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Robert Greenwald

Robert Greenwald is a producer, director, political activist, and Brave New Films founder and president.

August 16th, 2011 9:50 PM

Why didn’t Americans for Prosperity love our video?

The Koch brothers - founders of the Tea Party group Americans for Prosperity - were the subject of our latest investigative video, "Why Do the Koch Brothers Want to End Public Education?"

AFP didn't much like it, and that's disappointing. With its extensive track record of influencing and supporting elections - all adverbs are appropriate - we would think AFP would've taken another victory lap after our video.

They have done so previously.

Following the 2009 Wake County school board election, Americans for Prosperity waited a few months before publically popping champagne bottles. The blog entitled, "Your grassroots action really paid off in Wake County Public Schools," is a self-congratulatory missive AFP published. In light of the role AFP played in Wake County, the blog post affirms its active role in repealing and replacing successful school integration policies.

In addition, the AFP blog extols members and "all those AFP-NC activists who sacrificed their time in order support for the members of the Board that overturned the policy." The board members had just been sworn in at this time, each with Americans for Prosperity financial and organization support funneled through local individuals like Art Pope and artificial grassroots groups such as WakeCARES - which has enjoyed on the record support from Americans for Prosperity.

Americans for Prosperity has a track record of pleading ignorance and feigning innocence elsewhere too. In Wisconsin, it was busted for egregiously inaccurate voting information. Americans for Prosperity also scared the daylights out of Michigan residents with fake eviction notices. North Carolina is in esteemed company in both its tactics and excuses.

We are disappointed AFP doesn't like our work, research, interviews or personal stories that reflect a pleasant working and middle class community trying to fight against outside right-wing agitation and influence.

But Americans for Prosperity goes further, and we're amused its North Carolina chapter made embarrassing mistakes in its attempt to erase a story about its influence in the state. AFP got our name wrong. We are Brave New Foundation, not Brave New Films. The group got our my name wrong. It's Robert Greenwald, not Robert Greenwell.

Looking for any way out of the hole the group dug itself (and that we merely filmed and distributed for free on the internet), Americans for Prosperity is transcending the facts our film and investigation brought to light. We never accused AFP of breaking the law. One could make the case we are commemorating its history-making achievement of voting in like-minded school board members. It's not every day a school board makes morning, afternoon and evening news.

We regret that AFP misunderstands our motives. Our intentions are as simple as spelling names correctly. We're telling a story about the pivotal role the Koch brothers, through Americans for Prosperity and its allies, are playing in resegregating schools.

Intimidation, deception, subterfuge and basic spelling errors will not intimidate us nor will it chill a free press rooted in comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable.

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