From Mark Holden, General Counsel, Koch Industries, Inc.
Robert Greenwald continues to be dishonest about Koch in an effort to raise money for and draw attention to his latest attack video. In a March 31st blog posting, Mr. Greenwald again repeated many of the false story lines that have been refuted over the past year here, here, here, and here.
He claims his new video is the result of a “year-long investigation” and that Koch is trying to intimidate him. From what we understand about this re-packaged video, it, like his prior videos about us, is not factual or original. It consists of the derivative rehashing of distortions and fabrications made by far-left bloggers, diatribes based on the most attenuated of relationships between Koch and some third-party group’s real or alleged activities, or outright smears.
His “investigation” consisted of having his employees harass us with multiple, staged phone calls that were not intended to get our point of view, but instead to create material for his new video. (Unfortunately, many of Mr. Greenwald’s employees have not mastered the art of hanging up the telephone, and their motivations and false intentions were revealed, as we have shown here and here).
At the same time that we have been the target of death threats, as well as threats of physical violence and attacks on our facilities, Mr. Greenwald’s employees attempted to conduct ambush interviews of one of our owners to ask him how many homes he owns. Mr. Greenwald himself has never acknowledged the many homes he apparently owns in the LA-area alone. In addition, he had film crews show up at our owners’ residences to videotape and ask questions – a tactic we understand he plans to employ again as he has tried to hire a camera crew to stalk our employees in Wichita over the next couple of weeks.
Compared to Mr. Greenwald’s and his employees’ stalking and harassing behavior, what we have done is point out that Mr. Greenwald’s assertions are false, baseless, distorted, and/or misleading. We also pointed out his history of making extremely biased, false, and misleading videos about other entities that he and the far-left do not like. Mr. Greenwald, like many of the groups he is aligned with politically, does not like it when the targets of his attacks defend themselves by relying on the truth to show the falsity of the attacks.
In his most recent post he has offered to debate us. After Mr. Greenwald’s March 30 appearance on MSNBC’s Martin Bashir show, however, we are confused about what there is to debate. During his appearance, Mr. Greenwald, in a rare moment of honesty about Koch, stated that “what they do is legal.” While he later reverted to his dishonest ways and tried to retract this truthful statement, he apparently reviewed the tape of his statement and realized even he could not lie his way out of it, deleting his tweet in the process.
Below we again address his false claims about us. In so doing, we deal solely with the facts:
1. With regard to the Crossett facility, we have explained that Georgia-Pacific operates in compliance with its government-issued and regulated permits and the law; that the individuals in Mr. Greenwald’s video have undisclosed, ulterior financial or other motives in attacking us; and that the allegations about us have been reviewed and dismissed by the regulators in the past.
In his post, he attempts to denigrate Koch’s exemplary environmental performance by referring to a study prepared by a member of the Union for Radical Political Economics that has nothing to with compliance with EPA-issued permits, and lists many major US-based manufacturers, given that the study is based on outputs from facilities in the U.S. We work hard to comply with our permits and work cooperatively and innovatively with federal and state regulators to ensure compliance. We have been recognized by the EPA for doing so — see here and here. Koch’s commitment to compliance with environmental, health, and safety laws is shown by the more than 450 awards we have received since President Obama took office.
With regard to formaldehyde, Koch companies comply with all laws and regulations. Along with many other individuals, environmental groups, NGOs, government agencies, and companies, we provided comments on the EPA’s proposed regulations, as is provided for under the law.
Mr. Greenwald’s insinuation that we are responsible for any cancer that any individual is unfortunately suffering from is maliciously false and irresponsible. We, of course, have sympathy for anyone suffering from cancer. We are sickened by his attempt to exploit someone else’s suffering in a dishonest way so that he can line his own pocket and garner publicity for himself, as well his gratuitous and disgraceful reference to Koch employees who have battled this disease.
2. Mr. Greenwald falsely ties us to laws designed to combat voter fraud based solely on our membership in ALEC. As we have explained, we are not involved with these initiatives. Consistent with our longstanding support for the Bill of Rights and individual liberty, we support voter education and voter registration efforts. ALEC is a non-partisan association for state legislators who share a common belief in limited government, free markets, and individual liberty — ideals that Koch has long supported. Many hundreds of other individuals, organizations, and companies also support ALEC, including General Electric and Unilever, Ben and Jerry’s corporate parent. This includes Democrats and Republicans alike, representing all various demographic groups across the social and political spectrum. However, membership in an organization does not mean that Koch is actively involved with or interested in everything done by the organization.
