Greedy Lying Bastards is part of a story that the U.S. “mainstream media” refuses to report, or has no interest in reporting. It is about climate change, but more importantly, about how those who profit from the status quo environmentally are engaged in a systematic campaign to deny that climate change is taking place.
Directed by first-time director Craig Scott Rosebraugh and executive produced by actress and noted environmental activist Darryl Hannah, Greedy Lying Bastards shows very graphically how climate change is altering the landscape of our lives. Drought, wildfires, systematic increases in the numbers and strength of tropical cyclones are on the rise. Meanwhile, one arm of the media gives a bully pulpit to those trying to claim that the real scientists are wrong on the issue.
Now the moment the film makes mention of the Koch Brothers, some will leap to the conclusion that the title is pointed squarely at them. Rosebraugh told Tail Slate that it is actually aimed at everyone involved in and profiting from the effort to deny climate change is occurring. “I don’t know if it’s advertising revenues or just a case of ideology, but Fox News gives lots of air-time to the people who offer theories about these issues that were debunked long ago by real scientists.
In fact, three of the leading climatologists out there appear in the film. Dr. Peter Tans is a senior scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Dr. Michael Mann is the director of the Penn State Earth System Science Center and Dr. Kevin Trenberth is a senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. Their credentials are impeccable. The same cannot be said of the talking heads that the oil industry and others who want to argue that our climate is not changing. They lack credentials. They lack a scientific basis for their claims. And they do not lack in money from the Koch Brothers and big oil.
Those who would lose money from any real effort to deal with this problem are willing to spend to maintain things as they are. The Koch Brothers have spent nearly $70 million in the last 15 years supporting phony groups that claim to be working to preserve the environment while in fact doing the exact opposite. Exxon-Mobil has spent nearly $30 million on the same agenda. Greedy Lying Bastards documents all of this and does so with a tremendously effective visual presentation. It makes excellent use of graphics, charts and would have been an excellent primer for H. Ross Perot prior to his abysmal use of such things in his presidential campaigns.
Viewers may agree or disagree about the film’s take on one of the major U.S. Supreme Court decisions thus far this century, Citizens United v FEC, but the film offers an effective argument to overturn it. It also makes the point that as long as elections are “for sale” in this nation, people are always going to be trying to buy them.
Mr. Rosebraugh also took the mainstream media to task during his interview with Tail Slate. When asked why they don’t really report much on this issue he said “we made those three leading climatologists available to the press for interviews when we started promoting the film. No one wanted to interview them. They only wanted to talk to Darryl Hannah or me. I think they’ve abdicated their responsibility to report on this subject and only public pressure, by films like this and the people themselves will get them to cover climate change.
Documentary films often have an agenda and may sometimes be a bit edgy in promoting that agenda. That’s not the case here. To borrow a phrase, Greedy Lying Bastards presents a “fair and balanced” look at the issue of climate change and is a film that everyone should see.