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Participant Media and Forecast The Facts Demand Stronger Media Accountability on Climate Change

LOS ANGELES (March 6, 2015) – Inspired by the new documentary Merchants of Doubt, Participant Media and Forecast the Facts are collaborating on a campaign to collect petition signatures, calling on network and cable news directors to stop booking pundits from organizations that consistently misrepresent climate science.

In the new film Merchants of Doubt, inspired by the acclaimed book by Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway, filmmaker Robert Kenner (Food, Inc.) lifts the curtain on a secretive group of charismatic pundits-for-hire who present themselves in the media as scientific authorities – yet have the contrary aim of spreading confusion about public threats ranging from toxic chemicals to pharmaceuticals to climate change.

According to recent research by Media Matters for America and the Union of Concerned Scientists, nearly all network and cable news programs aired segments containing inaccurate statements on climate change from hosts or guests in 2014, frequently during segments including “opposing views” on the topic.

“National television networks have a responsibility to provide their viewers with accurate information, especially about climate change,” said Forecast the Facts Campaign Director Brant Olson, “but that responsibility is not met when our top news programs feature fossil fuel industry lobbyists masquerading as climate experts.”

Chad Boettcher, Participant’s Executive Vice President, Social Action & Advocacy added, “For decades, industries like tobacco, chemicals, and fossil fuels have employed spin doctors to cast doubt on inconvenient science that showed how damaging their products were to human health or the environment. Their success delayed public action on some of the most dangerous and pressing issues of our time. At Participant, we see the release of ‘Merchants of  Doubt’ as an opportunity to inspire consumers to demand more information and more transparency about these issues in the media.”

The petition names lobby groups featured prominently in the film, including The Heartland Institute and the Competitive Enterprise Institute. These groups rely on fossil fuel companies and other industrial polluters for funding, while spreading misinformation and doubt about the scientifically established link between fossil fuel pollution and global warming.

Following the premiere of the film on March 6th, Forecast the Facts will deliver the petition to news directors at CNN, FOX, MSNBC, PBS, ABC, NBC and CBS. Those directors will also receive an invitation to participate in a national program, created in collaboration with Participant Media, Omidyar Network, and The Poynter Institute, that helps journalists learn how to identify misinformation aimed at distorting scientific truth and influencing public policy.

“Merchants of  Doubt” is presented by Sony Pictures Classics, in association with Participant Media and Omidyar Network, a film by Kenner, produced by Kenner and Melissa Robledo, executive produced by Jeff Skoll and Diane Weyermann of Participant Media, and Pierre Omidyar of Omidyar Network, and co-produced by Brian Pearle, Taki Oldham, Dylan Nelson and Youtchi von Lintel. Directors of Photography on the film include Don Lenzer, Barry Berona and Jay Redmond with music by Mark Adler. The film will release theatrically in the U.S. on March 6, 2015. Trailer and more information at http://sonyclassics.com/merchantsofdoubt/dates.html.

View the petition here: http://www.takepart.com/merchants-of-doubt/take-action

About Forecast the Facts

Forecast the Facts Action is a grassroots human rights organization dedicated to ensuring that Americans hear the truth about climate change.

About Omidyar Network
Omidyar Network is a philanthropic investment firm dedicated to harnessing the power of markets to create opportunity for people to improve their lives. Established in 2004 by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and his wife Pam, the organization invests in and helps scale innovative organizations to catalyze economic and social change. Omidyar Network has committed more than $730 million to for-profit companies and non-profit organizations that foster economic advancement and encourage individual participation across multiple initiatives, including Consumer Internet & Mobile, Education, Financial Inclusion, Governance & Citizen Engagement, and Property Rights. To learn more, visit www.omidyar.com and follow on Twitter @omidyarnetwork.com.

About Participant Media

Participant Media (http://www.ParticipantMedia.com) is a global entertainment company founded in 2004 by Jeff Skoll to focus on feature film, television, publishing and digital content that inspires social change. Participant’s more than 60 films include Good Night, and Good LuckSyrianaAn Inconvenient TruthFood, Inc., Waiting for ‘Superman’The HelpContagion and Lincoln. Participant launches campaigns that bring together government entities, foundations, schools, and others to raise awareness and drive people to take action on issues from each film or television show. Pivot (http://www.pivot.tv/), the company’s television network, is available nationally in 50 million homes, with a diverse slate of talent and a mix of original series, acquired programming, films and documentaries. TakePart (http://www.TakePart.com) is Participant’s digital news and lifestyle magazine and social action platform for the conscious consumer. Through its films, social action campaigns, digital network, and its television network, Participant seeks to entertain, encourage and empower every individual to take action.