One in this occasional series of news/public affairs programs hosted by Ted Koppel. This report examines how one might describe modern-day Earth, or how it would appear to outsiders from another planet, should they exist. Koppel runs through a list of 1988's notable events, including the election of President George H.W. Bush, the Armenian earthquake and the intefata in the Palestinian territories. He then broadens the scope of the discussion and touches upon our different belief systems, and Reverend Billy Graham speaks about the nature of monotheistic religion. French journalist Vladimir Posner offers a counter-argument about atheism, and Koppel notes that many wars are fought over issues of religion, explaining that there were 34 different wars in progress in 1988 and that the threat of nuclear weapons was often in the public eye. Former President Richard Nixon speaks about his time in office, elaborating upon his opinions and actions towards the Soviet Union and then explaining about the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, signed by President Ronald Reagan and General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev. Next, Koppel touches upon the issue of extreme stress and the rising rates of suicide, and fast-talking comedian John Moschitta Jr. weighs in on the common problems and pressures vexing the average person.

Jean-Michel Cousteau, son of ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau, comments on his studies of the Earth's biosphere and explains that humans have become both the "masters and menaces" of the world, often polluting the air and water with our advances in technology. He explains that we are running out of places in which to dispose our waste, and cautions against further destruction of the environment. Koppel states that there are currently 2,378 different mammal species on Earth and that a significant number of those are endangered, and wildlife expert Jane Goodall speaks about her experiences studying various animals, particularly primates, explaining that excessive hunting and poaching are causing serious depletions in many species. Next, Koppel discusses the idea of appearance and narcissism, offering several statistics about rates of cosmetic surgery and sales of expensive fashion brands. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop talks about the appearance and rapid rise of HIV/AIDS, explaining that unprotected sex and intravenous drug use are both major factors in the spread of the disease. Policeman comment on narcotics laws, noting the relation between heavy drug use and homelessness and poverty, and a homeless man describes feeling like "a nothing" when forced to live on the streets.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Jean-Pierre Hocké, discusses the issue of those people, primarily women and children, forced to flee their home country because of war and other dangers. Koppel comments on many people's fascination with UFOs and the potential for alien life, as examined in so many films and television shows, observing that humans typically fear what they do not understand. Bishop Desmond Tutu talks about racism, particularly in South Africa, where discrimination is part of the law in some cases. Koppel then notes that while many in the United States are obese and overfed, many people in third-world countries suffer and die from malnutrition and hunger; the natural resources are present, but not the means by which to develop them. Inventor Steve Jobs then talks about advances in computer programs, showing off a digital library and a music-related program, and musician Stevie Wonder shows off other recent advances in artistic technology. Koppel closes the program by acknowledging that his "subjective postcard" is only one point of view through which to view the world, which is full of diverse opinions and experiences. Includes commercials and promos.


  • DATE: December 26, 1988 10:00 PM
  • RUNNING TIME: 1:00:00
  • COLOR/B&W: Color
  • CATALOG ID: B:16906
  • GENRE: Public affairs/Documentaries
  • SERIES RUN: ABC - TV, 1988
  • COMMERCIALS: TV - Commercials - AT&T phone services^TV - Promos - ABC Sports football games^TV - Promos - "The Ice Capades With Kirk Cameron"^TV - Promos - "America's Kids: Diet of Danger"^TV - Promos - "Good Morning America"


    • Richard Kaplan … Executive Producer
    • Lionel Chapman … Senior Producer
    • Wayne Ewing … Producer
    • Deborah Leff … Producer
    • John Lower … Producer
    • Susan Mercandetti … Producer
    • Jeff Milstein … Producer
    • William Moore … Producer
    • Margaret Murphy … Producer
    • Mose Richards … Producer
    • Judd Rose … Producer
    • Richard Sergay … Producer
    • Tara Sonenshine … Producer
    • Rick Wilkinson … Producer
    • Marvin Schlenker … Director
    • Ivan Ladizinsky … Based on an original concept by
    • Ted Koppel … Host
    • George H.W. Bush
    • Jean-Michel Cousteau
    • Jane Goodall
    • Mikhail Gorbachev
    • Billy Graham
    • Steve Jobs
    • Jean-Pierre Hocké
    • C. Everett Koop
    • John Moschitta Jr.
    • Richard Nixon
    • Ronald Reagan
    • Vladimir Posner
    • Desmond Tutu
    • Stevie Wonder