Since leaving the NBC Nightly News anchor chair in 2004, Tom Brokaw has been anything but "retired." As host of Global Warming: What You Need to Know (premiering Sunday at 9 pm/ET on Discovery Channel), the newsman posits some reasons for our planet's higher fever.
TV Guide: Why'd you get involved with the documentary?
Tom Brokaw: I've been watching [the issue] for some time, and like a lot of people I've been trying to figure out the difference between fact and fiction. The scientific consensus is now pretty overwhelming. There are still scientists out there who will be dismissive of it, but more and more are signing on. What's been so striking to me is that more corporations, including G.E. and the oil companies and the car companies, [are starting to believe in global warming].
TV Guide: Does your interpretation of the findings vary at all from Al Gore's?
Brokaw: Not much. We're not as political in what we're saying as he is [in the documentary An Inconvenient Truth], but then he's a political person. To his credit, he's been on the subject for some time. And [while] it's imperfect in terms of the tone, I think that it's very strong editorially, and visually beautiful.
TV Guide: Following Anderson Cooper's Katrina coverage, how do you feel about anchors being more subjective?
Brokaw: I think it depends on the circumstances. Anderson and others were in a position to be witnesses, if you will, to the absence of urgency on the part of the government. They had a chance to express some outrage about it. I don't think that that ought to become the leitmotif.... But I thought the behavior of all of them was appropriate at that time.
TV Guide: It's been reported that 21 percent of young people get their news from The Daily Show and other news parodies.
Brokaw: I think it is probably accurate. Jon [Stewart] worries about it a lot. We've talked about it. I think he's very healthy to have on the air, because there is an essential truth in what he says. If you watch the show and I do, three or four nights out of five what [he's doing] is bringing people, particularly young people, into paying more attention to politics.
TV Guide: How do you think Katie Couric will do as the CBS Evening News anchor?
Brokaw: Well, as I said to her when she was leaving: "It takes just one woman from NBC to replace Walter Cronkite, Dan Rather and Bob Schieffer." And I'm confident a year from now she'll have a lock on second place, and she'll keep it for a long time.
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