As part of its continuing efforts to promote literacy and in order to provide books to those children in America most in need, Walden Media and the Weinstein Company (TWC) have partnered with the National Education Association’s Read Across America to launch the “Ticket to a Better World” initiative. Fifty cents of each The Giver movie ticket sold during Labor Day Weekend will be donated to the Ticket to a Better World initiative to raise up to a quarter of a million dollars to buy books for those children most in need.
Well, so what? NEA often partners with big corporations, particularly for its Read Across America initiative. But Walden Media is a step beyond. Right on the press release, it notes that the company produced “the Sundance Audience Prize Winning documentary Waiting for Superman.”
Waiting for Superman is a 2010 documentary by Davis Guggenheim that highlights failures in the public school system and follows families attempting to get their kids into charter schools.
NEA president Dennis Van Roekel said of the film, “The producers of Waiting for Superman missed an opportunity to engage in a constructive and collaborative dialogue with educators about how to truly transform public education. Instead, the film demonizes public education, teachers unions, and, unfortunately, teachers.”
If Waiting for Superman were Walden Media’s only sin, we could put this down to letting bygones be bygones. But the company also produced Won’t Back Down, a fictional film about the parent trigger movement.
About that film, Van Roekel said, “They wrote a script. One of the villains is a union. But it didn’t offend me because that’s not my union. I have never seen any union like that. It’s a make-believe union that doesn’t care.”
But those are just movies. What else is Walden Media into? Well, it’s part of the Anschutz Film Group (AFG). The left-wing In These Times breaks it down for us:
The movie is produced by AFG’s Walden Media subsidairy. AFG operates as a subsidiary of Anschutz Entertainment Group, which in turn is a subsidiary of the Anschutz Company. Philip Anschutz, the Anschutz Company’s chairman and CEO and the billionaire owner of The Weekly Standard and other publications, has provided major funding to efforts to restrict obscenity on television and oppose bans on sexual orientation discrimination.
The United Church of Christ provides a list of organizations to which the Anschutz Foundation has donated, including union nemesis National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation.
The delegates to this year’s NEA Representative Assembly voted down a new business item that would have required the union to investigate potential business partners. A second NBI called on the union to establish criteria for such partnerships. It was withdrawn. I suspect this news will revive that debate.