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Robert Greenwald on the New Film 'Koch Brothers Exposed' - the 1% at Its Very Worst

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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.