Social Issues in Film Series Presents “Merchants of Doubt” Feb. 20

| February 14, 2017

VALDOSTA — Valdosta State University’s 2016-2017 Social Issues in Film Series will present “Merchants of Doubt” at 7 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 20, in Nevins Hall Room 1061. Admission to the screening is free of charge and is open to all students, faculty, staff, retirees, alumni, and friends of the university.

“Merchants of Doubt” investigates the patterns of public relations tactics designed to confuse consumers. The documentary examines the messages presented to the public regarding issues such as tobacco, acid rain, global warming, and more, and questions if the information is as true as it seems.

Robert Kenner, the documentary’s director, writer, and producer, interviewed public relations experts, scientists, and even magicians to unearth the techniques behind the conflicting media messages.

“It offends me when someone takes the skills of my honest living and uses them to twist, distort, and manipulate people and their sense … of how the world works,” said Jamy Ian Swiss, a professional magician interviewed in the documentary.

The film was inspired by the book titled “Merchants of Doubt,” written by Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway.

“Merchants of Doubt” premiered in 2014 at the Telluride Film Festival in Berkeley, Calif., and has since earned the award for Best Original Score for a Documentary at the Hollywood Music in Media Awards and three other award nominations. The film is presented by Mongrel Media and Sony Pictures Classics.

Dr. Lorna Alvarez-Rivera, Dr. Tom Hochschild, Dr. Anne Price, and Dr. Shelly Yankovsky, faculty members in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminal Justice, sponsor VSU’s annual Social Issues in Film Series.

Contact Dr. Tom Hochschild at to learn more.

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