Latest posts by Russell Cook (see all)
- Dr David Legates: ‘A badge I wear with honor’ - September 18, 2016
- To Be an Objective Reporter, or Not to Be, that is The Question - September 17, 2016
- Merchants of Doubt: A Climate Change Dud - May 28, 2015
Quoting from another movie review:
“… there’s a lot to be angry about. And though Rosebraugh shines a light on plenty of jaw-dropping corruption, it plays out like a shrill rallying cry without catharsis for the already initiated.”
The reviewer is basically talking about enviro-activists — and likely herself — already initiated to the certainty of global warming induced by human activity, and the notion that the only opponents to it are people who deny or lie about reality in the pursuit of their own corrupt personal gain.
But, her concluding remarks about catharsis were specifically about filmmaker Craig Scott Rosebraugh’s failure to extract any enlightening statement out of an undercover effort to confront Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson, and generally about Rosebraugh’s failure to say anything really satisfying about the issue in general.
However, that is only one of the film’s major problems. Its other problem is far more serious: To be truly effective in reaching the otherwise disinterested public and prompting action from them, nobody must question the assertions and insinuations within the film. Start asking questions about the following points, and the movie’s effectiveness begins to crumble.
- The first few seconds show an epic dust storm engulfing the Phoenix metro area in Arizona. But how does it follow that these occurrences happening every summer are the result of global warming-caused drought when they result from thunderstorm downdrafts?
- A dryland farmer laments the death of his lawn as he shows full force water from an open garden hose going down a crack in the grass. But how does it follow that global warming is causing the dry earth to crack, when we see a huge field of dark, green, healthy, very tall corn in the background topped with irrigation machinery? And who in their right mind waters a big lawn with a single open hose rather then with a sprinkler system?
- PR man James Hoggan claims sheer repetition of fossil fuel industry-funded talking points is winning the hearts and minds of the public. But how many times does some variant of the word “deny” occur from this point onward in the film? And regarding his point that skeptics are given free rein in the media, what would his explanation be regarding the utter lack of such skeptics appearing on news outlets like the PBS NewsHour giving their unrestrained viewpoints for the last 17+ years?
- When we are presented with what appears to be a damaging scene where Rep. Jay Inslee humiliates Lord Christopher Monckton over not being an actual Lord, what are viewers to think when they discover that the video ends before Monckton explains to Inslee how he inherited the title from his father?
- In the case of skeptic scientist Fred Singer, we are told that, among other things, he denied the connection of cigarette smoking to cancer. But what happens if we are unable to find any actual transcript or video where he made that assertion?
- The movie claims scientists involved in the ClimateGate scandal were absolved of any wrongdoing in no less than six investigations. But what happens if we viewers are able to find mind-blowing levels of detail about how the investigations were instead poorly handled whitewashes? And regarding Michael Mann’s complaints that reports about his statements were taken out-of-context, what happens when readers read his emails in their full context? And why wasn’t he given just a few minutes to illustrate how his sentences take on a proper meaning in their full context?
I could go on, and likely other people on the skeptic side will offer their insight about the movie. The basic point being that a movie which intends to definitively put the nails in the coffin of those standing in the way of solving man-caused global warming are obligated to do it convincingly — as in demonstrating it has actual proof at its disposal of skeptic climate scientists receiving direct payments from industry executives with corresponding instructions to lie about the issue, while not leaving any doors open for viewers to doubt what is being presented.
When such a movie makes elemental errors which invite viewers to go looking for more, rather than take action on what it advocates, it has lost the ball in epic fashion.
Russell Cook’s collection of writings on this issue can be seen at “The ’96-to-present smear of skeptic scientists.” You may also follow him at Twitter via @questionAGW at his corresponding Facebook page.