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Climate of Doubt

PBS // 2012 // 60 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // January 17th, 2013

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All Rise...

This DVD warms Judge David Johnson's globes.

The Charge

The politics of global warming.

The Case

PBS's investigative show Frontline turns its lens towards a mildly divisive topic: global warming. Airing October 22, 2012 Climate of Doubt jumps into the controversy with both feet, looking at the pro-climate-change crews and the skeptics that wage the war for public opinion; a war, by the way, that seems to have shifted away from the climate change supporters for now.

Frontline host John Hockenberry interviews all manner of player in the debate, from politicians of both Republican and Democrat stripes to scientists to non-scientists and think tank heavy hitters. It's a wide swath of sources and they all give intense soundbites. Basically, everyone thinks they're right and the other guy is wrong. But that's the nature of this particular debate—it's heated.

Yeah I went there. And after spending 55 minutes with this back-and-forth I'm desperate for levity, pun or no.

There's science talk strewn in here, but the focus of the program is to dig into the politics. You'll get a broad sense of the birth of this debate and the different legislation—specifically the controversial cap-and-trade legislation that passed in the House and stalled thereafter—and how the tensions have since played out. "Skeptics" on one side; "alarmists" on the other. Who will emerge from Thunderdome?

Who knows? But judging from the relative quiet out of Washington, the crap economy and fact that Al Gore made $100 million selling his TV network to some of the biggest oil producers in the world…I'm thinking not much is going to come down the global warming pike.

This being a PBS production you wouldn't be faulted to think this skews anti-skeptic. And you'd be relatively correct. There are some gotcha questions and PBS ties some inflammatory Tea Party rhetoric to the movement, but everyone gets their opportunity to talk and make their case. If any undecideds want to learn more about the situations, the various think tanks and organizations are front and center throughout and can be researched more.

All that being said, I do have a mild request for future documentarians: enough already with former Congressman Bob Inglis. This dumbass, who was booted from his seat in South Carolina, showed up in Patriocracy playing the victim card once again. In fact, he re-uses his talking points, running down his list of awesome conservative credentials, before breaking down into a lamentation on his Tea Party ouster. Boo hoo.

The DVD: standard def 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, Dolby 2.0 Stereo, English SDH subtitles, and no extras.

The Verdict

I'm lukewarm on this disc. Ka-pow!

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 75

Perp Profile

Studio: PBS
Video Formats:
• 1.78:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
• English (SDH)
Running Time: 60 Minutes
Release Year: 2012
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
• Documentary
• Television

Distinguishing Marks

• None


• IMDb

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