In the case of cigarettes wherein an industry stands to benefit directly in profit and image by spreading disinformation (a la Thank You for Smoking) about the clearly proven facts of cigarettes and their link to cancer, it’s understandable why they’re pushing so hard. However, that war for the eyes and ears of public opinion has taken a backseat in the last decade as a new one stepped forward: climate change. With a charge led by Vice President Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth, the scientific results accepted and peer reviewed by the vast majority of climate scientists made major strides in the arena of legislation. The problem is, that movement had opponents whose opinions weren’t necessarily based on facts but personal interest, and so they began a campaign of disinformation to spread doubt about the validity of climate change.If you’ve ever wondered just how backwards America has become in that hard scientific data could be tossed aside due to little more than personal feeling, Frontline’s Climate of Doubt is an incredibly disturbing look into the political machine that fought back against the widely accepted scientific conclusions on climate change.
Even with no real data to back their side of the story of human input having only a minor impact on climate change, they charged forward and succeeded in swaying a vast percentage of public opinion (primarily in fiscal conservative circles) based not on competing scientific results but by insinuating the scientists were liberals attempting to further expand the role of government by imposing a false specter of climate-inflicted doom. In this highly divided political environment, that was more than enough. Just by suggesting that the scientific data of climate scientists would lead to “liberty restricting” legislation that would impede free markets (which is just as baseless), organizations like Heartland and the American Tradition Institute distorted the perception of climate change as a belief amongst a fringe group of climate scientists while suggesting most believe climate change is just a temporary glitch.
It didn’t matter if they were actually right or had any truth on their side; it just mattered if it kept the donor money pouring in. There are few portraits of American politics more sickening than what Frontline presents here, and it makes you doubt the future of our country when the scientific data collected by the experts in a field can be so gleefully tossed aside in favor of talking points sent down by companies and individuals (like the Koch Brothers) with a vested interest in seeing business move along as usual.
It’s like the old saying goes, “if you can’t beat ‘em, skew the hard data, slander the scientists who collected it, and bully anyone who stands by it.” The people behind these campaigns of doubt and disinformation are the reason this country’s political system is burning to the ground.
DVD Bonus Features
There are none.
"Frontline: Climate of Doubt" is on sale January 1, 2013 and is not rated. Documentary. Directed by Catherine Upin. Written by John Hockenberry, Catherine Upin.