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Merchants of Doubt (2014)

Thursday, January 28

Director: Robert Kenner
Run time: 96 minutes

Inspired by the acclaimed book by Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway, Merchants Of Doubt takes audiences on a satirically comedic, yet illuminating ride into the heart of conjuring American spin. Filmmaker Robert Kenner lifts the curtain on a secretive group of highly charismatic, silver- tongued pundits-for-hire who present themselves in the media as scientific authorities-yet have the contrary aim of spreading maximum confusion about well-studied public threats ranging from toxic chemicals to pharmaceuticals to climate change.

(Source: Official film site, http://sonyclassics.com/merchantsofdoubt/)

The film is a powerful indictment of behind-the-scene lobbyists and public relations agencies who employ questionable strategies, with the goal of "manufacturing doubt," to thwart or delay policy makers from enacting legislation that would be damaging to their clients. This strategy of creating doubt and uncertainty was first utilized by tobacco executives, who claimed that nicotine was not addictive, and continues to be employed by major corporations and their lobbyists on a number of critical issues, including global warming and even vaccinations.

Important note: In 2015 (since the film was made), a number of the nation's leading public relations agencies signed a pact agreeing that they would no longer represent any client that denied the scientific facts of climate change.


Robert Howard
Political activist and former business executive

Dr. Neil Donahue
Director, Steinbrenner Institute for Environmental Education and Research
Carngie Mellon University