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Recent decades have seen a decline in the popularity of mainstream news outlets. Large scale scandals that have been revealed has led many to seek alternative sources for current affairs. YouTube has played a key role as a platform for alternative news channels and conspiracy theory documentaries to air their views and opinions. Below are Three of the best conspiracy theory documentaries on YouTube.

The World According to Monsanto

The World According to Monsanto: Pollution, Corruption, and the Control of Our Food Supply, is a 2008 French film. It is based on the Three year long investigation into Monsanto by French journalist Marie-Monique Robin. The documentary outlines the multiple controversies surrounding the U.S multinational conglomerate. These controversies include the use of Genetically Modified Organisms(GMOs), Bovine Growth Hormone and Agent Orange. Monsanto is exposed as one of the most evil of corporations imaginable, capable of every type of crime. It is reported to have falsified data, colluded with governments, blackmailed its opponents, bribed politicians and governments and is apparently willing to do whatever it deems necessary to deepens its bottom line. The film is based on a book written. The film reveals a clip of George W Bush being given a tour of a Monsanto lab, who says that if they run into any problems to give him a call. He says he is in the business of deregulation. The film definitely portrays Monsanto in a negative light. Monsanto was invited to appear in the show for an interview, but declined the offer without giving a reason. While the film is very well researched, it has been widely criticized for stylistic flaws. It is not entertaining enough for the average viewer. Despite this it does provide interesting insights into the world of Monsanto and how they have grown and grown as the years have gone by. They are the main force behind the rise of GMO’s and are also responsible for the introduction of their own version of Bovine Growth Hormone, called recombinant bovine growth hormone (rGBH). Bovine growth hormone occurs naturally in bovines. Monsanto’s synthetically engineered version was released to the market with approval from the Food and Drug Administration in 1993. Roughly a third of U.S cows are now injected and the result is a 10% increase in milk production. Along with various unknown diseases for the consumer, the cows also suffers under this regime. According to the Center for Food Safety (supported by a 2003 study published in the Canadian Journal of Veterinary Research), cows treated with rBGH suffer a 50 percent greater incidence of lameness ,25 percent more udder infections (mastitis), and serious reproductive problems including infertility, cystic ovaries, fetal loss and birth defects. The documentary also outlines Monsanto’s involvement in Agent Orange. Agent Orange was a herbicide used by the military in the war in Vietnam. From 1965 to 1969 (former) Monsanto was one of a number of companies which manufactured Agent Orange. The long term effects of this pesticide are reported to be harmful, though a causal link between the herbicide and disease has yet to be established. Research into Agent Orange continues. Though the documentary has been criticized for its use of pseudoscience, French journalist Marie-Monique Robin won the Rachel Carson Prize for the production of the book it is based on.

Inside Job

Inside job is a 2010 film directed by Charles Ferguson. The documentary did much to outline the mentality of the bankers in the 2008 financial disaster. The film raised public awareness as to what actually happened within the world of finance at the time of the collapse and the scandals committed by the bankers at the time. According to Ferguson the film is about the “the systemic corruption of the United States by the financial services industry and the consequences of that systemic corruption”. According to the film the banking system was the sole cause of the banking crisis itself. The film is divided into Five parts. How we got here(1940 – 2000), the bubble (2001 – 2007), the crisis(2007 – 2008), Accountability(2008) and Where we are Now(2008 onward). Unlike a lot of conspiracy type movies this was a well put together piece which was warmly received by both audiences and critics. It describes how a group of bankers set out, and succeeded quite spectacularly, to defraud American citizens of their acquired wealth. The film was narrated by Matt Damon. The documentary highlights how not one banker was ever punished for the collapse of the banking system, and that most actually went away while amassing huge fortunes. In contrast hundreds of thousands of citizens lost jobs and mortgages, who had no involvement with the financial system. Unemployment in the US and Europe rose to 10%. The role of politicians is also noted in the documentary. Efforts to regulate derivatives, a root cause of the collapse, were blocked by a number of key political figures. Many parallels have been drawn between Inside Job and the book “The Big Short” by Michael Lewis. Both outline the main theme of the banking industry and those who work within it, which largely boils down to making money at all costs. However both these works have been criticized as terribly one sided. While the culture within banking is reprehensible, to lay it all at the feet of the bankers is a little much. Individual citizens went out and bought extra cars and houses which they could not afford. They were not forced. Many people, Michael Lewis included, failed to predict the 2008 housing collapse. And these types of black swan events do happen all the time. The bankers seem to provide a convenient scapegoat, even if they are not exactly what one could describe as clean. Very, very few people predicted the financial collapse, including regulators, academics, journalists, hedge funds and independent investors. To say it was all orchestrated and that the bankers were ”in” on the gig is a little misleading, as entertaining and revealing as Inside Job is. Inside Job is strongest in detailing the conflicts of interest that various people had in relation to the financial sector, but the reason those ties were conflicts was that they also had substantial reasons — fame, fortune, security, etc. – to get it correct.

Cowspiracy: The Sustainability secret

Cowspiracy is a documentary outlining how the current system of meat production and distribution is negatively affecting the planet as a whole in terms of global warming. The film was well received and highly controversial. The main controversial point of the documentary, which does rely heavily on scientific evidence, is that it claims that 51% of climate change occurs as a result of the agricultural industry. This is controversial because the study that was used by the pair of movie producers is not peer reviewed and came out in 2009. There is a newer, more robust study which claims that livestock and their byproducts account for only 15% of total Green House Emission, the key determinant in global warming. They claim that at the time the documentary was produced it was the most up to date and reliable study on the subject. While this may or may not have been the case, the 51% figure is still used on the official Cowspiracy website and this could be deemed by some to be deliberately misleading. The claim that Methane(a gas emitted largely by ruminant livestock) is 20-100 times more powerful than Carbon Dioxide on a 20 year basis is also held to be misleading. On a 100 year basis the figure is significantly reduced. And the levels of Methane and other gases is widely regarded as not being present in sufficient quantities to have any effect on Global Warming compared to Carbon Dioxide. It is misleading in that it gives the impression that going Vegan will solve most of the planetary problems we face in the coming era. This is not really the case and the vast majority of scientists are in agreement that fossil fuels are still the largest factor in global warming. Cowspiracy also points out that Livestock covers 45% of all the earth’s land and that animal agriculture is the leading cause of species extinction, ocean dead zones and habitat destruction. While this may be the case an alternative to livestock is never really introduced or examined. People need to eat a certain amount of nutrients to get by each day, and it could be argued that as much land would be taken and species driven to extinction by production of plants that would presumably take the place of livestock. The idea that veganism is the secret to sustainability is not substantiated by science.

The science notwithstanding, Cowspiracy:The sustainability secret is a must watch YouTube documentary. It depicts some of the cruel practices of the livestock industry, including a duck begin smashed with a blunt axe ( the farm was supposed to produce “sustainably raised” livestock). Practically everyone who watches the documentary is taken with it, and it did receive positive audience and critical reception. Whatever your views on the matter it is definitely worth watching and will have you considering whether or not you really need that rare steak with a side of fries.

Best conspiracy theory documentaries on YouTube – Conclusion

It is hard to narrow down the best conspiracy theory documentaries on YouTube. Other notable documentaries include:

• Zeitgeist
• The Internet’s own boy
• Virunga
• The Life and Mind of Mark DeFriest
• Tomorrow we Disappear
• Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room.
• Semper Fi: Always Faithful
• The Invisible War

However, at a pinch the best conspiracy theory documentaries on YouTube definitely include Zeitgeist, Cowspiracy and The World According to Monsanto.