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‘Relentless and Ruthless’: Filmmaker Robert Greenwald on the Koch Brothers

by Jon Queally for Common Dreams:

Robert Greenwald is the director of the recently re-released documentary film, Koch Brothers Exposed; 2014 Edition, and the founder and president ofBrave New Films, where he has produced and directed films including Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price and Unmanned: America’s Drone Wars. Recently, Greenwald spoke with NEA Today to talk about the billionaire Koch brothers’ efforts to undermine the public good and promote the interests of the 1 percent in America. 

Robert Greenwald is the director of the recently re-released documentary film, Koch Brothers Exposed; 2014 Edition, and the founder and president of Brave New Filmswhere he has produced and directed films including Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price and Unmanned: America’s Drone Wars. Recently, Greenwald spoke with NEA Today to talk about the billionaire Koch brothers’ efforts to undermine the public good and promote the interests of the 1 percent in America.
NEAToday: In Koch Brothers Exposed; 2014 Edition, you uncovered some very chilling facts about the billionaire Koch brothers and how they’ve spent their near-unlimited funds on suppressing the rights of working Americans and students. It’s all very frightening—but was there any one thing that really kept you up at night?
Greenwald: What kept me awake was the absolute relentless combination of billions of dollars with very smart long-term thinking. They do not focus on some awful 30-second ad for a third-rate politician. They focus on changing the storyline and narrative, and they support that with their billions across everything from think tanks to schools to research. They know that change is a long-term process—and they are willing to pay and stay the course.
NEATodayThe Koch brothers’ charities gave nearly $13 million in 2012 to pay for university-based think tanks or programs, or endow faculty positions. Obviously public colleges and universities are hurting from decades of state funding cuts—but what is at risk when they turn to Koch money to fill the gap?
Greenwald: The Koch Brothers often have strings attached to the money they give, so they are relentless and ruthless about often demanding ideological fidelity with their dollars. This corrupts the education system and turns it into a tool of their belief system.
Filmmaker Robert Greenwald
NEAToday: Koch money also has been spent on college campuses through the Koch-funded Generation Opportunity, an organization that earlier this year threw campus parties aimed at convincing young people not to register for state healthcare exchanges. How would you characterize the Koch approach to young people and their interests?
Greenwald: They are willing to spend and spend and spend to try and influence young people, and to influence them against their natural self interests. They don’t hesitate to preach their belief system to any and all.
NEAToday: How would you characterize their approach to public school educators?
Greenwald: They have aggressively opposed public education. They don’t believe in the public trust or public system, and so they work to weaken and destroy the very fabric of our society, including its cornerstone, public ‘Relentless and Ruthless’: Filmmaker Robert Greenwald on the Koch Brothers | NEA Today: