The media bought — and so did we — the sales job that had a last-minute “Live Earth” concert being held in Washington, D.C. The storyline: Gore showed those dastardly Senators who tried to block the huge, righteous concert on the Capitol Grounds. They had the concert after all!
Hardly. Nothing of the sort. The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian had already scheduled a day of events — including the Indian Summer Showcase 2007, which appeared to be absorbed into “Mother Earth — In the Spirit of the Live Earth Concerts.” There were already going to be performances, drum circles and spiritual/environmental speeches by tribal leaders. Al Gore and the Smithsonian’s organizers just figured a way to add Gore’s overtly political address and the Garth Brooks/Trisha Yearwood performance to an existing event.
Perhaps a few thousand people were there, with only a few hundred seeing the celebrities. (This photo was taken from pretty close in, actually.) It appeared that the Al Gore fans got closer to the stage than the Garth Brooks fans.
Anyway, excellent PR sleight of hand. We suspect the announcement of this supposed “Live Earth” concert in Washington, D.C, was delayed until yesterday in order to prevent questions. We can think of a couple, especially since the Smithsonian’s governance has been under lots of scrutiny lately. Off the top of our head: “Does promoting a political event, which argues for legislative action and the signing of international treaties, fit the Smithsonian’s charter? Will some Smithsonian’s donors object to the institution being made part of a controversial worldwide campaign for social and economic change? Did the Board of Regents — a political group, to be sure — know about the arrangements?”
And given more time, reporters surely would have been a little more skeptical and inquisitive, right? They might have checked with the National Park Service to see if and when additional security had been requested. Or asked Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) what he thought (Inhofe promised to block a Capitol Grounds concert as a partisan event).
Seems like a lot of questions should be asked. But “Live Earth” — despite being a radical movement to restructure the world’s economy — usually escapes probing questions, at least from the mainstream media.
UPDATE (4:20 p.m.): From Gore’s remarks:
“Some who don’t understand what is now at stake tried to stop this event on the Mall. But here we are, and it wasn’t the cavalry who came to our rescue, it was the American Indian.”
Therefore, resistance to the Message cannot be tolerated because disagreement can never be merely honest, prudent, or just humanly fallible.
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