Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Climate Hustle = "blah". The message: Attack the scientists since you can't dispute the facts

Sou | 8:10 PM Go to the first of 19 comments. Add a comment
Reports from people who went to see Climate Hustle suggest it was typical Marc Morano, the 2012 climate misinformer of the year. The take-away message reported was "If the science isn’t on your side, attack the messenger". Shades of the shameful attack on Senator John Kerry by Marc Morano some years ago.

Anthony Watts gave a few half-hearted plugs to the film, saying it was a popcorn movie - well, sort of :) Judith Curry gave it faint praise, not saying much about what she thought of it, but telling readers that her daughter liked it - because it had her photo in the background. (Judith was taken with Marc Morano's charm, which I understand he can lay on thickly and easily, in the manner of other people sharing his personality traits.)

Short on science deniers who are scientists

It looks as if Marc Morano managed to find only three current climate researchers to trot out. Four if you count Pat Michaels of CATO. The other three were Judith Curry, Roy Spencer, and Roger Pielke Sr.. There was also the economist Richard Tol. That's it, out of all the tens of thousands of climate researchers around the world. These would have been squished in between committed science deniers, such as the nutty Don Easterbrook. He's the chap who thinks that the temperature in cold icy Greenland is a good proxy for global surface temperature. He's known for his spectacularly failed predictions. It also featured such luminaries as the potty peer Christopher Monckton, some NASA space people who took up science denial as a retirement hobby, and a few other has-beens who traipse the science denying circuit. These are in the same league as the anti-vaxxer crusaders and flat-earthers and young earth creationists, except that unlike most of those, there is a right wing political undercurrent to climate science denial in the USA.

If the science isn't on your side, attack the messenger

There were quite a few comments at WUWT from people who saw the film (archived here). The only ones who wrote about a takeaway message said it was to ad hom or lie about scientists, saying: if the scientific data isn't "on your side", then attack the messenger instead. I didn't think the film would have had quite as blatant a message, though the tag line was conspiracy theory 101: Are they trying to control the climate . . . or you? Here are two comments from WUWT where they spelt out the message they got from the film.

Dan (no longer) in California thought it was "well done" and wrote (my emphasis):
May 2, 2016 at 7:14 pm
I just came back from seeing it in Midland, TX, home of lots of oil wells. I thought it was well done. About 150 seats were occupied. I thought the panel at the end did a good job of discussing opposite viewpoints. To me, the theme of the whole thing was correctly: “If the science isn’t on your side, attack the messenger”

In case you think I misunderstood and that the message was that pro-science people rely on ad homs, that wasn't it. BobM  got the same message:
May 2, 2016 at 5:55 pm
Just got home from viewing it. Some digital glitch skipped over the entire last section and took us right to the discussion panel at the end, so I don’t know what the last segment was about or how the film ended.
Very interesting, though. I liked it but felt it could have been harder hitting on the data in some cases… more than once they mentioned “when the data isn’t on your side attack the messenger”, without showing that some of the very basic data IS on our side (unless that was all in the last segment). 

Sarah Palin: Who am I to question 97% of climate scientists?

The same night that elderly science deniers braved the warm spring weather to step out to see Marc Morano's climate conspiracy film, Jimmy Kimmel devoted a segment to it on his late night show on US television (h/t Ric Werme at WUWT). It would be fair to say Jimmy Kimmel's take-down was watched by almost two and a half million people, which would be two orders of magnitude greater than those who've seen "Climate Hustle". (I'm basing that on an average of 50 people at each of 500 theatres showing "Climate Hustle", which could be an over-estimate.)

Watch it. It's not the best take down of deniers ever, but it's quite good, and includes a clip of Sarah Palin that could become a classic.

Warning: sensitive language <bleeped>.

Here's another oldie but goodie from Australian climate scientists:


Viewer reviews of Climate Hustle are underwhelming

Despite the fact that the film was probably meant to soothe any disquiet fake sceptics may have been feeling after all the hottest on records these past few decades, not everyone was enthusiastic. I didn't get any sense of jubilation that this film would turn climate science on its head, or that it would persuade anyone to be converted to science denial.

