As the faces of the second most powerful privately held company in the world, Koch Industries, siblings David H. and Charles G. Koch have infamously funded a host of conservative and libertarian groups since the 1980s numbering into the billions. A new documentary from liberal filmmaker and producer Robert Greenwald investigates some of the murky business practices conducted by the billionaire brothers, alleging that they have been funding political agendas that seek to upend the power of democracy, reports Deadline.
The documentary, Koch Brothers Exposed, focuses on a series of key moves the Kochs have funded and how their monetary influence has been swaying lawmakers who share their conservative ideals. Among the findings from Greenwald and his Brave New Foundation investigation team was the Kochs using $28.4 million toproduce a number of documents countering the importance of Social Security, with Greenwald calling this part of the Koch Brothers' “echo chamber of influence.”
The Kochs Brothers founded an advocacy group known as Americans For Prosperity (AFP), known for its ties to the radical conservative group the Tea Party. Using AFP as a front, Greenwald's team say that the Kochs were responsible for altering a North Carolina school district's diversity policy. The movie focuses on a 2009 move from AFP that seemed to mirror racist and separatist “Jim Crow” laws.
Other findings in the documentary were the Kochs throwing millions of dollars to universities who only hire faculty members that follow their right-leaning ideology, and also exposing the dangers a small rural area faces by way of a large formaldehyde plant the brothers own that is causing environmental and health concerns in the town of Crossett.
“Koch Brothers Exposed” debuted in New York on March 29 in conjunction with AlterNet. The film also saw debuts earlier this week in Washington and Boston respectively. A web-wide streaming clip of the film hits the Internet on May 8. For more information, please click here.
Increasingly, feature-length political documentaries are using new technology to get their films seen. You may recall that the Sarah Palin biopic The Undefeated was made available last September on video-on-demand and pay-per-view to approximately 75 million homes through major cable and satellite companies such as DirecTV, Dish Network, and Time Warner Cable. Now in time for the election cycle, liberal filmmaker Robert Greenwald is employing the same methods with his take on Koch Brothers Exposed which starts streaming on May 8th.
The director of docs on Wal-Mart, Rupert Murdoch, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan takes on billionaires Charles and David Koch and their huge funding of conservative causes as well as their political advocacy group Americans for Prosperity.
After all, there’s the recent ruling out of the D.C. Circuit Court that paves the way for uncloaking the flood of secret money they’ve been pouring into our elections and into our policy. And they continue their attacks against filmmaker and journalist Robert Greenwald. Not only do the super-wealthy conservative funders refuse to publicly debate their policy positions, they are using their vast wealth to distort those positions to the public to make them more acceptable.
Last week marked the release of the latest feature film from acclaimed director Robert Greenwald and our friends at Brave New Foundation: Koch Brothers Exposed.
This film uncovers the corruption of the billionaire brothers who bankroll a vast network of organizations that work to undermine the interests of the 99% on issues ranging from Social Security to the environment to civil rights—and points the way to how Americans can reclaim their democracy. The film features expert interviews, investigative exposés and extras about what the billionaire Koch brothers are doing to our democracy.
Robert Greenwald’s documentary resume now offers a near complete litany of right-wing scourges: He’s gone after, most famously, Fox News (”Outfoxed”), the Iraq War (”Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers”), and Wal-Mart (”The High Cost of Low Price”), and he’s just released his latest liberal piece of agit-prop: “Koch Brothers Exposed,” which according to Alternet.org, weaves together a series of short films that examines the principals of Koch Industries, one of the nation’s top polluters and infamous for their funding of think-tanks that aim to deregulate business and scale back government programs such as Social Security, Medicare and the new healthcare reform law. (The DVD is available here).
“The Kochs are breathing, human representatives of the worst of the 1 percent — it’s the way they use their money to advance their economic self-interest and their ideology,” Greenwald told Alternet. “It’s not just about having money; it’s the use of the money, the use of the power — it’s the use of the money and power to impress and take advantage of others. And it’s the fact that they are fighting tooth and nail to make sure that capitalism has absolutely no restraints on it. And capitalism without restraints is a very ugly beast.”
I’ve never been the biggest fan of Greenwald’s work, from an aesthetic perspective, but from an advocate’s point of view, the guy has become an undeniable force in the ways of social media and political cinema. After going up a week ago, the trailer (see below) has already received some 45,000 views on YouTube.
