Greedy Lying Bastards 2013
Distributed by TDC Entertainment, 220 East 23rd St., Suite 405, New York, NY 10010
Produced by Craig Rosebraugh
Directed by Craig Rosebraugh
DVD, color, 88 min.
Environmental Ethics, Ecology, Climate Change, Politics, Government
Date Entered: 01/10/2014Reviewed by Andrew Jenks, California State University, Long Beach
The film’s mission is to uncover the unholy alliance, as the filmmakers see it, of business and tea party interests who have poured millions into getting the public to doubt the veracity of global warming. The filmmakers have concocted a morality play with clear villains and heroes. The villains are the oil companies, bogus advocacy groups funded by the ultra-conservative billionaire Koch brothers, and various conservative think tanks. The heroes are the climate scientists who are not merely defending the validity of their claims about global warming; they are also protecting the supposed sanctity of the scientific enterprise and the search for truth. At stake in this battle, as the documentary makes clear, is the fate of the earth. All of this makes for high drama and good entertainment.
One of the bigger themes in this documentary is the general politicization of science. In a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black, global warming deniers have challenged global warming science on the grounds that those who produce the science are just in it for the money. The film recounts the Bush Administration’s active editing of government scientific reports to eliminate evidence and conclusions that might support the claim of man-made global warming. Oil industry executives had infiltrated the agencies responsible for generating climate science upon which governmental policies and regulations would be based.
But there is a price to be paid for the simple story lines pursued in this documentary. The opponents of global warming are not offered enough of an opportunity to present their point of view. Meanwhile, the actual science of global warming does not receive enough attention or analysis; it is simply assumed that any rational person will see, based on images of massive fires and floods, that man-made global warming is a fact. That seems to be true, but more evidence and explanation supporting that position would have helped make this documentary more than an instance of preaching to the choir.
Despite the partisan spirit of the film, there is much in this documentary to recommend. The real strength of the film is to illustrate the alliance of political and business forces in opposition to global warming science. There is a concerted effort by very rich business interests, primarily in the production of oil, to deny global warming so they can continue to conduct their very profitable businesses as usual. They constitute what one scientist in the film calls a “climate change denial movement.”
- Winner Ecofilm Award, Boston Film Festival 2012
- Winner Feature Documentary Burbank Film Festival, 2012