A documentary is finally about to see the light of day, after being defunded and subject to de facto censorship thanks to the influence of billionaire David Koch of Koch Industries. Tia Lessin and Carl Deal'sCitizen Kochexamines how the billionaire Koch brothers used to wealth to exert influence in Wisconsin amid staggering union protests and a near-recall of its corporate-friendly governor.
The film provides an in-depth look into "KochWorld," or the "Kochtopus," or whatever you'd like to call Charles and David Koch's vast political apparatus that allows them to coordinate hundreds of millions of dollars to pour into a secretive network of political front groups, which then implement campaigns to promote the business priorities of Koch Industries or the ideological preferences of its billionaire brother owners.
The defunding of Citizen Koch is one chapter ofa saga that uncovered how PBS affiliates have bent over backwards to accommodatebillionaire donor and board member David Koch, who didn't appreciate Alex Gibney's Park Avenue, a film critical of Mr. Koch and some other of America's wealthiest people that aired on PBS stations. David Koch has since disassociatedfrom New York's WNET station, though Koch is a trustee of WGBH--Boston's PBS affiliate. Groups like Forecast the Facts have protested Koch's presence on the WGBH board.
Following PBS' unusual arrangment to let Koch Industriesinfluence the debut of Gibney'sParkAvenue, Lessin and Deal'sCitizen Koch suddenly found itself hung out to dryby the Independent Television Service (ITVS). Apparently, public television officials felt so pressured by Koch Industries and so eager for continued large donations from executive David Koch that ITVS suddenly and unceremoniously dropped its plannedfinancialsupport forCitizen Koch. This was after early indications that ITVS was excited to support the film.
Despite David Koch's success in intimidating PBS and ITVS to renege their support forCitizen Koch, the filmmakers used the controversy to successfully crowd-source the necessary funds to finish and promotethe film. Citizen Koch kicks off tonight at New York City's IFC Center.
Here is a list of select screenings in many major U.S. cities; for those wanting to spread the word, you can host a screening ofCitizen Koch!