would not be required by power stations because it would be replaced by wind-generated power. ABC's Betsy Stark led with Pickens' scheme and CBS invited the billionaire into the studio to be interviewed by anchor Katie Couric. NBC did not even mention Pickens but it did assign its environmental correspondent Anne Thompson to assess the agreement by the G8 Summit to reduce worldwide greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Since the pact was non-binding, Thompson observed that "the planet shrugged."


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