Netflix Takes on the Koch-Funded Attacks on Public Transit

By Lisa Graves for KochDocs

The newest episode of the Netflix series “Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj” focused on how the empire led by Charles Koch has funded efforts to thwart public transportation in the U.S.

The episode is titled “Why Mass Transit Sucks.” Full episodes are available with a subscription to Netflix, but the company has posted this episode on Youtube, which can be streamed below for free (for an unspecified period).

Charles Koch leads Koch Industries, one of the largest privately held companies in the world, and he also funds an array of political/policy groups that seek to advance his agenda in federal, state, and local politics.

As Hiroko Tabuchi has detailed in the New York Times, “How the Koch Brothers Are Killing Public Transit Projects Across the Country,” Charles Koch’s operatives at Americans for Prosperity (AFP) have attacked popular mass transit programs across the country, including stopping a proposal in Nashville.

Koch Industries’ spokesman told the Times the company does not control AFP’s state operations, but AFP is led by operatives of Charles Koch and it advances numerous policies aligned with Koch Industries’ financial interests, as documented in the new book, “Kochland,” by business investigative reporter Christopher Leonard.

As Tabuchi reported last year, since 2015 Charles Koch-backed groups had spent money trying to block at least seven state or local ballot measures funding public transportation. She also noted that:

“Americans for Prosperity and other Koch-backed groups have also opposed more than two dozen other transit-related measures — including many states’ bids to raise gas taxes to fund transit or transportation infrastructure — by organizing phone banks, running advertising campaigns, staging public forums, issuing reports and writing opinion pieces in local publications.”

The new Netflix episode examines the role of Koch money in thwarting mass transit that would work well for many people, illustrating how Charles Koch’s agenda harms working people every day. Hasan Minhaj, an American who is a Muslim, was the featured comedian at the White House Correspondents Dinner in 2017, which Donald Trump boycotted. He was a correspondent for the Daily Show from 2014 to 2018 when he launched this new series with Netflix to illuminate the facts about major public policy issues with humor.

KochDocs is designed to highlight new material like Minhaj’s episode about the Koch agenda against mass transit, as part of its Resources section and other features.

This video is also available at the series’ homepage here and via Facebook, here.