1980 Walter Cronkite on Climate Change
On April 3, 1980, Walter Cronkite tossed to a news piece from CBS veteran Nelson Benton. Thirty-five years ago, for two and half minutes – an eternity even then by TV news standards and a near-impossibility today – a broadcast anchored by The Most Trusted Man in America tried to warn us about Global Warming (aka climate change).
Actually, “climate change” wasn’t mentioned in Benton’s piece, but CO2, “global warming” and the “Greenhouse Effect” were.”Scientists,” intoned Benton, “and a few politicians are beginning to worry.”
The story features Senator Paul Tsongas at a Senate hearing, reciting a list of cities that could someday be under water. Scientist Gordon MacDonald of the non-profit Mitre Corp. predicts a summertime temperature hike of 16° F.
Benton quotes another unnamed scientist’s reference to the book of Genesis: “Noah knew trouble was coming, and he prepared for it.”
Despite thirty-five years of accumulating evidence, national TV news can’t much be bothered with covering it. CNN boss Jeff Zucker candidly said last year that climate change “deserves more attention,” but there’s “a tremendous lack of interest on the audience’s part.”