If It's So Good, Why Can't Every Week Be "Green?"

Kermit the Frog
Kermit the Frog

So here's the deal. It's "Green Week" on CNBC, or have you noticed? Actually, it's "green" everywhere across the NBC Universal platform of television operations, and across the General Electric corporate structure as well. CNBC, as you are told, what?, ten times a day?, is owned by GE.

Kermit the Frog used to say, "It's not easy being green." My take is slightly different. I'm a little "queasy" about being green, or at least being told to be green. It goes without saying that being stewards of the environment and doing whatever we can, wherever we can to conserve energy and cut down on harmful emissions are noble things to do. We all should.

And working in television puts us in a unique position to bring those issues to the forefront of public consciousness. Working on the "news" side of television however also puts us in the position to question the motivation behind certain actions, our own included.

Ann Curry of the "Today" show was quoted in the New York Times this past weekend as saying she was happy to be given the opportunity to report on climate change. She was sent to Antarctica as part of a "Today" show broadcast that was tied to this "green" business. The "Today" show is owned by GE too. Matt Lauer I believe was sent to the North Pole, Al Roker to the equator. Nothing wrong with all that of course, but why do it this week?

If the Antarctic is such a good story, why hasn't Ann been dispatched there before? If the environment is of such import relative to its news value, why aren't we reporting about it every week? Every day? One less "exclusive" maybe with Britney Spears, or with Rachel Ray, and more about the environment. One less earnings report, one more good visual story about climate change or global warming or the drought.

I'm not questioning the motivation behind what amounts to a corporate edict to "do 'green' stories" this week. I assume it's all about being a good corporate citizen and being able to use whatever corporate tools are available to you to make a noteworthy statement. But there's no getting around the fact that GE makes wind turbines as an example. I think it has a hand in solar panels as well. And its corporate image campaign for a while now has been something to do with "eco-imagination".

By themselves all good things. Tied together as part of a "news" product, or as part of a sports broadcast--turning out the lights in the studio Sunday night on the football broadcast made what statement exactly?--gives me a funny feeling in my stomach. It's either those green chilies I ate last night, or the question a colleague asked me this week. "Hey, " he said, "were you ordered to do those stupid "green" stories too? Is that why you're here?"

Must be indigestion. As for my part of "Green Week" here are a few companies I've done stories with in the past that might get overlooked:

Encap, based in Wisconsin.
Simple Green, based in Southern California. TerraCycle, based in New Jersey.
Jiminy Peak Resort, in Massachusetts.

Look them all up, each has a good "green" story to tell. "MOA" is off to Philadelphia and then on to Florida. We'll see you along the road.

Questions? Comments? mikeonamerica@nbcuni.com