[Astro] Turf Wars Uncovered in New Undercover Documentary

[Astro] Turf Wars Uncovered in New Undercover Documentary
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In his recently released documentary, [astro] Turf Wars, Australian filmmaker Taki Oldham goes undercover to try and answer the question: “Just how real are the roots of the tea party’s supposed grassroots uprising.”

Oldham, examines the role corporate-funded grassroots groups (known as ‘astroturf’) have played in the recent health-care and climate debates and their central role in the tea party movement.

Here’s the very amusing trailer:

The film singles out free-market ‘grassroots’ groups FreedomWorks and Americans For Prosperity (AFP), whose million-plus memberships helped create the Tea Party movement and led the uprising against the Democrats reform agenda.

While AFP have been getting a lot of press lately for their ties to billionaire oil man David Koch, (Astro) Turf Wars take this to a whole new level. Of particular note are the revelations that in a previous incarnation both AFP and FreedomWorks were paid by tobacco companies to kill the Clinton healthcare reforms in 1994, mobilizing their grassroots army to fight a ‘government takeover’ and ‘socialized medicine.’

With help from propaganda experts Professor Mark Crispin Miller and DeSmogBlog’s own James Hoggan, Oldham’s film lays bare the blatant use of pro-business propaganda driving the Tea Party movement.

Oldham’s undercover work documents how Tea Party goers are being recruited into this libertarian fight for ‘freedom’ seemingly without any understanding of who is bankrolling the campaign.

Another notable appearance is by Huffington contributor Wendell Potter, a former head of PR for the health insurance providers Cigna and Humana who blows the whistle on the health insurance industry’s use of astroturfing to fool and manipulate citizens.

The 90 minute film, which is available online at astrotufwars.com, comes at opportune moment for President Obama and the Democratic Party who are being drowned in a flood of corporate money to special interest groups like AFP, who according to the Associated Press have already spent $5.5m on attack ads against Democrat candidates – that’s a lot of moolah for a supposedly “grassroots” group.

[Astro] Turf Wars Uncovered in New Undercover Documentary

Kevin is a contributor and strategic adviser to DeSmogBlog.

He runs the digital marketing agency Spake Media House. Named a “Green Hero” by Rolling Stone Magazine and one of the “Top 50 Tweeters” on climate change and environment issues, Kevin has appeared in major news media outlets around the world for his work on digital campaigning.

Kevin has been involved in the public policy arena in both the United States and Canada for more than a decade. For five years he was the managing editor of DeSmogBlog.com. In this role, Kevin’s research into the “climate denial industry” and the right-wing think tank networks was featured in news media articles around the world. He is most well known for his ground-breaking research into David and Charles Koch’s massive financial investments in the Republican and tea party networks.

Kevin is the first person to be designated a “Certified Expert” on the political and community organizing platform NationBuilder.

Prior to DeSmogBlog, Kevin worked in various political and government roles. He was Senior Advisor to the Minister of State for Multiculturalism and a Special Assistant to the Minister of State for Asia Pacific, Foreign Affairs for the Government of Canada. Kevin also worked in various roles in the British Columbia provincial government in the Office of the Premier and the Ministry of Health.

In 2008 Kevin co-founded a groundbreaking new online election tool called Vote for Environment which was later nominated for a World Summit Award in recognition of the world’s best e-Content and innovative ICT applications.

Kevin moved to Washington, DC in 2010 where he worked for two years as the Director of Online Strategy for Greenpeace USA and has since returned to his hometown of Vancouver, Canada.

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