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Opinion: Columnists

Ron Arnold: Eco-terror advocate bashes climate 'deniers' on film

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Last month a Pew Research Center/USA Today poll confirmed what poll-watchers knew during last year's campaign season: Climate change was the lowest-ranked priority on President Obama's second-term agenda. Last Friday, Big Green's entertainment division churned out yet another attempt to turn that around with a panicky new global-warming documentary. It opened on 51 screens with a weekend gross of $45,000 (that's $882.25 per screen, according to the Internet Movie Database). It was produced at an estimated cost of $1.5 million and comes with a screaming title: "Greedy Lying Bastards."

The illegitimi, of course, are "deniers," a term evocative of those who assert that Adolf Hitler's Holocaust against the Jews never happened. Nothing subtle here.

"Greedy Lying Bastards" seethes with catastrophic images -- wildfires, floods, droughts, dust storms, hurricanes -- as if such things have never happened before and anything bad that happens now is exclusively the fault of man-made climate change. Of course, the film's producers must have left their own trail of jet fuel-induced climate change behind them as they zipped to locations in Belgium, Denmark, Germany, England, Kenya, Uganda, Peru and Tuvalu.

The documentary was directed and co-written by Craig Rosebraugh, former mouthpiece for convicted felon eco-terrorists of the Earth Liberation Front; he's also author of "The Logic of Political Violence." The movie is as thin on anything new as its skinny creator is on bulk, as seen on the cover of the DVD release. Reiteration, as noted by one movie reviewer, is the essence of "Greedy Lying Bastards": We've endlessly heard all this Koch-bashing and ExxonMobil stuff before. And Rosebraugh doesn't do himself any favors with his first-person voice-over: "He imparts all evidence in a snarky, patronizing tone that is sure to annoy many viewers sympathetic with his cause," said one review by the Austin Chronicle.

The major premise of "Greedy Lying Bastards" is that Big Oil moguls such as the Koch brothers and ExxonMobil "give billions to think-tank shills," including the Competitive Enterprise Institute and the Heartland Institute, who have convinced the public that global warming is a hoax. PR man James Hoggan comes on screen and explains that the mere repetition of talking points funded by the fossil fuel industry is winning the hearts and minds of the public. One viewer saw it differently: "I can't wait to hear the tally for the number of times the word 'deny' and its variations are uttered in this film." It comes as no surprise that leftie Hollywood star Daryl Hannah was executive producer for this disaster.

"Greedy Lying Bastards" begins with an epic dust storm engulfing Phoenix. One viewer who had lived in Phoenix noted, "That happens every summer because of the thunderstorm downdrafts."

The scene shifts to brushfires in hilly Colorado Springs, Colo., that burned many homes and left families horribly stricken. Global warming is stated as the cause. The homeowners, of course, didn't cut downhill brush in anticipation of such periodic conflagrations. The producers also didn't account for quirks of weather. A viewer told me, "I live just east of the High Park fire in Fort Collins. The rainfall map for the seven days before the fire shows most of the Front Range got inches of rain, but two places didn't -- the places where the fires occurred."

Of another scene, a viewer said, "We see what appear to be crops ruined by drought, yet fields of corn taller than a man are seen in the distance." Hmmm. Greenie lying bastards?

After that, the documentary sinks into an hour and 20 minutes of stale "ain't it awful" rants against fossil fuels. There's no need to pay to sit in a nearly empty theater to see "Greedy Lying Bastards." You only need to watch the three-minute online trailer to get the message. The rest is wretched excess.

Examiner Columnist Ron Arnold is executive vice president of the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise.

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