In the summer of 2009, shortly after Barack Obama and a Democratic Congress swept to power promising a new era of hope and change, a citizens protest movement emerged out of nowhere threatening to derail their agenda. Some said this uprising was the epitome of grassroots democracy. Others said it was a classic example of 'astroturfing' -- an elaborate corporate public relations effort designed to create the impression of a spontaneous uprising. Curious to find out for himself, Australian filmmaker Taki Oldham goes undercover and straight into the heart of the movement. He visits raucous health care town hall meetings where irate voters parrot insurance industry PR; learns that home-grown "citizen groups" challenging the science behind climate change are funded by big oil companies; and infiltrates a tea party movement whose anti-government rage turns out to be less the product of populist rage than of corporate strategy. In the end, The Billionaires' Tea Party offers a terrifying look at how corporate elites are exploiting the anxieties of ordinary Americans -- capitalizing on anger, resentment, and paranoia to advance a narrow, often anti-democratic, agenda.
(Previously known as AstroTurf Wars.)
Camera, Director, Editor, Producer: Taki Oldham
Voiceover Recording Engineer: Davide Carbone
Additional Editing: Bergen O'Brian Additional Graphics: Daniel Nicholas
"Taki Oldham's documentary is journalism at its best. I wish every American could see it before the election. I just watched it and am even more concerned about the future of our democracy than ever before." - Wendell Potter | Author of Deadly Spin: An Insurance Industry Insider Speaks Out on How Corporate PR is Killing Health Care and Deceiving Americans
"Brilliant." - George Monbiot | The Guardian
"Essential viewing." - David Suzuki | Author & Environmentalist
"...Vital viewing at a critical time for the United States of Empire. Regardless of your political leanings, Oldham thoughtfully details how modern political propaganda works in our culture, and ought to be required viewing..." - Rob Williams | Vermont Commons
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