Editing Out the Truth

Film Recommendation

Everything’s Cool (2007)

Pretending Climate Change Isn’t Happening

Although this one came out a couple years ago, it is no less relevant and insightful. In Everything’s Cool, the documentary filmmakers Daniel B. Gold & Judith Helfand explore the science behind global warming, and the United States government’s response to the plethora of scientific evidence and urgent warnings that immediate action and attention are needed. The alarms were met with cool cynicism and doubt (See Deception Dealers). Rather than act on the information, the truth was warped and censored in order to maintain the status quo.

stormtroopers-move-along

Nothing to see here…

During the Bush years in particular, the American President’s response was the often repeated mantra, “we need more information.” Truth be told, this isn’t necessarily a horrible reply. It seems logical enough. Well, it turns out that the US government had copious amount of information. Indeed, piles and piles of it, all leading to the same infallible conclusion. The planet is warming as a direct result of human industrial activity.

Government Censorship

Mum’s the Word

The problem highlighted by the documentary isn’t that the planet is warming, rather the government, who are responsible for representing the population’s best interests, were in fact responsible for essentially censoring the truth about climate change. This was done in a particularly oblique and manipulative manner, not merely blocking out the reports, but literally editing the publications to insert words here, omit words there, in order to dilute the message and generate confusion.

One such arbitrator of truth was the man put in charge of overseeing what climate science related publications are released by the government. Interestingly enough, this individual, White House chief of staff for the Council on Environmental Quality Philip A. Cooney, who happened to be a non-scientist and former oil lobbyist. US citizens would have continued on none-the-wiser were it not for the actions of a frustrated whistleblower by the name of Rick Piltz. Piltz was a senior government climate research coordinator, who resigned in protest and came forward to denounce this “editorial” practice on scientific research.

The Truth Comes Out

Although Cooney eventually resigned from his role and returned to the petroleum industry, the mechanisms by which this censorship took place are still in effect. Meanwhile, Mr. Piltz was left ostracized and destitute, eventually passing away from liver cancer in 2014. Anger and frustration certainly took its toll on Mr. Plitz, but thankfully the truth did surface!  His motivation helped shed a light on these dubious government practices. Before his death he did manage to start-up Climate Science Watch in 2006, as well as  win the Ridenhour Prize for Truth-Telling from The Nation Institute. His struggle will continue to serve as a reminder to others who are fighting similar battles to surface the truth.

controlling the message

Dark Forces at Work

There were a number of other mini stories reported in the film, but I’ll leave you the pleasure of discovering them. Overall, I enjoyed the documentary, finding it to be enlightening and definitely worthy of recommendation. Strangely enough it has also become increasingly difficult to find. While I had first watched this on Netflix, it is no longer available there (US or Canada), nor is it on iTunes. Hopefully this will be fixed soon!

In the meantime, there are other online sites that also share documentaries. Although I haven’t yet found one that offers currently offers it (orI would totally share a link). As far as I can tell, you may need to find it at a local rental place (if such establishment still exist around your neck of the woods), borrow from local library, or rent it via Amazon. It does appears available to rent via Amazon Prime, however this service is not yet available in Canada.

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