The general impression one gets is that this was a lightweight film, not well executed, not very professional, and not likely to be the big hit that the lengthy build-up promised. That's consistent with the review at DeSmog blog the other day. Here are the viewer reviews from WUWT (archived here):

joelobryan had nothing good or bad to say, except that he left before Sarah Palin came on:
May 2, 2016 at 9:58 pm
I left at the end of the movie as the panel discussion was starting. I had need to hear anything involving Sarah Palin. Poor choice to include her.

AndyG55 warns filmgoers to watch out for "far-left-wing nutters" just waiting...:
May 2, 2016 at 5:53 pm
Be wary outside cinemas.
There are a lot of far-left-wing nutters out there…
…. just waiting for the chance to try to enforce their totalitarian beliefs. 

After his comment (above) BobM added an attendance estimate:
May 2, 2016 at 5:57 pm
P.S. – pretty good attendance. Over 50 people. More than in some of the other regular movies.
RTW was non-committal, except that he didn't much like the panel discussion (no-one did that I can see):
May 2, 2016 at 6:30 pm
I just got home from watching it. I bought the last available seat in the house (except for a few seats on the very front row).
Anthony, I didn’t know beforehand that you were in the movie. By the time I recognized your name on the screen, they had moved on to something else.
I could have done without the panel discussion at the end.

co2islife thought it was "pretty well done". Not exactly a glowing endorsement from a committed science denier:
May 2, 2016 at 6:32 pm
Just saw it, it was pretty well done, and accomplished what it wanted to. They have a part 2 in the works. Sarah Palin didn’t add much at the end, and it really wasn’t a smart choice having her on the panel. One thing to note is that some identical quotes and clips were used in the documentary The Changing Climate of Global Warming. 
H.R. said his wife enjoyed it "quite a bit", but didn't know the main characters :)
May 2, 2016 at 7:08 pm
Just got back from the movie about 20 minutes ago. My wife, who has read a few of the political articles here, enjoyed it quite a bit, though she didn’t get what I was whispering about Homer Simpson when James Hansen was on. She also wasn’t quite sure who Lord Monckton was. I pointed out that every time he posts here, sock puppets come out of the woodwork to start the (almost a WUWT tradition now) “He’s not really a Lord” attempt to derail the thread. I’ll have to point her to one of his (very funny) skewerings focused on the political aspects of the CAGW non-debate.
The Al Gore ice core temperature vs. CO2 goof should have been slowed a bit more and a laser pointer or production effect used to to hammer home the lead/lag relationship. The spaghetti graph of the models would have made a nice addition.
It’s clear that the movie was not geared to the long-time readers here, but I believe it made quite a few excellent points regarding the alarmism as the prod to get everyone to “Act NOW!” and submit to our benevolent one-world government overlords.
It should make CAGW fence-sitters look further into the topic

Mario Lento has written probably the longest review, not altogether glowing but he seems to think it passed muster. He was disappointed that Marc couldn't dig up more deniers who are also climate scientists. Not enough 3 per centers around I guess:
May 2, 2016 at 11:08 pm
Your comments are right on, Anthony. And there should have been much more of you in there.
I think the movie was very basic, and fun to watch. Climate skeptic for dummies. But, good for people who are not [yet] skeptics, if only they would watch it. They would not find it confusing.
There was a lot of time wasted not digging into more of a solid case. But that is the case with most documentaries. There were too few skeptical scientists taking part in the film. Judith Curry was in there a lot. Would love to have seen Lindzen.
I did not need nor enjoy the comedy, as it detracted from the seriousness of the subject matter. That is, on the one hand, people really and truly believe that skeptics are blocking a solution to an impending – but in this film, the comical aspects of it could make it appear that skeptics treat this immaturity, as if to laugh in ignorance. Maybe it works, though, to sort of laugh off the alamists.
Morano did interview well, without coming across as stubborn or religious. He sounded very bright and well spoken. I do not think he is as good of a debater as he could be. He should have been able to put some nails in the coffin when debating Bill Nye the science guy. But most of that footage was NOT part of Climate Gate, rather it was used during the Interview after the movie.
The interview at the end of the film, with Sarah Palin, pointed out how alarmist silence debate and dissent, so that was good. I think Palin’s very smart and has solid principles. With long run on sentences, Sarah said many correct things, but still comes off as whimsical. This will instantly turn some people off.
The quality of images and some video captured from the Internet was of very low quality. However the rest of the film was of good quality. Towards the end, I felt good very about the messages.

daveburton said he liked it, but was disappointed he couldn't network:
May 2, 2016 at 7:16 pm
I liked the movie, but I was disappointed that there was no good opportunity for networking, at least at our theater.

