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Climate denier Fred Singer complains about Merchants of Doubt
Fred Singer, the tobacco denier tuned global warming denier who is presented in Robbie Kenner's new movie Merchants of Doubt, has written this letter to Robbie. Check out the movie to see who you agree with (and see me wearing a tie talking about Big Tobacco and what we have learned from the tobacco industy documents).
Here's the letter:
Also Sent by Registered Mail to Robert Kenner Films, 134 So. Norton St, Suite A, Los Angeles, CA 90004
Dear Mr. Kenner, March 6, 2015
I am writing this letter on the advice of my attorneys, who suggested that a friendly letter from me to you might avoid having to take legal action.
I’ve been informed that your new documentary “Merchants of Doubt” refers to me as “Liar for Hire”. If correct, that is a very serious accusation which of course cannot be backed up in any way.
The word “Liar” implies not only telling something that is not true, but telling an untruth knowingly. So even people who disagree with me on climate-change science (and such people do exist) would have to prove that I don’t really believe what I say – that I am saying it in order to mislead.
The word “hire” implies that I am being paid directly, i.e., that I am on salary by some entity such as an oil company -- or that I am taking money from a source that is supported predominately by such money and that I am aware of it. We would judge that hire is also very difficult to demonstrate.
I have some experience with libel suits; thanks to Kirkland & Ellis, we prevailed against an environmental lawyer, a groupie of then-Senator Al Gore. It took a lot of my time and was costly. I would prefer to avoid having to go to court; but if we do, we are confident that we will prevail.
My good friend, the late J. Gordon Edwards, professor of entomology at San Jose State University, sued the New York Times for libel and prevailed in a jury trial. The NYT had referred to him as someone who is being paid to lie. We think there will be no problem to demonstrate “malice.” (That is, “knowledge that [the libelous statement] was false or [made] with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not.")
Mind you, I am not now accusing you personally of malice, but it is rather too bad that you got mixed up with Naomi Oreskes. She claims to be a historian of science; unfortunately, she has only demonstrated that she’s a great polemicist with a rather well-defined bias. Her book “Merchants of Doubt” contains a number of serious scientific errors; also, it is not in accordance with the kind of scholarship expected from an academic historian. Instead of primary sources, she relies on secondary and even tertiary sources who have obvious, demonstrated agenda.
In her book, she attacks four physicists, three of whom were quite distinguished and are now deceased. I have felt it my obligation to defend their reputations posthumously.
I hope that you will respond positively to this letter and suggest ways in which the situation raised by your documentary can be rectified. Your reputation based on your past work is excellent and we should do everything possible to maintain it that way.
S. Fred Singer