Greenwald vs. Goliath

The newest and most vociferous agitprop from Robert Greenwald’s Brave New Films, Koch Brothers Exposed, takes bazooka-aim at the rightwing billionaire duo, Charles and David Koch. As a political documentary, Koch Brothers Exposed is a sign of the times: inexpensively made (many of the talking-heads interviews are recorded using Skype), digitally disseminated, and set to a high boil from the word go. This is state-of-the-culture, post-Michael Moore media activism for the twenty-first century.

Greenwald lays out the insidious participation of the Brothers Koch in politics on almost every front.

Their only principle on view is greed. Spending tens of thousands of dollars to alter a piece of legislation in ways that’ll net you millions is, after all, just good business. Die-hard libertarians, the Koch Brothers would seem to be content with society only if it were reduced to a dystopian wasteland, which they’d presumably rule over from an impenetrable castle in the clouds.

Koch Industries, the country’s second-largest privately owned corporation (after Cargill), makes most of its money from oil and petrochemicals. Greenwald shines a light on the cancer-decimated community of Crossett, Arkansas, which is downstream from a Koch-owned factory that is dumping steaming ooze. Then Greenwald flashes to David Koch’s own survival from prostate cancer and the $100 million cancer research institute he paid for at MIT.

The Koch Brothers are the embodiment of capitalism. They are like twin Blofelds, scheming to take over America.

To tell his story, Greenwald adopts a screaming-pulp tone. And he gets his films out to the public in unconventional ways.

This is but a short excerpt of Michael Atkinson's review of the Koch Brothers Exposed. To read the article in its entirety, as well as the whole September issue, please subscribe to The Progressive today for only $14.97--that's 75% off the newsstand price—for a year's worth of this great monthly magazine.