Spin Meisters Shape Policy through Lies, Disinformation, Propaganda & the Power of Doubt
What: Screening of Award-Winning Documentary, Merchants of Doubt (Watch trailer below)
When: Monday, September 21st from 7-9pm
Where: Common Street Spiritual Center, 13 Common St., Natick, MA (PLEASE NOTE: change of venue and see map below)
Who: Sponsored by Occupy Natick
What Else: Ample free parking. Light Refreshments.
Please help us promote this event: Click button to download the poster, and please print out and post it wherever you can. Thank you.
This is Election Season
To mark the 2016 Presidential election season, we at Occupy Natick have decided to focus our monthly free movie and discussion events on our broken political system. As always, we will meet on the 3rd Monday of each month.
We are hoping that by attending this series–which will encompass much of our movie agenda for 2015-2016– you will become a wiser and more informed citizen–before you step into the voting booth.
The Primary election in Massachusetts is scheduled for Tuesday, March 1st, Super Tuesday. Although Occupy Natick is a non-partisan (or maybe post-partisan) group, we do encourage We the People to make our voices heard in what ever ways we can. and voting is still one of them.
Now onto the the movie….
As we all know, the cornerstone of our legal-justice system–at least in regard to criminal trials– revolves around the notion of “beyond any shadow of doubt.” If there is doubt about the defendant’s guilt then they walk.
Well, the very clever spin masters of the Industrial-Government Complex have seized upon the power of DOUBT as a way to manipulate public opinion and policy decisions.
Merchants of Doubt is about this very phenomenon. Here’s a quote from the synopsis of the book of the same name from which the movie derives:
The U.S. scientific community has long led the world in research on public health, environmental science, and other issues affecting the quality of life. Our scientists have produced landmark studies on the dangers of DDT, tobacco smoke, acid rain, and global warming. But at the same time, a small yet potent subset of this community leads the world in vehement denial of these dangers.
In their new book, Merchants of Doubt, historians Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway explain how a loose–knit group of high-level scientists, with extensive political connections, ran effective campaigns to mislead the public and deny well-established scientific knowledge over four decades. …Oreskes and Conway roll back the rug on this dark corner of the American scientific community, showing how the ideology of free market fundamentalism, aided by a too-compliant media, has skewed public understanding of some of the most pressing issues of our era. (Source)
The movie is quite entertaining as well as disheartening as we watch the sleight in hand in action knowing full well that our health and that of the planet are being sacrificed for corporate profits with the willing compliance of our elected officials under the influence of campaign contributions.
Here’s How it Plays Out
Monsanto and GMOs
As a recent expose on Monsanto and GMOs notes:
There is no such thing as objective science when a researcher receives tens of thousands of dollars from the GM producers themselves, then goes on to promote their financiers’ products. Corporate collusion between government bureaucracies and educational institutions has become a serious issue in the U.S. that has corrupted objectivity in nearly every sector of American life.(Source)(Source)
U.S. Right to Know is“probing what it sees as collusion between the agricultural biotechnology industry and academics who study science, economics and communication.” (Source)
And this, ripped from the headlines:
“What happens when a private company with a long history of producing some of the most toxic chemicals on the planet and now produces our food starts facing public pressure from a growing national grassroots movement to label their products to conform with basic principles of democracy and transparency?
Well, if the company in question is Monsanto, then you take a page out of Big Tobacco’s playbook and hatch a secret plan to enlist public university scientists to bury the potential harm of your genetically engineered crops by whitewashing negative studies and systematically demonizing your opponents in the media to mislead elected officials and the American public about the safety of GMOs (genetically modified organisms) and their accompanying toxic pesticides.”
Monsanto’s Tobacco Files: University Scientists Caught Conspiring With Biotech Industry to Manipulate Public Opinion on GMOs (Source)
And Exxon Mobile Has Been Funding the Climate Deniers and Lying for over 30 Years
It has recently come to light that Exxon has been covering up the impact of their fossil fuels on climate change for decades using the same trick as explained by Merchants of Doubt.
Even for a fossil fuel company, ExxonMobil’s looking dirty.
Just last week, it earned the distinction of being the fossil fuel giant with the longest known history of climate denial. As early as 1981, it emerged, the company was aware that climate change, as a result of greenhouse gas emissions, was going to be an issue. Internally, it understood the science. Yet its public-facing strategy, over the decades that followed, was one based on denial — a strategy backed by millions of dollars in spending.
Exxon, in response, asserted that it no longer funds climate denial groups. In fact, Exxon swore to quit that habit eight years ago — and then went ahead and kept doing it anyway. According to the Guardian, the company’s given more than $2.3 million to climate denying members of Congress and to that monster of anti-climate science lobbying groups, the American Legislative Exchange Council. [Source}