Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times wrote a wonderful review of Robby Kenner’s movie adaptation of our 2010 Merchants of Doubt a few days ago, “‘Merchants of Doubt’ Shows how Public Opinion is Manipulated.”
It follows on the heels of a not-so-good review on Southern California Public Radio (where I’m a sustaining member), by RH Green: “Merchants of Doubt is the Lord’s Work, Done Badly.”
The crux of the review is that there’s not much new in the film:
“Kenner, who should be praised for scoring some pretty frank interviews with prominent members of the Denial Industrial Complex, has done enough original research that there’s probably some new material in this movie, but if so, then it’s invisible to the naked eye. “
In actuality, 2/3 of the movie’s material isn’t drawn from our book Merchants of Doubt, and 1/3 of it traces events that happened after we finished writing it. The new material is seamlessly integrated–a good thing, in my opinion.
My dissertation advisor, historian of technology Arthur Norberg, once told me that one often learns more about a reviewer from a review than one learns about the book being reviewed. Norberg’s Rule of Reviewing applies to movies as well.