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Merchants of Doubt – Film Night at the Peace/Life Center Jan 20


Climate Change: There Is No Consensus
By DAN ONORATO
What the hell? you probably fumed on reading that headline in Connections. So, now that I have your attention, January’s Film Night features Merchants of Doubt that spotlights the “silver-tongued pundits-for-hire” that make such spurious claims and the tactics they use to manipulate public opinion.
A.O. Scott of the New York Times writes that the documentary “examines the history of corporate-financed public relations efforts to sow confusion and skepticism about scientific research. The filmmakers interview scientists, activists and whistle-blowers who have tried to expose such activities, as well as some of its perpetrators, repentant and otherwise. . . . Their tactics included sending dubiously credentialed experts out into the world to disguise dishonesty as reasonable doubt. “We just don’t know.” “The science is complicated.” “We need more research.”
The film’s examples range over decades and include the propaganda surrounding cigarettes, pharmaceuticals, and now climate change.
Scott concludes his review on a sober note: “the film as a whole” expresses “the faith that reason and facts can defeat propaganda and falsehoods. There is plenty of cause for skepticism on that matter, unfortunately.”
It seems that Orwell’s “Big Lie” is alive and well. We have our work cut out for us. Come see this “informative and infuriating” film (A.O. Scott), Wednesday night, January 20, 6:30 p.m. at the Modesto Peace/Life Center, 720 13th St., Modesto. As always, a discussion will follow.
More information at merchantsofdoubt.org/index.html

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