Aired Tuesday December 18th, 2007 at 8:00 pm
In 1966, General Motors, the most powerful corporation in the world, sent private investigators to dig up dirt on an obscure 32-year-old public interest lawyer named Ralph Nader, who had written a book critical of one of their cars, the Corvair. The scandal that ensued after the smear campaign was revealed launched Ralph Nader into national prominence and established him as one of the most admired Americans and the leader of the modern Consumer Movement.
A fascinating look at the life and times of Nader, and the evolution of his image, from beloved populist hero to beleaguered political outsider, AN UNREASONABLE MAN will air Tuesday, December 18, at 8 p.m., on KUED-Channel 7, on the Emmy® Award-winning PBS series Independent Lens, hosted by Terrence Howard.
Over the course of three decades, and without ever holding public office, Nader built a legislative record that is the rival of any contemporary president. Many things we take for granted -- including seat belts, airbags, product labeling, no nukes, even the free ticket you get after being bumped from an overbooked flight -- are largely due to the efforts of Ralph Nader and his citizen groups.
Yet today, when most people hear Nader's name, they think of the man who cost Al Gore the election. As a result, after sustaining his popularity and effectiveness over an unprecedented amount of time, he has become a pariah even among former friends and allies. How did this happen? Who has stuck by him and who has abandoned him? Has our democracy become a consumer fraud?
After being so right for so many years, is it Nader or the system that has gone wrong? With the help of exciting graphics, rare archival footage and more than 40 on-camera interviews conducted over two years with political insiders -- including Eric Alterman, Pat Buchanan, Todd Gitlin, William Grieder, James Ridgeway, and others - AN UNREASONABLE MAN traces the life and career of Ralph Nader, one of the most unique, important, and controversial political figures of the past half century.
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