Saturday, March 21, 2015

Professional Liars: Merchants of Doubt

by Catherine Giordano
Merchants of Doubt documentary
Merchants of Doubt Documentary

Did you know that you can earn a living being a professional liar?   Robert Kennar, producer, director, and screenwriter explained how on Real Time with Bill Maher episode 343 which aired on February 13, 2015. It began with tobacco, and moved on to pesticides, ozone, drugs, sugar, and more. The biggest issue right now is climate change.  

Kennar has a new documentary, Merchants of Doubt which was released on March 5, 2015. (It is based on the book, Merchants of Doubt, by Naomi Oreskes and Eric M. Conway. His previous documentary, Food Inc., was nominated for an Academy award.) 

The focus of the documentary is on climate change. He demands that people who mislead the public on climate change should not be on TV. Ever! Climater change is a proven fact. Human activity is causing the climate change is a proven fact.  Climate change will cause massive disruption to human civilization in myriad ways is a proven fact.  It is time for journalists to stop giving equal time to those who deceive the public about these facts.  

Journalists need to report facts.  If someone is spouting misinformation, it is not the jobs of journalists to politely give the liar (or moron) equal time. Journalists are doing the workd a disservice in the name of being fair.  

In 2013, one-third of the climate coverage on CNN and over a half of the climate coverage on Fox News was misleading. In 2014, every Sunday show except CBS’ Face the Nation hosted a climate denier. Mainstream news networks book— professional liars who peddle fake “science” and are often on the payroll of the fossil fuel industry. 

[I often wonder don’t these climate deniers have children and grandchildren. Is the short term profit worth it to them to destroy the world their heirs will have to live in?] 

Maher said that the professional liars and the politicians they have bought put it this way, “If we protect you, it will infringe on your freedom.” (I guess they are referring to your freedom to die an early painful death.) 

View a video clip of Maher’s interview.

Here’s another great video clip. This one from John Oliver on HBO’s Last Week Tonight. Oliver gave an hilarious and convincing dramatization of the folly of giving professional liars equal time. He began by saying we might as well have people debating whether or not 15 is a larger number than 5 and things got even wackier before he was done.
See the full recap and review of episode #343 of Real Time with Bill Maher, titled Unholy BS

Bill Maher’s Guests for February 13, 2015, episode #343

Robert Kennar: Screenwriter, director, producer, His newest movie is Merchants of Doubt, a documentary, based on the book by Naomi Oreskes and Eric M. Conway. His previous documentary, Food Inc., was nominated for an Academy award.  

David Duchovney: Actor, director, author of Holy Cow: A Modern Day Dairy Tale  

Tom Davis: Former Representative (R, VA), author of Partisan Divide: Congress in Crisis (with Martin Frost and Richard E. Cohen)

Zanny Milton Bedoes: Editor in Chief of The Economist magazine 

Baratunde Thurston: writer, comedian and entrepreneur, author of How to Be Black