NYFF52- Liz’s Review: ‘Merchants of Doubt’ is a Fact-Checking Fangirl’s Dream

nyff New York Film Festival 2014Merchants1Director Robby Kenner (Food, Inc.) brings us an eye opening documentary on the sleight of hand of the rich and on the right in terms of media manipulation. Often, we wonder why folks vote against their best interest and don’t even know it. Some of the “why” has to do with highly paid “con artists”; lobbyists and spin doctors hired by people like the Koch Brothers, big tobacco, and climate change deniers. Despite actual scientific evidence, much of America is somehow under the impression that human beings are not the cause of climate change. While baffling to half of the country, these people are being spoon-fed talking points that are created by some very talented characters.

Kenner exposes a multitude of key players (on both sides of science) that have been in the game since the 50’s. From the lies they told the public that smoking had no link to cancer to the present day “experts” Fox News calls upon to present a “fair and balanced” view on the environment. Kenner talks with actual climate change scientists. Many receiving daily emails with death threats. We also meet the reporters responsible for bringing to light much of the garbage being spewed as fact, uncovering internal documents from the tobacco and climate change deniers.

The most shocking moments in the film are sit down interviews with these masters of social deception. Calling them out by name seems to have no effect on their delusions. Frankly, why should they when they admit their paychecks are massive. Merchants of Doubt will make you angry. In a press conference following our screening today, Kenner is pleased with the display of passion in response to the film. He is hopeful that we can continue to conversation while realistic in knowing this film may not sway the opinions most needed. If the 1st annual Climate Change march here in NYC is any indication, Merchants of Doubt has arrived right on time.



About Liz Whittemore

Liz grew up in northern Connecticut and was memorizing movie dialogue from Shirley Temple to A Nightmare on Elm Street at a very early age. She will watch just about any film all the way through (no matter how bad) just to prove a point. A loyal New Englander, a lover of Hollywood, and true inhabitant of The Big Apple.

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