Merchants of Doubt, a new documentary film designed to paint climate change sceptics as “pundits for hire” in the pay of big business, has tanked at the box office.
Based on a book of the same name by Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway, the film by Robert Kenner purports to show how “Spin doctors spread misinformation and confusion among American citizens to delay progress on such important issues as global climate change.”
But critics have slammed it for being hopelessly biased. One reviewer commented that “As he tries to side his audience against the skeptics, Kenner ends up using the same tactics that they do. Instead of probing his interview subjects for insight into the climate debate, he is content to regurgitate the same facts again and again, hoping his audience will be convinced enough to not want to hear the other side.”
Ukip blogger ‘Rog Tallbloke’ has revealed that Kenner emailed him, exhorting him to ‘spread the message’: “Dear Roger, People who mislead the public on climate change should not be on TV. Period,” the director said.
“That’s one big reason why I produced Merchants of Doubt, a film that lays bare the greedy, shameful world of climate denial and the journalists who broadcast it. That’s also why, right now, we’re launching a people-powered national campaign that could keep climate deniers out of the news for good.
“Merchants of Doubt premieres in U.S. theaters today, and it will invite thousands of energized viewers to sign this petition and join our campaign. Let’s lead the charge! Join me to tell TV network and cable news directors: Stop booking “merchants of doubt” on your programs immediately.”
Unfortunately for Kenner, it seems not many people are interested in leading the charge – not to the box office at least. The film made just $23,300 in its opening weekend, ranking it the 314th best opening weekend ever for a documentary film in the United States, according to the Heartland Institute.