3. As we have explained, Koch was not involved in any way in the decisions made by a Wake County, North Carolina school board. Mr. Greenwald doesn’t even try to suggest that Koch was somehow directing what this local school board and the parents decided concerning their children’s education. Typical of his other allegations, he bases this one on alleged actions by an AFP chapter. He rehashes facts we have long acknowledged: that David Koch is the chairman of AFP Foundation, and that some Koch employees are among the more than 2 million members and 90,000-plus individuals who contribute to AFP and AFP Foundation. He complains that AFP doesn’t disclose its donors (it is not required to do so under the law). He fails to note, however, that it appears his own organization, Brave New Foundation, and his former funder, Democracy Alliance, don’t reveal their donors. Mr. Greenwald’s other false allegations and irresponsible race-baiting concerning AFP’s alleged involvement in Wake County are largely based on false allegations by the far-left ThinkProgress, which were refuted in January 2011 by Newsweek and the Washington Post. The Post decried ThinkProgress’ misrepresentations of fact and irresponsible race-baiting, which Mr. Greenwald continues to repeat.
4. Mr. Greenwald falsely claims Koch is undermining worker rights. He bases this on allegations that Koch was behind Wisconsin’s budget repair bill — allegations that have been debunked here and here. Koch, in fact, has productive, respectful, and longstanding relationships with the unions that represent thousands of our employees. In fact, last year a senior union official praised Koch for providing “among the best-paid manufacturing jobs in America,” and stating that Koch “in practice and in general has positive and productive . . . relationships with its unions.” In contrast, Mr. Greenwald’s past relationships with his workers and unions have not been as positive or productive. In 1992, Teamsters drivers at a North Carolina movie production site staged a strike when Robert Greenwald Productions paid them only $100-a-day ($152-a-day, or $39,520 annually in 2009 dollars), 33% below the union’s $150-a-day minimum requirement. ($228-a-day, or $59,280 in 2009 dollars). “It was a case where they were trying to make a low-budget movie and pay low salaries,” said R.V. Durham, president of Teamsters Local 392. “We fixed it.” (The News & Observer (Raleigh), 4/16/92 and 4/18/92). Mr. Greenwald also continues to be dishonest about the false representations he made in his Wal-Mart attack video concerning a Wal-Mart store in Middlefield, Ohio. As one third party commentator put it: “The High Cost Of Low Price” is a hatchet job on the big China seller. So here is the “$64,000 Question”: WHAT IN THE BLOODY HELL IS H&H HARDWARE DOING IN A MOVIE WHICH FEATURES BUSINESSES THAT WERE PUT UNDER BY WAL-MARTS? Good question, because H&H was hemorrhaging for four or five years before it went out of business and actually sold all of its remaining inventory and went lights out THREE MONTHS BEFORE WAL-MART EVER OPENED! . . . So now do you smell a rat? This Greenwald is very, very deceptive. You’ve just got to see this film to believe it.”
In sum, Mr. Greenwald is the one “hiding” and “distorting the truth.” Koch has been and will continue to be truthful and direct concerning Mr. Greenwald and his false allegations. We hope that Mr. Greenwald’s recent video is seen for what it is: a desperate attempt by an obscure video maker to make money off of the orchestrated partisan political attacks against Koch that have been going on for the past few years. We recommend that people read www.kochfacts.com for the truth. While it appears unlikely that reasonable people will watch Mr. Greenwald’s video, we hope that those who do will make the same decision about Mr. Greenwald and his work that the Democracy Alliance did.
In a rare moment of honesty, Mr. Greenwald conceded that what we do is legal. His words are captured at the conclusion of the video above. Greenwald then tried to retract his remarks and failing that attempted to corrupt the record by posting the following message on Twitter:
Caught in yet another lie, Greenwald deleted that deliberately misleading tweet. We post it here as further evidence of his serial dishonesty.
UPDATE Please be aware that MSNBC would neither present our full statement on air nor link to it on their website despite our requests, and instead misled viewers about what we said in it and read only a portion of it on air.
