On Wednesday, August 9th at 7 pm in Peacock Hall, Sustainable Rossmoor will show MERCHANTS OF DOUBT — a satirically comedic and illuminating journey into the heart of American spin. We meet highly charismatic, silver-tongued pundits who present themselves in the media as scientific authorities – yet spread misinformation and confusion about public threats ranging from toxic chemicals such as asbestos, DDT, and nicotine to pharmaceuticals and acid rain, ozone, and global warming. We learn how modern propaganda machines have become very polished.
The film is 93 minutes, with an optional discussion following. All Rossmoor residents and their guests are invited.
It may seem to us in California that Climate Denial has recently come back into vogue. In fact, in many parts of the county, it never when out of style. One focus of the film is the very effective fight waged by Big Oil against the growing amount of scientific evidence for climate change. Those distortions continue today. Money can buy power, and often also minds. The Koch Brothers have spent more than $100 billion directly to 84 groups denying climate change science since 1997.
“Global warming is a hoax perpetrated by alarmists” began James Inhofe in 2003, recent chairman of the Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works. He has received over 2 million dollars in donations from coal & oil Industry, the top contributor being the Koch brothers. This “hoax” sentence seems to be one the Administration adjudged to be worth repeating: several times by Scott Pruitt, the new Chief of the Environmental Protection Agency, and tweeted by President Trump . . . 115 times. It’s as if this hazardous phrase is habit forming. Many parallels are revealed with the efforts by the tobacco industry.
The filmmakers show us how history is replete with corporate-financed public relations efforts to suppress and blur the facts. We see these skills applied to evidence about fracking and toxic pesticides. They interview scientists, activists and whistle-blowers who expose such activities, as well as some of its repentant perpetrators. We also meet politicians who find that science brings us solutions and hope, such as those who have recently signed the Mayors Climate Agreement, totaling over 360 in the United States.