Robert Greenwald discusses his new documentary, “Koch Brothers Exposed,” on The Ed Schultz Show and discuss their influence on elections and their link to ALEC. Buy your copy today at kochbrothersexposed.com!
By Hunter Walker at The New York Observer
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.”
Mr. Greenwald says the Koch brothers, who own Koch Industries, Inc., a multinational conglomerate that has been ranked as one of America’s largest private companies, use this strategy to advance an agenda that favors corporations and attacks the poor on the local, state and national levels. The portion of the film he showed at the screening focused on the Koch brothers’ support for local school board members in Wake County, North Carolina who fought a busing program aimed at promoting diversity in 2010. Mr. Greenwald described the push to end the busing program as “resegregation.”
Read the rest here.
By Jesse Lava, Campaign Director
When I was 17, my mother died of colon cancer. Lots of other members of my family have died of cancer too—and it’s partly as a result of this history that I have gone into a career of social justice advocacy, believing that we all need to care for one another instead of leaving people to fend for themselves.
Today, the organization where I work, Brave New Foundation, is hosting the world premiere of its new film Koch Brothers Exposed. This film shows how these two billionaire brothers have managed to maintain their wealth by exploiting others and corrupting the political process. One part of the film that especially resonates with me deals with cancer.
The Koch brothers have a chemical plant in Crossett, Arkansas, that releases large amounts of formaldehyde, which is known to contribute to cancer. The plant also emits hydrogen sulfide, which can be deadly. In the film, residents of that town talk powerfully about how many people in their community are dying of cancer, and they link it to the nearby Koch plant. Respected scientists agree: Anthony Samsel, a former consultant to groups including the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers, says that in his opinion, “these chemicals cause great harm to Crossett’s residents” and represent a “disregard for public safety.”
To date, the Kochs have done no investigation that we know of to determine what’s causing cancer in Crossett. They say what they’re doing is legal, though that’s sort of a footnote: when you’ve got lawmakers in your pocket, is it any great victory to say that the laws permit you to emit high levels of cancer-causing pollutants? In fact, the Kochs are one of the top 10 polluters in the United States and worked (unsuccessfully) to keep formaldehyde from being labeled a carcinogen. And so I am proud to be working on exposing what the Kochs are up to and seeking justice for those they’ve stepped on to stay at the top.
Today, the Kochs posted audio of me leaving a message for them months ago asking them to respond to our cancer investigation and laying out why the issue is personal for me. The Kochs accompany the audio with text saying I’m “harassing” them and “exploit[ing] [my] own family to push [my] agenda.” From the Koch brothers’ vantage point as billionaires with mansions all over the country, politics may be an abstraction or a game. But to the 99%, it’s no game. It’s personal. And while smearing me and diminishing the importance of my family may be preferable to them to actually looking into the problems in Crossett, that is not what will help make our country a stronger, healthier place. Shame on them.
So as we prepare for tonight’s premiere in New York, I’m eager. I’m excited. I’m hoping that bringing a little more sunlight on these guys will make it a little less likely that they’ll be able to keep doing what they’re doing to those who lack their wealth and power. Yeah, social justice is personal, and cancer is more than a negligible cost of doing business. For some of us, anyway.
By Staff at AlterNet | March 28, 2012
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.
Before becoming an activist filmmaker, Robert Greenwald enjoyed a long career in the world of commercial film and television, directing the feminist classic, The Burning Bed, and earning a Peabody Award for Sharing the Secret, a 2000 made-for-TV movie about a teenager with an eating disorder. He also directed the cult classic, Steal This Movie, about his late friend, Abbie Hoffman — which may speak to where his heart was all along. The advent of Fox News launched Greenwald into the role of an activist when his Brave New Films launched with Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism. Since then Brave New Films and Brave New Foundation have produced a torrent of video shorts and films, including Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price, Rethinking Afghanistan and Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers.
AlterNet sat down with Greenwald to discuss the value of storytelling as an organizing tool — and to explore just what makes the Koch brothers “the 1 percent at its very worst.”
Read the rest of this article and Robert’s interview here.
By Staff at Uprising Radio
When the Occupy Movement speaks about the 1 percent which has wreaked havoc on this country’s financial system, the billionaire Koch brothers immediately come to mind. Charles and David Koch have given almost a hundred million dollars to fund a conservative agenda which promotes the interests of the richest 1 percent of Americans. Now, in Robert Greenwald’s new documentary, “Koch Brothers Exposed: The 1% at its very Worst” we get an incisive look at the tentacles of the Kochs’ influence throughout the American political and cultural landscape.
After inheriting the family oil business from their father, Charles and David Koch amassed an estimated fortune of $60 billion dollars through Koch Industries. The company has become the 2nd largest privately held multi-national corporation in the world owning companies that range from Georgia-Pacific paper company to fertilizers, chemicals, ranching, manufacturing and oil pipelines. Veteran film maker Robert Greenwald, in his film, shows how the Koch Brothers have spent their money to wield enormous power and advance an extreme right wing political agenda through massive donations to think tanks, legislators and political groups like Americans for Prosperity.
Read the rest of the article here.
By Lucia Graves at Huffington Post
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 political media company Greenwald founded, Brave New Films, conducted financial research and interviewed people around the country, asking them questions about how the Kochs have impacted their lives. Notable subjects include Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), environmental advocate Van Jones and Nation editor Katrina vanden Heuvel.
The filmmakers’ requests to interview the Koch brothers themselves, however, were denied. “They hide,” said Greenwald, “and [they're] not just hiding from us.”
See the trailer and a full list of the film’s findings, via a press release, below.
Read more at Huffington Post.
By Staff at MoveOn.org
EXPOSED: The Billionaire Koch Brothers Who Are Buying American Democracy
The trailer for a film about those who would own everything . . . even our democracy. Watch:
Robert Greenwald and radio host Ed Schultz talk about presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s statement that the withdrawal of Afghanistan is a failure and then gives a preview of the Koch Brothers Exposed documentary.
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.