Merchants of Doubt

Watch Merchants of Doubt

"How a handful of scientists obscured the truth on issues from tobacco smoke to global warming."
  • PG-13
  • 2015
  • 1 hr 36 min
  • 7.6  (3,924)
  • 70

Merchants of Doubt is a 2014 documentary film directed by Robert Kenner, which explores the world of professional skeptics, or "merchants of doubt." The film follows a group of scientists, journalists, and activists who are working to expose this group for what they are - individuals paid to create doubt and confusion around scientific research that could potentially have a negative impact on corporate profits.

The film centers around the work of the scientists Naomi Oreskes and Frederick Singer, both of whom have been involved in high-profile battles over the truth about climate change. Singer, a vocal climate change skeptic, has been a leading figure in the movement to downplay the severity of global warming, often citing data that has been debunked by the scientific community. Oreskes, on the other hand, has been a staunch advocate for the scientific consensus on climate change, and has been quick to call out individuals like Singer for their misinformation campaigns.

Throughout the film, we see how Singer and his allies operate, using a mix of rhetoric, scare tactics, and outright lies to sow confusion around scientific issues. The film takes us behind the scenes of their operations, showing us how they work to manipulate public opinion by controlling the media narrative and pushing their messages through friendly politicians and other influential figures. We see how this group has successfully cast doubt on everything from the dangers of secondhand smoke to the reality of global warming, all in service of their corporate sponsors.

Despite the bleak picture that the film paints, it is not entirely without hope. The documentary also highlights the work of activists and other individuals who are fighting back against the merchants of doubt. One of these individuals is magician Jamy Ian Swiss, who uses his skills as a performer to expose the techniques that the merchants of doubt use to deceive their audiences. Another is blogger Myron Ebell, who has been a vocal critic of the Trump administration's efforts to roll back environmental protections.

Ultimately, Merchants of Doubt is a chilling look at the ways in which corporate interests can shape public opinion and stifle scientific progress. Through interviews with experts and archival footage, the film reveals just how deep the roots of this problem run, and how far-reaching its effects can be. But it also offers a glimmer of hope, showing us that there are individuals and organizations out there fighting back against this trend, and that change is possible if we work together.

In conclusion, Merchants of Doubt is a compelling and important documentary that shines a light on the insidious tactics used by those who seek to undermine scientific consensus for their own financial gain. It is a timely reminder that we must remain vigilant against those who would seek to deny the realities of the world we live in, and that we must continue to support those working to hold them accountable.

Merchants of Doubt is a 2015 documentary with a runtime of 1 hour and 36 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.6 and a MetaScore of 70.

Merchants of Doubt
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 36 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.6  (3,924)
  • Metascore