The Smartest Guys In The Room. This documentary by Oscar-award winning director Alex Gibney about the collapse of Enron Corporation was a slick piece of journalism that went absolutely nowhere. The allegations in the documentary didn't even match the allegations made in court. It was sensationalised to the point of absurdity.
Supersize Me. For thirty days, Morgan Spurlock ate nothing but McDonalds. The documentary claims to follow his failing health – including weight gain, his cholesterol had gone through the roof, and he was depressed and had mood swings. But nobody has been able to replicate the results – and experts even disagree that he was eating 5,000 calories per day as he claims.
Winged Migration. Beautiful, awe-inspiring, and totally fake. A scene in which an injured bird is besieged by crabs was faked; the filmmakers pulled the bird to safety and what you see on screen is the crabs eating a dead fish. But the birds in their beautiful formations were real, right? Nope. They were not even wild – they were raised from eggs by the filmmakers and trained to do that.
Bowling For Columbine. The documentary that launched Michael Moore's career was a pile of lies. For instance, the scene where Moore gets a free gun for opening a bank account was staged. The bank required Moore to undergo a background check and he had to go to a nearby gun shop to collect the weapon. His breezy exit from the bank with gun in hand is pure Hollywood. Moore also edited speeches given by Charlton Heston, and he manipulated the timeline to make it appear that the NRA visited Columbine spontaneously after the shooting, when in fact it had been arranged for months.
Frozen Planet. The august David Attenborough has managed decades of a broadcast career with nary a blip, but Frozen Planet was a rare strike. The documentary was accused of misleading the public regarding the birth of a pair of polar bear cubs. The video was cut to look like they were being born wild when in fact they were born at a zoo in Germany. The BBC defended the documentary, saying it "standard practice" and would have been impossible to capture the birth in the wild. The question is now how many other scenes have been staged for the cameras?
An Inconvenient Truth. Al Gore's vanity project about global warming was well received – but full of scientific errors. The documentary made up numbers, skewed facts, and was alarmist as possible. In the UK, a teacher refused to show the film, and the case went to court, where the high court tallied at least nine serious fundamental errors that were designed to mislead the public.