Thanks to an anonymous reader who sent us the first article.
CNN's 'Planet in Peril' plays off environmental Concerns
With the presidential election over, how are the major cable networks going to generate the sort of hysteria that builds Nielsen ratings?Everybody, it seems, is going green.Yes, the apocalyptic environmental special - the end of the world is near, and all that - has never been hotter, not even back in the days when Walter Cronkite was looking ahead to "The 21st Century," a show that provided a generation of Baby Boom science classes with film diversions.CNN's occasional and appropriately titled series "Planet in Peril" is no exception as it returns with its second installment at 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 11, but then again let's be sure to place it in context. After all, it's a lot more responsible to be crying wolf over the environment in our age of global warming than it is, say, for a cable news outlet to generate mass hysteria over some missing white girl in an Amber Alert.The latest "Planet in Peril" gets off to a sensationalistic-enough start with Anderson Cooper and CNN's chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta looking for the potential outbreak of the next AIDS epidemic with "virus hunter" Dr. Nathan Wolfe. They trace the rising consumption of "bush meat" in central Africa, where a virulent disease could easily jump species, with global implications. In fact, it already has, in the form of AIDS and monkey pox.It's no accident that the most dreadful segment comes first. Yet the special soon settles into a fairly routine if nonetheless fascinating groove looking at environmental concerns around the world under the topic of "Battle Lines," at the competition - human and animal - for dwindling natural resources.In the end, this is a diverting, enlightening special that, again like Cronkite's "21st Century," wouldn't be out of place in a middle-school science class.Taken as a whole, the special dovetails, then doubles back on itself. Lisa Ling, the former "Oprah" reporter now working for CNN, does a fine piece on the diminishing worldwide shark population as the labor-intensive shark-fin soup goes from a delicacy reserved for the rich to a widespread dish delivered to the masses. That leads directly into "Shark Tourism," a look at how countries like South Africa are bringing in tourists to see great white sharks in person - through the use of chumming and diving cages. Yet that might actually be training sharks to associate contact with humans with a source of food.Unfortunately, even though Florida and Hawaii have banned chumming for sharks in our own United States, Cooper has to include an interview with a shark researcher showing that the practice hasn't noticeably altered shark feeding habits. Oops, so much for that note of hysteria.So he heads right off to return to central Africa to look at the vastly different conditions the endangered mountain gorilla faces in Rwanda and the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo. In Rwanda, despite the vicious 1990s genocide, both the government and the gorilla population have revived by actually encouraging gorilla tourism. In the Congo, where the gorillas are still routinely hunted, they of course haven't fared as well, and not coincidentally neither has the country.It's an interesting story precisely because it's counterintuitive and yet reasonable. Who would have thought that human contact would actually be good for an endangered species? That turns out to be the case, however.Yet what's best about those last two segments, on shark and gorilla tourism, is Cooper himself. For years, I've thought myself immune to the cult of Cooper, CNN's new franchise star, but "Planet in Peril" shows he truly has something: a way of rendering his emotional, not intellectual, response to a story with honesty and clarity. "It's quite an experience," he says of swimming quite literally with sharks, outside the diving cage, and goes on to describe their grace and beauty. Similarly, confronted with a group of mountain gorillas, he admits, "They are intimidating animals."That's the sort of emotional response even Cronkite typically denied himself, and CNN and "Planet in Peril" are better for it. It replaces the tone of hysteria with an air of wonder, and I for one find that much more captivating than being scared into watching.
There have been a lot of reviews of Planet in Peril and I will give the links to just a few
The New York Daily News
http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/tv/2008/12/11/2008-12-11_cnns_anderson_cooper_at_work_in_risky_en.html as well as http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/tv/2008/12/11/2008-12-11_concern_real_in_cnns_planet_in_peril_if_.html
Cindy Adams’ column in The New York Post
Anderson was interviewed by Stephanie Miller
In the last few days Anderson made appearances on Jay Leno and Regis and Kelly to promote Planet in Peril. To see Anderson appearances on both programs, you can check out our sister site All Things Anderson.
