You’ve been lied to. For decades hack scientists, corporate shills, and disingenuous politicians have lied about topics that impact the health and well-being of our planet and its people. The new documentary, Merchants of Doubt, debuts today and is well-positioned to be a long-awaited strike back against perpetrators of propaganda and misinformaton campaigns aimed at the American people. Not just another climate documentary, Merchants of Doubt seeks to tear the mask off the shady ‘liars for hire’ responsible for trying to convince the American public that tobacco use is safe, coal isn’t polluting our air, and that the climate isn’t changing.
The film is based on the 2010 book of the same name, written by historians Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway. In the book, the authors explain how political campaigns were crafted to intentionally mislead the public and to rebut well-established scientific knowledge spanning the last four decades. At the helm of these misinformation campaigns? Big corporations with a lot to lose from changes in consumer behavior.
The average Joe Plumber might think that the reports of these scientists don’t have an impact on his life, but they’re wrong. The bad guys targeted in this documentary are behind some of the biggest misinformation campaigns of our lifetimes – from lying about tobacco causing cancer to arguing against the fact that CO2 is contributing to climate change. Physicist Fred Singer, pictured above, is one of many scientists interviewed for the film who are under fire for lying for hire. Another example in recent headlines would be that of infamous climate change denier Wei-Hock Soon, who was recently proven to be taking money from oil and gas companies in exchange for his research “findings” which consistently debunked human causes of climate change.
The documentary, directed by Food Inc director Robert Kenny, is intended to let these “pundits-for-hire” know we’re on to them, by exposing not only their methods but also their financial motivations. Even days before the film’s release, some of the figures unveiled in the documentary are threatening legal action. Co-author Oreskes has become a particular target, facing the threat of complaints filed with the universities with which she is affiliated.
She’s not backing down, though. Oreskes understands that standing up to the threats is part of her job, and indeed part of the price for being able to tell this story to the public-at-large.
Hopefully, the film will inspire the public to take their reporting with a grain of salt.
Images via Film Festivals and Indie Films via Youtube