Robert Greenwald, the leading activist documentary director, has his sights firmly lined up on the increasingly controversial brothers Koch. The first of a series of short films from Greenwald’s Brave New Foundation appears below, and he explains why this is top priority in a blog at Huffington Post:
With Outfoxed, we exposed the unbalanced propaganda that is Fox News.
With Wal-Mart we uncovered the damage done to our country by the high cost of low prices.
We fought against insurance company greed in the battle for health care with Sick for Profit.
We halted the history channel from smearing President Kennedy.
And now we aim our focus at the Koch brothers.
With a net worth of 43 Billion the Kochs have already spent decades of their lives and over 324 Million of their wealth exerting their influence. The Kochs accomplish their goals by funding a massive array of right wing front groups, think tanks and tea party efforts. They largely operate outside of the public eye, and target their funding to infiltrate public opinion, the media, judicial decisions and legislation. Over three dozen organizations are funded by the brothers, and they spend additional money lobbying and backing conservative candidates. Everything the Kochs do is to fight for a country free from protections and any degree of a social safety net for working Americans.
You might recognize names of some of the organizations that the Koch brothers fund. Americans for Prosperity is their Tea Party effort. They fund the Cato Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the Reason Foundation, the Institute for Justice, the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies, the American Legislative Exchange Council, and many many more. Through their massive funding efforts, they have fought against health care and are fighting against protecting social security, as well as fighting efforts to halt climate change, and fighting against LGBT rights, Immigration rights, unemployment insurance, environmental protections, the rights of unions to organize and educational opportunity, just to name a few areas they focus on.
When we started our research four months ago – inspired by Jane Mayer’s brilliant New Yorker article and Lee Fang’s great investigative work at ThinkProgress – we thought that a big part of our job was to bring attention to the Koch brothers. Boy have things changed over those months!
With their secret meeting in Palm Springs, brought into the light, and with their involvement in the atrocious happenings in Wisconsin, the Koch brothers have worked their way into the attention of a concerned public.
Now, as we get set to launch our investigative campaign, we circle back to the reason we began this project. As with the best of our work at Brave New Foundation, The Koch Brothers Exposed allows us to connect the dots. To understand how the system works. And how the system doesn’t work. To understand that there is a different set of rules for those with power and access than the rules faced by those without money and access. The Koch brothers play this game by using their wealth and foundations to fund efforts that will increase their wealth at the expense of others.
The Koch brothers are using their BILLIONS to make more money, and to advance their right wing agenda on the backs of those who have less; a lot less. They are not alone in this effort. Their size, wealth and scope makes them noteworthy (as was Wal-Mart), but it is important, even as we call attention to so many of the horrific groups and issues they are behind, to realize that they don’t exist in a vacuum.
The Koch Brothers represent the latest reality in our country. A reality where the wealthy use the system to get wealthier. A world where the powerful game the system so as to access even more power.
Brave New Foundation will work tirelessly to expose the Koch brothers. This new campaign will be like none ever done before. The film will be broken down into issue-focused chapters, each released individually with a flurry of action around them. This campaign will live in film, online actions, grassroots efforts, community gatherings, ground actions, multi-media coverage, artistic components and collaboration with the larger community that is ready to take action. We have the wonderfully talented AgitPop onboard to help expose the Koch brothers, and will be working with many other progressive organizations to increase the shared impact of this effort.
As we begin to investigate, expose and connect the dots, we’ll need all the help we can get. We have a number of surprises in store for the Koch brothers. At this point, it’s those of us who care about the future of our country verses those who believe they can buy that future for their own profit.