Anderson even wrote a brief piece for Popular Science
CNN’s Betty Nguyen had the opportunity to interview First Lady Laura Bush on the anniversary of the universal declaration of human rights.
I'll tell you what, you interview the first lady and you're here like within minutes, and you're already giving a part of the interview.
PHILLIPS: I'll tell you what -- tell me about the conversation.
BETTY NGUYEN, CNN ANCHOR: Well especially on this day. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights -- as we know, Kyra, there are several places around the world where people are just denied those basic human rights, including two countries where the first lady has really made it a priority to help res to re those rights. That being Afghanistan and Myanmar , which is also called Burma .
Well today, she did not back down, calling on the international community to do more in Myanmar, where she continues to closely watch what she calls a sad situation for the people of that country.
NGUYEN: You also watched it play out during Cyclone Nargis. In fact, I was just in the country back in July, and what I wanted to do was really see if aid was getting to those still in need, some two months after the s to rm had hit. And what I witnessed were dead bodies still rotting along the delta, many villages still with little to no aid.
Will the people of that country lose a powerful ally once you leave the White House?
LAURA BUSH, FIRST LADY: No. I really think that the next administration will also pay attention to Burma . It's a country that -- the Lan to s Act, for instance, the S to p Jade Now Act, that was just passed recently that the president signed in to law, passed unanimously.
So it's an issue that I think all -- every member, both parties, are very interested in. So I expect that the next administration will also do what they can to try to have this peaceful transition to democracy for the people of Burma .
NGUYEN: There is still a lot of outrage concerning the reaction to the cyclone on the part of the junta government there. Looking back, where do you draw the line when it comes to human rights? The U.S. sent ships full of aid that were denied by the junta government.
Should the U.S. have been more forceful in getting that aid to the people in need?
BUSH: Well that was the real question at the time. We did have those Navy ships right off the coast -- right at the delta, right by where the cyclone had hit. Those had desalinization machines on them.
They could have gotten fresh water to the people right way, medical supplies and the military junta would never let them land.
We did, at the same time, though -- they did accept cargo planes and the U.S. was able to fly in at least 100 cargo plane flights of supplies for the people of Burma . But that's the question. I mean, that's always the question when you talk about human rights. When we at -- when the rest of the world looks at these countries where tyranny reigns and where the people are denied any sort of basic human rights, then that's what we have to ask ourselves, is, what do we do?
And we did, in Afghanistan, go in to Afghanistan, and liberated the people. And we're still there, obviously, working hard to make sure the people of Afghanistan can rebuild their country, which was totally decimated after 30 years of war with nothing. They're building a country from nothing now. And that still requires a big commitment on the part of the people of the U.S. and the government of the U.S.
PHILLIPS: Well we know that Myanmar , what was happening there, meant a lot to the first lady.
And you were very humble. You didn't mention this. She saw your coverage and wanted to reach out and talk to you today.
But now she mentions Afghanistan . What's her mission there because I haven't heard a lot about that?
NGUYEN: Well she wants to continue helping women and girls get an education. She said this, Kyra, "When women are educated, everything across the board improves for their families." But she also says that, "... the world has to act in order to help make that happen."
Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: And I think it's really important for the international community to support the people of Afghanistan so they can stand up for themselves.
They are having some success. They're building the national police force. When I was in Afghanistan , the last time, I met women who are police officers.
But, on the other hand, their society is so strict for women that some of these women police officers have not to ld their families that they were studying to be police.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NGUYEN: And the first lady does plan to continue working on human rights at the Freedom Institute that will built at her husband's presidential library in Dallas . So she, like I said, is not backing down.
PHILLIPS: Well what are we going to talk about next hour?
NGUYEN: Next hour is going to be pretty interesting, to o, because it's about life after the White House. Something that she calls the "afterlife." Her new normal, if you will. So we'll find out what she's up to .
PHILLIPS: It will probably be a lot easier and more spiritual and heavenly than living in the White House.
NGUYEN: And a smaller home.
PHILLIPS: Yes, exactly.
All right. Thanks, Betty.
That is it for me this week. Have a great week and let’s all try to find a way to help our planet in peril ~ Sapphire