Episodes

  • Our story ends at the very top, with a fax to the White House. The campaign to spread doubt about climate change was so successful, it infiltrated the White House. In 2007, a House of Representatives Committee investigation ruled: ‘There was a systematic White House effort to minimize the significance of climate change by editing climate change reports’.

    But years later, after the oil money pipeline was cut, the key groups who initiated the strategy had folded, huge swathes of the population still doubt climate change. In 2001, about 50% of Republicans thought human activity was the main cause of global warming. Ten years later that was down to just 30% or so. What happens when a Republican politician proposes legislation to tackle climate change?

    From climate change to smoking and cancer, this is the story of how doubt has been manufactured. This 10 part series explores how powerful interests and sharp PR managers engineered doubt about the connection between smoking and cancer and how similar tactics were later used by some to make us doubt climate change.
    With the help of once-secret internal memos, we take you behind boardroom doors where such strategies were drawn up and explore how the narrative changed on one of the most important stories of our time - and how the marketing of doubt has undermined our willingness to believe almost everything.

    Presenter: Peter Pomerantsev
    Producer: Phoebe Keane

  • Following the oil money as it’s pumped to contrarian scientists and think tanks.
    As millions of dollars flow from oil companies to researchers looking into ‘solar variation’ or picking holes in the temperature record, we reveal that ten years previously, oil company researchers had dismissed these very arguments. An internal American Petroleum Institute document from 1995 said ‘hypothesis about the role of solar variability and Michaels’ questions about temperature record are not convincing arguments against any conclusion that we are currently experiencing warming as a result of greenhouse gas emissions’. So why were they funding people who made these arguments years later?

    From climate change to smoking and cancer, this is the story of how doubt has been manufactured. This 10 part series explores how powerful interests and sharp PR managers engineered doubt about the connection between smoking and cancer and how similar tactics were later used by some to make us doubt climate change.
    With the help of once-secret internal memos, we take you behind boardroom doors where such strategies were drawn up and explore how the narrative changed on one of the most important stories of our time - and how the marketing of doubt has undermined our willingness to believe almost everything.

    Clip used from 'The Hunt' series from 2015 by David Attenborough and Hunter Films Ltd.

    Presenter: Peter Pomerantsev
    Producer: Phoebe Keane

  • As climate change goes prime time, a super star climate change sceptic wins his last TV debate. Jerry Taylor was working at CATO, a free market think tank and was regularly on TV putting forward contrarian arguments. One day, all that changed.

    From climate change to smoking and cancer, this is the story of how doubt has been manufactured. This 10 part series explores how powerful interests and sharp PR managers engineered doubt about the connection between smoking and cancer and how similar tactics were later used by some to make us doubt climate change.
    With the help of once-secret internal memos, we take you behind boardroom doors where such strategies were drawn up and explore how the narrative changed on one of the most important stories of our time - and how the marketing of doubt has undermined our willingness to believe almost everything.

    Presenter: Peter Pomerantsev
    Producer: Phoebe Keane

  • How do you win a battle, if you’re fighting in the wrong arena? A look at how the virtues of science were being used against the scientists. Uncertainty is an inherent part of climate change science, but the word means something different to scientists. This is the lowdown on how scientists are literally using a different language to us and why this has played into the hands of those who want to delay action on climate change.

    From climate change to smoking and cancer, this is the story of how doubt has been manufactured. This 10 part series explores how powerful interests and sharp PR managers engineered doubt about the connection between smoking and cancer and how similar tactics were later used by some to make us doubt climate change.
    With the help of once-secret internal memos, we take you behind boardroom doors where such strategies were drawn up and explore how the narrative changed on one of the most important stories of our time - and how the marketing of doubt has undermined our willingness to believe almost everything.

    Presenter: Peter Pomerantsev
    Producer: Phoebe Keane

  • ‘Unless “climate change” becomes a non-issue…there may be no moment when we can declare victory’. We reveal the communications plans drawn up by energy groups to make us doubt climate change. From targeting ‘older, lesser educated males from larger households’ to making sure that those promoting action on climate change ‘appear to be out of touch with reality’; their ambitions were high, their tactics down and dirty.

    From climate change to smoking and cancer, this is the story of how doubt has been manufactured. This 10 part series explores how powerful interests and sharp PR managers engineered doubt about the connection between smoking and cancer and how similar tactics were later used by some to make us doubt climate change.
    With the help of once-secret internal memos, we take you behind boardroom doors where such strategies were drawn up and explore how the narrative changed on one of the most important stories of our time - and how the marketing of doubt has undermined our willingness to believe almost everything.

    In this programme it is stated that a report by 'Informed Citizens for the Environment' discusses targeting what they call 'lower educated white males.' It is in fact a paraphrase of what is said in the report.