Documentarian Robert Greenwald screened a portion of his upcoming documentary, Koch Brothers Exposed, at a lunch in midtown hosted by The Common Good today. In the documentary, Mr. Greenwald, who previously directed exposés about Fox News and Walmart, makes the case billionaire businessmen Charles and David Koch are having a “dire impact” on “core American values” through their political donations to conservative think tanks, activist groups and politicians.
“They fund ideas, which are think tanks, then they fund pundits who go out and talk about those ideas, then they fund grassroots groups,” Mr. Greenwald said at the screening adding that these grassroots groups help give the impression there is popular support for these ideas. “And then and only then, they begin to fund the politicians who will impose their ideas from their scripts. It’s a very different model and a very important idea, I think, in terms of how they work. And to their credit, I don’t agree with them, but to their credit, very smart use of their dollars and a thoughtful use of their dollars that has resulted in significant impact.”
Robert Greenwald and his Brave New Foundation debuts their feature-length film, an exposé of the right-wing brothers' massive reach.
Robert Greenwald and his Brave New Foundation will tonight debut their feature-length film, Koch Brothers Exposed, in New York. (The DVD is available here; see the two-minute trailer for the film on the last page of this article.) Koch Brothers Exposed weaves together a series of short films produced over the course of the last year or so as part of an online video campaign of the same name. As principals of Koch Industries, the second-largest privately held corporation in America and one of the nation's top polluters, the Koch brothers have grown notorious for their funding of think-tanks and astroturf organizations that aim to deregulate business and scale back government programs such as Social Security, Medicare and the new healthcare reform law.
Koch Brothers Exposed zeroes in on several aspects of the Kochs' impact by focusing on the people most affected by the brothers' use of their billions to buy politicians and ignore regulators. In North Carolina, we meet high school students whose lives would have been gravely impacted had Koch-allied politicians succeeded in undoing the desegregation of the Wake County school system. In Arkansas, the filmmakers take viewers to a community that is riven with cancer, the likely result of toxic dumping by a Koch-owned paper plant. We meet voters in Missouri and Texas who find themselves disenfranchised by a voter-ID law pushed by an organization funded with Koch money.
While the intellectual battle waged inside the Supreme Court over the constitutionality of health care reform, it was outside where the political battle really took off. And who is at the center of the political battle? The Koch brothers.
Conservative billionaire brothers have sent the surrogates, the Americans for Prosperity, to rally against the bill. The protest featured notorious anti-health care crusaders like Rep. Michele Bachmann and Sens. Jim DeMint and Rand Paul and will do little, if anything, to impact the actual deliberations of the Court.
WASHINGTON — Over the past two years, Charles and David Koch have commanded a great deal of attention and been held up as an example of how corporate forces have corrupted the democratic process in America. Now a provocative new film, “Koch Brothers Exposed,” seeks to uncover how the Koch brothers have manipulated the political narrative for personal and ideological gain, particularly in the post-Citizens United era.
The film, directed by Robert Greenwald, who notably uncovered unethical labor practices at Wal-Mart in his documentary “Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Wages,” is set to premiere in New York City on March 29.
In an interview with The Huffington Post, Greenwald said that the Kochs’ money and power have had an “unparalleled” impact.
“The Kochs are using their money, their power and the inequalities of our system for personal gain,” he said, “and the size and scale that they’re doing it at is fairly impressive.”
The battle over control of the Cato Institute may not be the kind of story that inflames a lot of passions, but the implications of a Koch brothers are serious enough that it should be.
Cato has specifically accused the Koch brothers of a partisan agenda in the shareholder suit. With Cato’s more devout libertarian positions it becomes clearer why the Koch brothers would want to change the direction of the think tank.
Robert’s got a great blog post up about the Koch’s and cancer. Clearly the Kochs are a hot issue right now but the Dallas Morning News recently ran a story where a Koch corporate spokesman responded to Robert’s upcoming full length.
Robert Greenwald discusses with former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, host of Current TV's The War Room, on why radio show host Rush Limbaugh has come to the defense of the Kochs and what he might gain from it. Greenwald and Granholm then talk about Brave New Foundation's soon-to-be released full-length Koch Brothers Exposed documentary which is based off the popular and widely shared online video series that helped in making the Kochs a household name.