The film, based on a book, is basically an exposure of how corporate interests deliberately use their wealth to deceive public opinion, lest that opinion move against the harmful products on which their corporate wealth depends. Such as Big Finance, Big Pharma, Big Tobacco, Big Oil, Big Agri and Big Agri-Chem are all big in the business of big public harm and big public deception. This film reveals how they do it.
If blatant lies prove too risky, the technique developed by Big Tobacco and now being followed and perfected by the other corporates that find themselves faced with the same dilemma of public ethics v. private shareholders’ profits, is to create, apparently science-based, doubt. In reality the merchants of this doubt are public relations patsies, some with scientific backgrounds and some not. All are paid significant sums for their skills and their willingness to deceive the big corporates’ customers no matter the individual and societal harm that ultimately ensues. So shameless are they that they even seek to prosecute those who expose their criminality. Click: Suing the truth-tellers.
The main stream media (MSM) advertently, or inadvertently, goes along with the plot. In many cases, the media depends hugely on advertising placed by the spin-doctors’ clients. Furthermore, the ‘ethics,’ of journalism demand a perceived ‘neutral’ role in reporting matters of public interest. To preserve this image of impartiality in a debate, both sides have to be given equal airing. The fact that, for instance, 97%+ of the Globe’s climate scientists are deeply concerned about rapid, human induced, climate change, does not mean that the remaining, less than 3%, of voices raised against it, shouldn’t be offered the same amount of time and space in the MSM.
The last thing the MSM corporates want on their hands is a totally depressed public. Humans need to be given at least some good news. When given a choice of believing good news, or bad news, humans instinctively seek comfort and are made happier by accepting the good. Tobacco smoking causes no harm; genetically modified foods are perfectly harmless and great for everyone’s economic welfare: climate change is a natural phenomenon and has nothing to do with the fact that in the past two centuries, humans have released into the atmosphere around 50% of all the carbon that Earth’s natural process took hundreds of millions of years to safely sequester, etc.
“Merchants of Doubt,’ concentrates on the criminality of corporates. However, as some of my previous blogs attest, there is an at least matching effort put into the deliberate spreading of deceit and misinformation by governments in regard to their own criminality and in the levelling of false accusations against other parties. Here is a quote worth remembering: “We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.” … William Casey, CIA Director (from first staff meeting in 1981.)
What impressed me most about ‘Merchants of Doubt’ was the almost gleeful admission of guilt by some of those interviewed. For them, the total of future human suffering to be attributable to their crime had no resonance. They were getting paid well for doing a job. A professional assassin could perhaps get through a couple of hundred murders in the course of a lifetime. These people, especially in the case of climate change, in which they have successfully managed to reduce the World’s remaining reaction time by ten or twenty, what seem likely to prove critical, years, will be able to count millions and possibly billions of premature human deaths to their credit. They and their pay-masters are in fact guilty of attempted mass-manslaughter and ecocide on an enormous scale.
I had a father, who chose to believe the blandishments of those that claimed that smoking was harmless and consequently, died at the hands of Big Tobacco. Now, I have grand-children, whom I fear may ultimately die at the hands of Big Oil, because too many of my own generation chose to believe the lies the self-seeking climate change deniers have paid to have disseminated. I feel nothing but loathing for these merchants of an unprecedented scale of future death, destruction and human misery.
“Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power.” If you accept that, Mussolini, as the arch-practitioner of fascism, was correct in his definition, then neo-liberalism, as it opens the gates of sovereign states to the corporate storm-troopers of the globalised economy, should be recognised as fascism’s fifth column.
While those not involved in this conspiracy remain lethargic and accepting of the situation that is undertaking their lives, there will be little that can be done to deter the sort of criminality that is the subject of this blog. However, it would be good to know that there were active plans afoot for a post-neo-liberal model of democratic governance. Such a solution, one would hope, would also include the most stringent legal sanctions against both state and private actors guilty of deliberately deceiving the public in such matters as those discussed here. Perhaps Nuremberg could provide a model for the trial of such criminals?
As this one of my shorter blogs – here is some additional reading on diverse matters:
Click: How serious it is. Climate change – where some see us now.
Click: Government deceptions. US lies on Ukraine. (A rather more extreme view, One has to bear in mind that many of those telling lies, do so in good faith as they are themselves victims of the lies they have been told.)
Click: Greece for Sale Further to my blog No 50: Where NZ could end up – with all profitable activities owned offshore – what hope for the future of Greece?