‘Merchants of Doubt’ showing at the Wheeler | AspenTimes.com

‘Merchants of Doubt’ showing at the Wheeler

Staff report
The documentary "Merchants of Doubt" will play Saturday, March 28 at the Wheeler Opera House. The free screening is presented by the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies and other local groups.
Courtesy photo |

If You Go …

What: “Merchants of Doubt,” presented by Aspen Center for Environmental Studies

Where: Wheeler Opera House

When: Saturday, March 28, 6 p.m.; reception 8 p.m.

More info: Historian Naomi Oreskes, co-author of the book that inspired the movie, will answer questions after the screening.

Cost: Free

Inspired by the 2010 book by Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway, the acclaimed new documentary “Merchants of Doubt” pulls back the curtain on the corporate-funded spin doctors and science denial industry that perpetuates public doubt and obscures the truth on issues from tobacco smoke to climate change. In the process, it sheds light on a secretive group of highly charismatic pundits-for-hire that present themselves in the media as scientific authorities, yet have the aim of spreading maximum confusion about well-studied public threats to the environment and human health.

The Wheeler Opera House will host a free screening of the film Saturday, after which Oreskes will take audience questions. The local screening is presented by the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies, Aspen Skiing Co., Participant Media and Protect Our Winters.

“This film answers the question: Why do so many Americans doubt climate science, where there’s essentially no science to contradict it?” Auden Schendler, vice president of sustainability at the Aspen Skiing Company, said in a statement.

Made by activist filmmaker and Emmy winner Robert Kenner, who also directed the 2008 food-industry expose “Food, Inc.”

“This is the story of a small group of people who have been remarkably effective at getting the public to disregard the science behind many issues,” Kenner said. “They did it first with tobacco, then with chemicals and food and now they’re doing it with climate change.”

The film’s seven chapters addresses how a subset of the scientific community has run campaigns to mislead Americans on the dangers of tobacco, acid rain, the ozone hole, global warming and DDT.

“There is a need to get this story out there so the people understand the reason there is so much confusion around climate change and other science topics is that there are people out there who are trying to confuse us, who are paid to confuse us,” Oreskes said.

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