    Presenter: Peter Pomerantsev
    Producer: Phoebe Keane

  • As the world’s scientists agree on man-made climate change, the oil companies come together to form their own coalition. They aren’t just focused on the science, though.

    From climate change to smoking and cancer, this is the story of how doubt has been manufactured. This 10 part series explores how powerful interests and sharp PR managers engineered doubt about the connection between smoking and cancer and how similar tactics were later used by some to make us doubt climate change. With the help of once-secret internal memos, we take you behind boardroom doors where such strategies were drawn up and explore how the narrative changed on one of the most important stories of our time - and how the marketing of doubt has undermined our willingness to believe almost everything.

    Presenter: Peter Pomerantsev
    Producer: Phoebe Keane

  • As the evidence against tobacco mounts, the court suits keep coming. Tobacco keeps winning.
    ‘Due to favourable scientific testimony, no plaintiff has ever collected a penny from any tobacco company in lawsuits even though 117 such cases have been brought’. An internal memo from tobacco company R J Reynolds reveals a motive behind their funding of research. In this episode the battle is taken to the court room as we hear how a land mark trial toppled tobacco.

    From climate change to smoking and cancer, this is the story of how doubt has been manufactured. This 10 part series explores how powerful interests and sharp PR managers engineered doubt about the connection between smoking and cancer and how similar tactics were later used by some to make us doubt climate change.
    With the help of once-secret internal memos, we take you behind boardroom doors where such strategies were drawn up and explore how the narrative changed on one of the most important stories of our time - and how the marketing of doubt has undermined our willingness to believe almost everything.

    Presenter: Peter Pomerantsev
    Producer: Phoebe Keane

  • The tobacco industry’s white coats are ready, the battle of science vs science begins. The battle for public opinion will be played out in the media.
    In this episode we hear how the tobacco industry chose to fight science with science, pitting one scientist wearing a white coat against another. It worked. Tobacco industry scientists made it on to Ed Murrow’s prominent documentary series “See It Now”.

    From climate change to smoking and cancer, this is the story of how doubt has been manufactured. This 10 part series explores how powerful interests and sharp PR managers engineered doubt about the connection between smoking and cancer and how similar tactics were later used by some to make us doubt climate change.
    With the help of once-secret internal memos, we take you behind boardroom doors where such strategies were drawn up and explore how the narrative changed on one of the most important stories of our time - and how the marketing of doubt has undermined our willingness to believe almost everything.

    Presenter: Peter Pomerantsev
    Producer: Phoebe Keane

  • At a secret meeting, a plan is drawn up to fight claims that smoking causes cancer. In 1953, the tobacco industry was hit by a major storm. ‘Salesmen in the industry are frantically alarmed and the decline in tobacco stocks on the stock exchange market has caused grave concern’, claimed an internal memo. A study linking smoking to cancer was getting a lot of attention. We’ll take you to the meeting where the PR response was planned. It’s an important meeting. The strategy developed there turned out to be so effective, it would be used again and again and again.

    From climate change to smoking and cancer, this is the story of how doubt has been manufactured. This 10 part series explores how powerful interests and sharp PR managers engineered doubt about the connection between smoking and cancer and how similar tactics were later used by some to make us doubt climate change.
    With the help of once-secret internal memos, we take you behind boardroom doors where such strategies were drawn up and explore how the narrative changed on one of the most important stories of our time - and how the marketing of doubt has undermined our willingness to believe almost everything.


    Presenter: Peter Pomerantsev
    Producer: Phoebe Keane for BBC Radio 4

  • From climate change to smoking and cancer, this is the story of how doubt has been manufactured.

    In this episode we take you to an oil company’s boardroom as they plan their response to the ‘crisis mentality’ that was emerging after the long hot summer of 1988. 5,000 people died in the heat wave, coinciding with the moment NASA scientist Jim Hansen announced that a ‘greenhouse effect’ was ‘changing our climate now’. This looked like a battle for the survival of the oil industry.

    This 10 part series explores how powerful interests and sharp PR managers engineered doubt about the connection between smoking and cancer and how similar tactics were later used by some to make us doubt climate change. With the help of once-secret internal memos, we take you behind boardroom doors where such strategies were drawn up and explore how the narrative changed on one of the most important stories of our time - and how the marketing of doubt has undermined our willingness to believe almost everything.

    Producer: Phoebe Keane for BBC Radio 4
    Presenter: Peter Pomerantsev

  • From climate change to smoking and cancer, this is the story of how doubt has been manufactured. This 10 part series will explore how powerful interests and sharp PR managers engineered doubt about the connection between smoking and cancer and how similar tactics were later used by some to make us doubt climate change.

    With the help of once-secret internal memos, Peter Pomerantsev takes us behind boardroom doors where such strategies were drawn up and explores how the narrative changed on one of the most important stories of our time - and how the marketing of doubt has undermined our willingness to believe almost everything.