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A Convenient Campaign Film By: Bill Steigerwald
FrontPageMagazine.com | Monday, July 10, 2006


The intense media hype for An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore’s documentary about the coming global warming apocalypse and his tireless crusade to warn humanity about it, cooled down several weeks ago.

But Gore's movie -- a slide-show gone Hollywood, actually -- is still pulling in about 200,000 customers a week and has grossed $13.3 million since late May.

That’s no Superman Returns. But as of July 4, roughly 1.8 million Americans had voluntarily paid about $8 to subject themselves to Gore’s 100-minute multimedia sermon on the geophysical perils and moral failings of our reckless, carbon-spewing modern lifestyle.

At the Manor Theater in Squirrel Hill, where the manager said An Inconvenient Truth has been one of the art theater’s most successful movies since 1994, 14 senior citizens and I attended Wednesday’s 5 p.m. show.

Technically and cinematically, it is a slick production.

Along with Professor Gore’s lecture and narration, there are action shots of calving glaciers, belching smokestacks, raging hurricanes, and beautiful views from outer space of our fragile planet Earth. Also, there are lots of extreme close-ups of Gore’s worried, ever-earnest face and, suspiciously, a presidential-campaign film's worth of footage about his past political and personal life, including a retelling of how he was changed by his sister's early cancer death.

An Inconvenient Truth covers a lot of complicated scientific ground – rising CO2 levels, soaring global temperatures, melting ice caps, rising sea levels, increasing species extinctions, more droughts, floods, tornadoes.... And guess what? Human-forced climate change, not sweet and innocent Mother Nature, is always the cause.

Anyone in the audience not familiar with the ideologically polarized debate over global warming, which is most normal people, might think that Gore -- despite his occasional cracks about skeptics and their patrons in Big Oil -- is fairly and accurately presenting scientific facts about which no honest or intelligent person disagrees.

He’s not.

His barrage of charts, graphs and misleading things like before-and-after photos of about 10 retreating glaciers (out of Earth's 160,000) is not designed to educate or explain the complex science of climate change but to impress, gull and bury his trusting audience with information -- without providing time to absorb it, much less question whether it proves or disproves anything.

The more you know about global warming -- its science and its politics -- the more you realize Gore is a propagandist, not an honest seeker of scientific truth. Skeptics have blasted Gore for stretching, misusing or ignoring evidence, and grossly exaggerating global warming's dangers.

But true believers will insist he is right that there is no longer any legitimate debate among climatologists about global warming’s causes (man), effects (many and dire and soon) or solutions (government-mandated). They warn that we better listen to Prophet Al and change our evil energy-wasting ways before global warming reaches a tipping point and turns our blue planet brown.

At the end of his movie, Gore's faithful followers are urged to develop more alternative energy resources, plant more trees and ride more bikes. And, oh yeah, they should work to elect more green politicians -- like Gore in 2008? -- who’ll pledge to sign the Kyoto Protocols.

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Bill Steigerwald is the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's associate editor. Call him at (412) 320-7983. E-mail him at: bsteigerwald@tribweb.com.


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