The First Amendment team will be screening the new documentary "Merchants of Doubt" at 7:00 p.m. with discussion to follow. The excellent film (based on the book) is the troubling story of how a cadre of influential scientists with extensive political connections ran effective campaigns to mislead the public and deny well-established knowledge about tobacco, acid rain, the ozone hole, global warming and DDT. It shows how the ideology of free market fundamentalism, aided by a too compliant media, skewed public understanding of scientific facts to advance a political and economic agenda.
This documentary 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.