This week Brave New Foundation hosted the world premiere of its documentary film "Koch Brothers Exposed," which shows how the billionaire brothers who head the Koch Industries oil and chemical conglomerate have built their wealth by using their money to manipulate the political process.
Among the experts who appear in the film is Sue Sturgis, editorial director of the nonprofit Institute for Southern Studies, publisher of Facing South. Sturgis is interviewed about the Kochs' involvement in school privatization and resegregation, focusing on the role the Koch-founded and -funded advocacy group Americans for Prosperity (AFP) played in a local school board battle over diversity policy in Wake County, N.C.
Sturgis has reported for Facing South on the connections between the Kochs, AFP, and North Carolina conservative benefactor and AFP director Art Pope. She examined their efforts to end the Wake County school system's nationally lauded desegregation policy, which focused on socioeconomic status rather than race and used a mix of busing and magnet programs to avoid concentrated poverty in any one school.
Robert Greenwald, the documentarian behind Brave New Foundation, screened an excerpt of the film at a March 29 luncheon in New York City hosted by The Common Good, the New York Observer reports:
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."
Following the uproar over the Wake County school board's effort to scrap the diversity policy, voters rejected the Pope-backed candidates in the 2011 election and returned the board to Democratic control. While the new board has not reinstated the previous policy, members have expressed willingness to monitor whether the new assignment plan now being finalized leads to concentrated poverty in any school.
Greenwald, who has also directed documentaries about Fox News and Walmart, discussed the way the Koch Brothers operate at the luncheon premiere.
"They fund ideas, which are think tanks, then they fund pundits who go out and talk about those ideas, then they fund grassroots groups," he said. "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."
Watch the trailer for the film here:
For more information about the film, including how to host a screening in your community, click here.