NBC has found the real terroristic weapons of mass destruction and they’re not in Iraq; they’re in your garage. Tuesday’s Today hyped the efforts of some liberal cranks to scare people away from driving SUVs. “Is your SUV a weapon of terrorism? Some people think so. They're taking out ads to tell you why,” co-host Lester Holt announced at the top of the December 17 show. Later, Holt promised: “Coming up in our next half-hour. Is your SUV a weapon of mass destruction?”
Revealing that she sees the world through the prism of press releases issued by liberal groups, co-host Ann Curry trumpeted how “there seems to be a bit of a drumbeat...because not only have we heard this from Hollywood but there also has been a message from evangelical Christians in the middle America saying, asking with ads, 'Would Jesus have driven an SUV?' Do you hear the drumbeat?"
Curry set up the eventual 7:30am half hour segment observed by MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens: “More than one of every four vehicles sold in America today is an SUV. Making it the most popular vehicle on the road. Well now one group is fueling a fiery controversy producing television ads saying the extra gas guzzled by your SUV makes it a threat to national security. Well syndicated columnist Arianna Huffington is the co-founder of the new group, Americans for Fuel Efficient Cars. And Csaba Csere is the Editor-In-Chief of Car and Driver magazine.”
Curry went first to Huffington: "Your ad campaign which is, the ads are running in January, tries to convince Americans to give up their SUVs, having SUV drivers saying things like, 'I helped hijack an airplane.' 'I helped blow up a night club.' 'I gassed 40,000 Kurds.' Are you saying that people who are driving SUVs are contributing to terrorism?"
Curry highlighted the claims: "You use these ads as well as your Web site [http://www.ariannaonline.com/suv/] which has a script that includes, in part: 'Oil money supports some terrible things, if you drive an SUV you may too.' Csaba Csere what, what do you think? I'm gonna turn to, to Mr. Csere. What do you think about this message and that, that if you own an SUV, if you drive an SUV you are supporting terrorism?"
Csere pointed out how the U.S. “only imports about 12 percent of its oil from the Middle East. So the argument that all of our oil money is going to the Middle East is ludicrous” and that “pick-up trucks as a whole get mileage just as poor as SUVs do.”
Curry saw a groundswell against SUVs: “I need to ask you this. There seems to be a bit of a drumbeat Csaba Csere because not only have we heard this from Hollywood but there also has been a message from evangelical Christians in the middle America saying, asking with ads, 'Would Jesus have driven an SUV?' Do you hear the drumbeat?"
Csere: "Well and I don't know quite where this comes from because, you know, SUVs are somehow being painted as unsafe, inefficient, hurting people. The fact is-"
Curry: "Well they are, but, but a lot of them are inefficient if you are only getting something like 15 miles a gallon?"