After the movie, they showed a mostly boring prerecorded “panel discussion,” during which much of the movie audience trickled out. Then, when the movie was over, it blared loud, obnoxious music during the credits, and the theater kept the lights out, both of which made it very difficult to talk, or even hand out business cards, and also made it impossible to solicit email addresses for a local climate interest group.

Richmond didn't give any opinion about the film itself:
May 2, 2016 at 8:19 pm
I saw the movie at the AMC in Owings Mills, Maryland. My friend and I were the first ones in the theater and the rest poured in at the opening. There were about 32 people in all. About half left sometime during the panel discussion. One man remarked that he was surprised to see so many reactionaries. The people were a rather subdued lot and I was thinking that maybe I should have staged a mock protest before the movie started. Oh well, at least there are drinks now. It was great to see Anthony Watts get a part; go Anthony!

Travis Casey was one of the few who gave a descriptive review, FWIW:
May 2, 2016 at 8:22 pm
I saw it in Houston with about 50 people. Audience members were howling with laughter at the alarmist’s predictions. Prince Charles was particularly skewered by his own words. Lots of goalpost moving. Bob Carter had a lot of screen time, which kinda made me sad because of his recent passing. It wasn’t geared towards Anthony’s or Tony Heller’s readership, but more for general audiences. I would like to give each of my FB friends a DVD.

gregole said that Anthony Watts was "great".
May 2, 2016 at 9:49 pm

Just got back from a screening in Phoenix – well attended, in fact at the box office they claimed it was sold out and wouldn’t sell a guy a ticket but I had an extra and sold it to him. The Prince Charles sequence got some great laughs… too bad it really isn’t all that funny. That dufus is actually the crown prince of England. Sad.

It was geared toward a general audience, IMHO, and Anthony, you were great!

Doug Hilliard thought it was "pretty good" except for the panel discussion:
May 2, 2016 at 8:25 pm
I watched it tonight at the Cary, NC showing; it was pretty well attended and the crowd seemed to like it. The panel discussion at the end was boring to me and I left before that was over. The movie was pretty good; light on data but did a good job showing lots of climate scientists who are not drinking the Kool Aid.

littlepeaks didn't have anything good or bad to say about the film itself, but he liked the song:
May 2, 2016 at 8:55 pm
I watched it at one of the two theaters showing it in Colorado Springs. There were only about 35 people watching the movie. The only place I heard about the movie was on wattsupwiththat (going home, I heard it mentioned on a radio talk show), so I think if more people heard about it, more people would have showed up. I would like to get a copy of “The Climate Change Song” which played during the credits at the end of the movie. Any hints on how to do that?

GTL didn't like it, saying it was poorly done.
May 2, 2016 at 9:13 pm
Saw the movie tonight. Honestly thought it was poorly done and not likely to sway anyone’s opinion. Seemed like a show from the fifties, very outdated in production technique. Also short on useful facts; no “take always” that could be used effectively against an alarmist.
My wife thought it was boring, nothing memorable.
Many in the theatre left early.
Too bad, for all the hype it seems an opportunity lost.

Greg Raven gave it a thumbs down overall, I'd say. I've no idea what he thought the missing "most important aspects" are:
May 2, 2016 at 9:45 pm
Great information, but poorly presented. Almost completely avoided mentioning one of the most important aspects of this whole disaster-in-the-making: Cui bono?

Aarne H blamed low attendance on "the bust". I don't know what "the bust" is. Perhaps this was caused by all the extreme drought, heat and floods in Texas in the last few years?
May 2, 2016 at 9:48 pm
I saw it in Midland, TX. I bought my ticket last week figuring that it might sell out quick. The theatre was half full (to be generous). To be fair, the bust has hit the area pretty hard and things around town are pretty dead. I did like the movie, although the Palin bit should have been left out. The 97% meme should have been a slam dunk as well but that missed the mark. Maybe get more feedback/opinion on the next movie to make sure all points are crystal clear.

