The anti-teacher, anti-public school movie “Won’t Back Down” was released into 2,500 movie theaters (owned by its producer Walden Media) and died a quick and ignominious death. Despite massive advance publicity at NBC’s “Education Nation” and a CBS promotion, despite Michelle Rhee hosting screenings at both national political conventions, despite attention on the “Ellen” show, the film had one of the worst opening weekends in recent history. The critics ridiculed it, and within four weeks, the film had disappeared.
It became a dead film, but it lives on as a zombie film. Its producers Philip Anschutz and Rupert Murdoch never expected to make money. They are billionaires, and they didn’t care about the box office receipts. They wanted their propaganda film to persuade people that teachers are lazy, that unions are evil, and that parents must seize control of their school and hand it over to a charter corporation.
Their goal was nothing short of privatization of public education.
So now they have taken their dud and, with the help of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, are showing it to legislators in conservative states, hoping to keep their campaign alive with a zombie film that died months ago.
Call it the ALEC road show.
You know who Rupert Murdoch is. He is the man who owns Fox News and many publications and is now embroiled in a scandal in Great Britain, where his reporters hacked into the telephones of scores of people, including a dead teenage girl.
Maybe you don’t know much about Philip Anschutz, who owns Walden Media. He has been a successful movie producer (“Chronicles of Narnia,” among others). His energy company is very involved in the controversial practice of hydrofracking in many parts of he nation, which environmentalists oppose. He contributes generously to libertarian, anti-government think tanks. He supported anti-gay campaigns in Colorado and California.