Sunday, December 06, 2009

Manufacturing Doubt

This essay lays out the similarities between the tobacco industry's campaign to discredit scientific studies showing links between smoking and cancer with the pollution industry's campaign today to discredit scientific studies showing links between human actions and global warming.

Here is a key quote: "...the industry understood that the public is in no position to distinguish good science from bad. Create doubt, uncertainty, and confusion. Throw mud at the anti-smoking research under the assumption that some of it is bound to stick. And buy time, lots of it, in the bargain". The title of Michaels' book comes from a 1969 memo from a tobacco company executive: "Doubt is our product since it is the best means of competing with the 'body of fact' that exists in the minds of the general public. It is also the means of establishing a controversy". Hill and Knowlton, on behalf of the tobacco industry, had founded the "Manufactured Doubt" industry."

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