Stu thought the film shouldn't have included Sarah Palin:
May 2, 2016 at 10:05 pm
I saw the film in Fort Collins, CO tonight. The theater was full. A few seats were empty, but based on how full it was I am willing to bet it was sold out and those people didn’t make it for whatever reason.
I drove two hours each way to see it. There were no surprises in the film for me, but global warming is my hobby.
I agree with Aarne. Even though I like Palin, I didn’t feel she had much to offer in this circumstance.

joelobryan recognises that there could be legal problems for people who falsely accuse scientists of fraud, but wished the film had done so just the same:
May 2, 2016 at 10:07 pm
Saw in Tucson, Az, Park Place Cinemas. Maybe 80 folks, about 1/3 full.
The transitions between topics were too long with all the fast visual sliding in and out of newspaper article sets, otherwise well done. Marc needs more work on be more natural with hand gestures and less repetition of hand movements.
Freeman Dyson would also have been a good skeptic to have had in it. Too bad he wasn’t.
More needs to be shown on the climate records manipulations by NOAA, NASA, UKMO, but I get it that that can get into legal problems of accusing fraud without enough evidence, so lawyers don’t like the liability of that tack. 

Louise Nicholas didn't see anything in the film that would persuade normal people to reject climate science:
May 2, 2016 at 10:20 pm
Saw it in Dublin, CA- smallish theater- good turnout maybe 60+ there. Nothing “new” for WUWT regular readers. Seemed short on backup information. If I had watched it to hear the other side, , I’m not sure why I should have believed Marc over any of the warmists on many of the points. .Occasionally he made clear points stick, but in general would have liked more hard numbers. I directed several people after the show to head here at WUWT for more detailed information. Thought Curry was excellent (although she too was a bit more general than I know she is), would have liked to see more of Anthony. Loved seeing Bob Carter- I think one of his Youtube lectures would have been more effective swaying people.. I appreciate what Marc was trying to do,but it took him a long time to make his points.. AND The panel at the end was pointless- the moderator phrased his questions in the way he wanted them answered, and Palin, really??? Listening to her is like nails on a chalkboard for me- so I had to leave early. Would have liked time for networking afterwards as well. , Even in the beginning talking to neighbors would have been more interesting than the “making of the film” piece done before the show started. Not disappointed I went, but then I knew in advance, that it was going to be hard to beat the information,dialogue and interest of WUWT. Thank you Anthony! 

Robert Clemenzi didn't give it a rave review:
May 2, 2016 at 10:27 pm
Saw it in Fairfax, VA. The theater was almost sold out, but many of the “sold” seats were empty. For me, the music was too loud, it was distracting and made it hard to follow the dialog. I was hoping to see more science. My friend (who enjoyed it) agreed that, without more facts, it was mainly just propaganda. People started leaving during the panel part – most of that should have been left out.

The ad for the next film should have also been omitted.

I got the impression that many of the attendees there were already skeptics. As a result, if no one changed their opinion, the film has little value.

Eugene WR Gallun figured it was aimed at people who aren't familiar with climate denier propaganda. He added later that about 25 people were in the theatre:
May 2, 2016 at 10:31 pm
The movie seemed to be Skeptic 101 — designed for those who know little about the climate wars. Probably a lot of the audience who went to see it were quite knowledgeable and might have thought the movie somewhat lightweight — but it will introduce newcomers to many of the issues. On the whole a very worthwhile production. Considering the budget I give it 41/2 stars out of 5.

In the panel discussion I think Sarah Palin had the worst day of her life. I like her and respect her intelligence but during that shoot she didn’t have it. Had they a slightly larger budget they would have re-shot the whole thing. I think. I have had days like that and I feel for her.

Eugene WR Gallun

Bob said he was disappointed with the attendance (less than 100, which seems a lot to me), and that most of them were old people. He added that he left during Sarah Palin's panel, which like almost everyone else, he didn't like:
May 2, 2016 at 11:20 pm
I saw the domumentary in Kennesaw, Georgia at the AMC 24. Monday nights are not a good night for the movie business, and the theater for Climate Hustle had less that a hundred viewers. Kennesaw is in an historically conservative part of town, and I was expecting more attendees. In the Atlanta area there were a couple of other venues showing the movie.
It seemed that grey heads like me dominated the audience. I was surprised that I saw a few of what seemed like millennials in attendance.
The documentary was well done, and Marc Morano is an excellent host. It does not take a technical person to watch it, and that is a great strength of the movie. It would be better if Morano could secure some television showings. 

