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Jun 14, 2011

Ralph Nader documentarian Steve Skrovan discusses the life and times of Ralph Nader and the making of his movie “An Unreasonable Man.” David’s thoughts on Tracy Morgan. Plus “What Are White People Up To.” With Laura Kightlinger, Melissa Villasenor, Kevin Rooney and Tina Dupuy. “An Unreasonable Man” traces the life and career of political activist Ralph Nader, the founder of modern consumer protection. The film examines Nader's advocacy for auto safety features, such as federally mandated seat belts and air bags, as well as his rise to national prominence following an invasion of privacy lawsuit against General Motors. It also examines the formation of independent advocacy groups (termed "Nader's Raiders") during the 1970s; organizations which carried out independent research on various federal agencies, such as the Federal Trade Commission and the Food and Drug Administration. Over the next thirty years, the film argues, Nader "built a legislative record that would be the envy of any modern president." The second half of the film traces Nader's shift to a grassroots form of organizing focused on citizen power, including his eventual disillusionment with the two-party system following the rise of Reaganism. In assessing Nader's effect as a third party candidate, the film examines censorship in the presidential debates as well as Nader's disputed role as a "spoiler" in the 2000 presidential election. The film makes use of interviews with current and former members of Nader's Raiders, including Joan Claybrook and Robert Fellmeth, as well as politicians and political analysts such as Phil Donahue, Pat Buchanan, and Eric Alterman. It takes its name from the George Bernard Shaw quote, "The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man."