- The Washington Times - Monday, May 17, 2004

Just call him Showbiz Al, perhaps.

News media maven, speechmaker and now film promoter, former Vice President Al Gore wants the whole nation to see “The Day After Tomorrow,” a Hollywood disaster movie that plunges Planet Earth into a cataclysmic climate change.

It opens May 28.

But forget about special effects that include collapsing ice caps, a 290-foot-tall tidal wave, dueling tornadoes over Los Angeles, and Manhattan encased in ice.

Mr. Gore wants Americans to fret about global warming instead, and is headlining an independent promotional effort for the 20th Century Fox movie.

The $125 million alarmist extravaganza presents “a rare opportunity to have a national conversation about what truly should be seen as a global climate emergency,” Mr. Gore said during a press conference Tuesday.

Although he acknowledges that the film’s version of an instant ice age is not scientifically tenable, Mr. Gore is still playing political hardball.

“The Bush-Cheney administration has worked very hard to create a false impression that the scientific community is uncertain about whether this is a serious problem or not — not unlike the misleading impression that we were given in the run-up to the Iraq war,” Mr. Gore said.

Global warming is “an emergency that seems to be unfolding in slow motion, but it actually is occurring very swiftly. Not as swiftly as the movie portrays, but swiftly in the context of human history,” Mr. Gore said.

He has joined forces with MoveOn.org, the California-based liberal activist group that has re-christened the film “The movie the White House doesn’t want you to see,” and issued a public call to action, posted at their Web site, www.moveon.org.

The group wants all conscientious environmentalists to hand out specially printed fliers critical of the Bush administration at theaters across the country over Memorial Day weekend, write the White House and sign a petition in support of the McCain-Lieberman Climate Stewardship Act, which offers a national policy for cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

“The right wing has already cranked up its PR machine to discredit the movie as a ‘fright flick,’ propaganda cooked up by climate change conspiracy theorists,” MoveOn.org noted, adding that the movie is “making the Bush administration very nervous.”

While not encouraging or condoning Mr. Gore’s actions, 20th Century Fox nevertheless agreed to screen the film early for Mr. Gore and his interest group, and remains good-humored about the whole thing.

The film is “entertainment,” said a 20th Century Fox spokeswoman, adding that a little virtuous public interest certainly couldn’t do the movie any harm.

Mr. Gore will journey to Manhattan for a private screening Sunday, accompanied by “Air America” radio host Al Franken — who has announced a possible candidacy for U.S. Senate in 2008 — along with environmental lawyer Robert Kennedy Jr. and Laurie David, environmental activist and wife of “Seinfeld” creator Larry David.

All four will also appear the following day in a global warming rally at the 4th Universalist Society in New York City, which describes itself as a “liberal religious community … held together by a sense of mutual concerns rather than religious law.”

Mr. Gore made another high-profile foray into the media world earlier this month, announcing his purchase of a 24-hour cable TV channel that would offer news and entertainment programming for youthful audiences.

Insiders said Mr. Gore intends to rival the Fox News Channel, courting young voters and pushing liberal agendas in a presidential election year.

“This will not be a political network,” Mr. Gore said at the time. “This is not going to be a liberal network, a Democratic network or a political network.”

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