Coming to theatres today, Friday, March 6: MERCHANTS OF DOUBT
Robert Kenner’s exposé of anti-science corporate shills made its debut last year at Telluride and Toronto. It went on to screen at the New York Film Festival, DOC NYC, CPH:DOX, Palm Springs, Whistler, Hong Kong, Goteborg, and ZagrebDox, among others.
While in no way household names, the subjects of Kenner’s latest film might be vaguely familiar to viewers, particularly those who make a habit of watching cable news networks. They’ve made a career out of making media appearances, acting as “scientific experts” offering their opinions on a variety of issues like tobacco safety or climate change. Their use of dubious statistics and studies is designed to sow doubt about the credibility of consumer threat – just what their corporate employers want. While Big Tobacco or Big Oil don’t necessarily think these pundits-for-hire will convince everyone that cigarettes don’t cause cancer, or that global warming is a hoax, that’s not important – their actual goal is to convince enough people that there is even a debate to be had, a stalling tactic that’s been successful time and time again in delaying actual substantive change from being made. Kenner slickly details several examples of this public misdirection, adopting a similar feel as in his earlier call to action doc FOOD INC, resulting in an equally enraging and engaging polemic against those entities who put profit ahead of all else.