Robert Greenwald discusses his latest investigative documentary, “Koch Brothers Exposed” with MSNBC’s Martin Bashir. Greenwald responds to the latest personal attack by the Koch’s and invites them to come on national TV to debate. Buy your copy today at kochbrothersexposed.com!
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.
Greenwald’s “Kock Brothers Exposed” is not the only film to go after the Koch brothers. In November, I wrote about another film called “Greedy Lying Bastards,” which actress Darryl Hannah recently came on board as an executive producer, and follows the political influence of the Koch Brothers and their efforts to spin their way out of the facts of global warming and the environmental devasation of the fossil fuel industry.
It will be interesting to see whether these new docs can raise awareness for the evils of the Koch brothers and help bring about change.
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.”
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.