It appears that William Shatner made a pointed remark about global warming after his successful 11-minute trip to space in the Blue Origin capsule, but, as reader Plunky says, “This perspective wasn’t widely reported in MSM” [mainstream media]. Shatner’s musings on life and death, and his emotional reaction to the trip, however, was reported all over the place.
Indeed, if you search for “William Shatner global warming” on the Internet, you find precious little save at yahoo! entertainment and MEDIAite, and nothing about the omitted sentence that this piece gives. (Of course, I must have missed some stuff.) Plunky called my attention to the piece below from Informed Comment (click on screenshot) noting the omission. They impute it to Bezos cutting off Shatner because of possible bad publicity for his mission.
From Cole’s reporting:
Ann Arbor (Informed Comment) – On Wednesday, pop culture icon William Shatner, Star Trek‘s Captain James Tiberius Kirk, explained the enormity of seeing the earth from a suborbital flight on Blue Origin’s New Shepherd space craft. Part of what he said when he returned from 66 miles up got lost in all of the news reports I’ve seen, and it is the most important part.
Here’s a portion of what CNBC printed in what they alleged was the complete transcript of Shatner’s remarks:
“I mean, the little things, the weightlessness, and to see the blue color whip by and now you’re staring into blackness. That’s the thing. This covering of blue is this sheet, this blanket, this comforter of blue around that we have around us. We think ‘oh, that’s blue sky’ and suddenly you shoot through it all of a sudden, like you whip a sheet off you when you’re asleep, and you’re looking into blackness – into black ugliness. And you look down, there’s the blue down there, and the black up there, and there is Mother Earth and comfort and – is there death? Is that the way death is?”
But here’s the crucial takeaway, the last phrase of which is omitted by CNBC:
“What I would love to do is communicate as much as possible the jeopardy, the moment you see how vuln– the vulnerability of everything. It so small. This air which is keeping us alive is thinner than your skin. It’s a sliver. It’s immeasurably small when you think in terms of the universe. It’s negligible, this air. Mars doesn’t have it. It’s so thin. And to dirty it…”
In fact, Shatner adds, after “to dirty it”, “I mean that’s another whole subject.” So it wasn’t just the four words that were omitted, but an entire sentence. And then Bezos breaks in. I have to say that he looks like a bit of a jerk, especially when he interrupts Shatner to spray champagne all over the place.
Informed Comment continues:
“The jeopardy . . . And to dirty it!” To fill this precious atmosphere, unique in our solar system, with clouds of burned coal dust and with greenhouse gases, Shatner says, is . . . what? Despicable. Unthinkable.
Just when Shatner is getting on to the subject about how what he saw reinforced his horror at the way we are polluting the atmosphere and imperiling the earth with man-made global heating, Bezos interrupts him: “It goes so fast.” Bezos doesn’t want Captain Kirk expounding on the evils of climate change on his promotional clip. He gets him talking about the experience again. Not the conclusion he drew from that experience.
And yes, Shatner did say that and yes, Bezos interrupted him. You can see it at 7:13 in this video, as well as the “I mean, that’s another whole subject” comment.
Even the New York Times reports only these words of Shatner’s:
It was unbelievable … To see the blue cover go whoop by. And now you’re staring into blackness. That’s the thing. The covering of blue, this sheet, this blanket, this comforter of blue that we have around us. We say, ‘Oh that’s blue sky.’ And then suddenly you shoot through it and all of a sudden, like you whip the sheet off you when you’re asleep, you’re looking into blackness.
. . . You look down, there’s the blue down there, and the black up there. There is Mother and Earth and comfort and there is … Is there death? I don’t know. Was that death? Is that the way death is? Whoop and it’s gone. Jesus. It was so moving to me.
You’ll be hard pressed to find that whole paragraph beginning “What I would love to do is communicate as much as possible the jeopardy. . . ” in the mainstream media, ad I haven’t found “And to dirty it. . . ” anywhere, not even The New Yorker’s report. The Informed Comment piece observes that Shatner has been deeply concerned with climate change for at least five years.
I suppose are a couple of explanations for their omission. The innocuous one is that the MSM just omitted one phrase from Shatner’s soliloquy—a fragment that wasn’t even a complete sentence (but was followed by a complete sentence, also omitted!). After all, the “MSM” largely leans Left, and reports frequently on climate change, so what motivation would they have for omitting that bit?
On the other hand, that phrase was important, and should have been part of the story, even though in some accounts (not the NYT’s above), they do say Shatner’s worried about humans despoiling our planet.
Informed Comment appears to be a progressive Leftist site, so they of course impute this to Bezos trying to keep Shatner from damaging the Blue Horizon enterprise, which of course is a for-profit operation. Cole quotes the Washington Post‘s 2016 interview with Shatner to show his concern, and winds up this way:
“People like yourself — young people like yourself should be screaming at the top of your lungs to the people who lead.”
That’s what Shatner wanted to say on his return to earth. He wanted to say that our thin, fragile, vulnerable, unique atmosphere is in danger from petroleum, gas and coal, that this mothering “blue blanket” of the earth is in danger of being enveloped by the grim blackness of galactic emptiness because of the way we are treating it.
That is what for-profit news did not report about Shatner’s profound experience and his articulation of it. He wants you screaming at the top of your lungs that our pale blue dot is in danger of being burned up and engulfed by an unfeeling, black cosmos. And that only we can stop it from getting worse, because we are the ones making it worse.
Well, maybe Cole is wrong trying to psychologize Shatner in this way. After all, Shatner did say “that’s another whole subject”, and may have left it there. But surely the media could have reported that final phrase, particularly in what was purported to be a complete transcript.
You be the judge!