Brad said there were more people where he saw it. His contribution was laughing in the right places and clapping at the end.
May 3, 2016 at 12:03 am
We watched it tonight in Redmond, WA. Home to Mircosoft. Our theater was almost full, ~200, mostly older folks. We laughed inthe right places and clapped at the end.
Expected outside protests but none showed up.

So there you have it. No ringing endorsements, but not a complete flop with most of the deniers either. The general consensus seemed to be "blah..."


  1. "Expected outside protests but none showed up.' Brad

    'Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.' Bonaparte

  2. "I saw the movie at the AMC in Owings Mills, Maryland. My friend and I were the first ones in the theater and the rest poured in at the opening. There were about 32 people in all"

    wow, some hyperbole

    32 people literally "poured" in

    must have been quite a small door

    1. In the interest of supreme pedantry, there were 30 people in this human tsunami. Two were already inside and witnesses to the event.

    2. "about 32 people"??

      "About"? I might have said 'about 30'. Sounds like this person especially counted the number of attendees. Maybe they were allowing for possible error margins in the counting.

      Possibly just a precision freak. Not necessarily someone who's desperate or anything. Not at all.

    3. Similarly, about 2097152 people saw the Kimmel show.

      Nothing wrong with rounding to the nearest power of two.

    4. Well 30 or 32, I have seen more people waiting for a bus - in the rain

  3. Not sure if you are snarking about "the bust", but Midland is suffering from the drop in oil prices.


    Texas has a lot of wind and solar potential, so they'll be fine in the long run if they are smart.

    1. Thanks for the explanation. I didn't know what was meant by the "bust". It makes sense now. (Not sure what Midland is. Is that a region in Texas?)

    2. It's a small city (and county) in West Texas that saw a short-lived boom due to revitalized oil production from the Permian Basin, partly (or largely) due to fracking.

  4. I'm guessing that the vast majority in attendance in the various cinemas across the country were from the readership of WUWT, Climate Etc., er... etc. And probably a few RWNJ friends they managed to drag along. Nobody else would be interested.

    It's telling that even when viewed through the lens of extreme confirmation bias that exists among this lot, that quite a few of them thought the film was sub-par.

  5. If Curry, Spencer and Pielke Sr. were in the film, then who's left apart from Christy and Lindzen?

    1. You raise an interesting point, Magma. Those are the only ones with any notoriety (except - and this is just off the top of my head - Soon, but he's not a climate scientist per se, rather an astrophysicist, IIRC). But if you think about it, how many of the tens of thousands of scientists out there practicing in a climate related field do laypersons like myself actually know? I would guess maybe about 30, and I've been reading about climate science with due diligence for about 7 years.

      So, just like actual climate scientists who have a clue... that number in the tens of thousands, there must be something in the order of *at least* 1000 contrarian climate scientists who are of that particular ideological bent that predisposes them to thinking that way. And we have not a clue who these people are because they have little apparent presence in the blogosphere.

    2. The denier position was always going to have a problem with recruitment. Very few people entering the field in the last thirty years will have chosen to launch their careers tied to such an obvious loser.

      People like Lindzen and Curry have got thirty years of delicious attention and lost all scientific credibility, which they no longer have need of.

    3. I don't think there are very many climate scientists who are contrarian. From looking at the work of Cook13, I think that most of the 3% were probably not climate experts. Some of them are physicists (and solar physicists) and economists and statisticians and from other various disciplines in or outside the hard sciences, who managed to get papers published somewhere.

  6. Standing room only (just kidding, actually) at the Climate Hustle event MC'd by my hometown denier hero John Coleman. Look at the empty tables behind him.

    My snarky RT here.

  7. Checked to see if its still playing locally

    The movie is no longer playing in San Diego :-/

    However, it is still playing in some theatres, but far far away...

    Seems appropriate!

    1. Yes, but wasn't it one night only, 02 May 2016? And then straight to DVD to plague us forever, of course :-)

    2. DVD? More likely VHS or Beta...

      R the Anon


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