Robert Greenwald is a fringe, left-wing video maker who was recently de-funded by the George Soros-backed Democracy Alliance. Perhaps due to the fact that he lost his source of funding, Mr. Greenwald is desperately seeking attention for a new video that attacks Koch Industries, Charles Koch, and David Koch. If Mr. Greenwald’s past works are any indication, this current effort will be a partisan hatchet job that has no credibility.
Mr. Greenwald has made other shoddy videos that falsely attacked Wal-Mart and Fox News, and were filled with lies, distortions, and misleading assertions. For example, in his Wal-Mart video, he falsely claimed that the opening of a Wal-Mart store in Middlefield, Ohio led to the closure of a locally owned hardware store, even though the hardware store had closed three months before Wal-Mart opened. While one can argue whether these pieces are fatally flawed due to Mr. Greenwald’s obvious extreme bias or to abjectly sloppy research and journalism, the end result is that he consistently produces videos riddled with false statements and inaccuracies, and no semblance of objectivity or credibility.
Given Mr. Greenwald’s pattern of dishonesty and the childish antics of his employees who have been harassing us by phone, we are certain his video about Koch will contain outright lies, distortions of our true record, and misstatements of fact. For example, Mr. Greenwald has falsely claimed that Koch is behind various voter ID laws passed by state legislatures (it isn’t) and that Koch was the impetus for some Wake County, North Carolina school board decisions (it wasn’t).
Explore KochFacts to find the truth concerning these issues, as well as information concerning the Koch companies’ exemplary environmental performance record.
Mr. Greenwald’s dishonesty on these issues is troubling. However, he reached a new low even for him with a video last fall concerning Georgia-Pacific’s Crossett, Arkansas mill that contains false statements and misrepresentations of fact, which we understand he has included in his latest video.
As we have explained on this site, Mr. Greenwald relies on testimonials of individuals who have previously sued the company (and subsequently settled their claims), an environmental activist who has repeatedly misrepresented the company’s performance, and others who ignore or distort the true facts and environmental performance of the mill. Most egregious is Mr. Greenwald’s baseless claim that the mill is linked to cancer. While we are, of course, sympathetic to those who are suffering from cancer, there is no evidence that Georgia-Pacific’s operations are linked to any of these ailments.
Mr. Greenwald’ statements are maliciously false and misleading, and we urge the news media not to republish them. That Mr. Greenwald would use other people’s ailments as a means to falsely attack Koch is irresponsible and disgraceful, but not surprising, given his track record.
All one really needs to know about Mr. Greenwald is revealed by a statement he made several years ago: “There is a great quote: ‘The truth is too important to let the facts get in the way.’” In his latest project, he has lived up to those words.
– Mark Holden, General Counsel, Koch Industries, Inc.
In recent days, we have received numerous voicemails from staffers at Brave New Films, a fringe, left-wing activist video production group associated with the Brave New Foundation. The callers variously demand that we “defend ourselves” from points made in recent videos of theirs. But the videos in question are intellectually dishonest and our positions are well known, including these facts that are detailed publicly here.
Our positions on these issues have been ignored by BNF because their videos are agenda-driven propaganda. As Robert Greenwald from BNF once explained at a public conference, “I don’t believe that truth-telling means giving equal
time to all points of view.” Accordingly, we are posting here several examples
of BNF’s attempts, through their phone calls (and their unsuccessful efforts to hang up the phone), to gather material for another, apparently upcoming, propaganda video.
Mr. Tom Post
Mr. Bruce Upbin
Dear Mr. Post and Mr. Upbin:
I would like to share our concerns regarding a pattern of factually inaccurate and slanted postings about Koch Industries by several bloggers on Forbes.com.
In the past, Forbes magazine has covered us responsibly and in keeping with its well-earned reputation for having the highest standards in journalism. However, in recent months, some Forbes.com bloggers have disregarded that professionalism altogether. Here are a few specifics:
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Dear Mr. Brisbane:
I regret that I have to write you yet again. I am writing this time because the New York Times appears to have once again taken a gratuitous shot at Koch Industries and the Kochs, and I wanted to bring it to your attention.
A piece published on May 4, 2011, by Jim
Rutenberg, “Liberal Group’s Video Assails Koch Brothers,” raises the question again of whether the Times is observing and reporting on events or is it taking part in a concerted campaign? What follows are some specific concerns:
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