Casting a sceptical eye over what is propagated as ‘science’, Merchants of Doubt exposes how unadulterated capitalism aims to befuddle and deceive from within the media to retain the status quo. From the harm of cigarette smoking to deniers of climate change, Robert Kenner’s documentary uncovers how big business masquerades as science, using sleight of hand to create a media and public debate and ultimately a vile stalemate where debate should never even exist.
Using the metaphor of a magician’s trick, Kenner peels off the layers of deception and illusion by interviewing those on all sides of the ‘debate’, unveiling how doubt and a myriad of opinions can infiltrate science with terrifying consequences. Whilst most of its audience will likely already agree with the film’s thesis, Merchants of Doubt is slickly produced and provides a potent, important attack on those vested interests dedicated to gambling with the planet’s future. New information may be sparse here, yet it makes its point precisely and provides a significant reminder regarding who controls public opinion and why that opinion has becomes shaped the way that it is.
Review by David Rank
Merchants of Doubt is out now in the UK. Running time 96 mins. Certificate 12A (UK).