On April 8, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi headlined a Boston conference on ''media reform.'' She was joined by four other congressmen, a senator, two FCC commissioners, a Nobel laureate and numerous liberal journalists.
The 2,500-person event was sponsored by a group called Free Press, one of more than 180 different media-related organizations that receives money from liberal billionaire George Soros.
Soros, who first made a name for himself in investing and currency trading, now makes his name in politics and policy. Since the 2004 election, the controversial financier has used his influence and billions to push a laundry list of left-wing causes. Pick an issue and his Open Society Foundations likely fund the liberal position - pro-abortion, pro-illegal immigration, pro-national health care, pro-drug legalization, pro-Big Government, anti-Israel and, ultimately, anti-America.
He spent $27 million trying to defeat President Bush just in 2004. That was a drop in the bucket compared to the $8 billion he has donated just to his Open Society Foundations. Soros followed that presidential failure by earning the well-deserved reputation as one of the top liberal contributors. Soon after the election, ''Soros headlined a meeting of 70 millionaires and billionaires in Scottsdale, Ariz., to discuss how to grow the left's ideological assets,'' explained the Aug. 18, 2005, Christian Science Monitor.
He continued to lead after the meeting was finished. Through his foundation network, Soros has helped numerous left-wing operations either be born or grow. Many of those are either associated with the media - such as Free Press which pushes for media regulation and government-funded journalism - or have media components to their operation.
That has given Soros far more influence than even many of his harshest critics realize. He has managed to insinuate himself and his money into the media culture, making connections with the nation's top publishing organizations. He has direct ties to more than 30 mainstream news outlets - including The New York Times, Washington Post, the Associated Press, CNN and ABC. Each one of those operations has employees, often high-level ones, on the boards of Soros-funded media operations.
It's a connection hard to deny. But Soros does so, blaming the claim on Fox News. ''Another trick is to accuse your opponent of the behavior of which you are guilty, like Fox News accusing me of being the puppet master of a media empire,'' wrote Soros in the introduction to the new book ''The Philanthropy of George Soros.'' That book was written by former New York Times reporter Chuck Sudetic who now works for Soros' Open Society Foundations. It is the second such Soros promotional book written by a Times staffer.
Ties That Bind: Soros and the Top Media Outlets
When Soros gave $1.8 million to National Public Radio, it became part of the firestorm of controversy that jeopardized NPR's federal funding. That gift only hinted at the widespread influence the controversial billionaire has on the mainstream media. Soros has ties to more than 30 mainstream news outlets.
Prominent journalists like ABC's Christiane Amanpour and former Washington Post editor and now Vice President Len Downie serve on boards of operations that take Soros cash. This despite the Society of Professional Journalists' ethical code stating: ''avoid all conflicts real or perceived.''
The investigative reporting start-up ProPublica is a prime example. ProPublica, which recently won its second Pulitzer Prize, initially was given millions of dollars from the Sandler Foundation to ''strengthen the progressive infrastructure'' - ''progressive'' being code for very liberal.
In 2010, it also received a two-year contribution of $125,000 each year from the Open Society Foundations. Open Society is Soros' primary foundation and uses the web address www.soros.org . It is a network of more than 30 international foundations, mostly funded by Soros, who has contributed more than $8 billion.
ProPublica stories are thoroughly researched by top-notch staffers who used to work at some of the biggest news outlets in the nation. But the topics are almost laughably left-wing. The site's proud list of ''Our Investigations'' includes attacks on oil companies, gas companies, the health care industry, for-profit schools and more. More than 100 stories on the latest lefty cause: opposition to drilling for natural gas by hydraulic fracking. Another 100 on the evils of the foreclosure industry.
Investigations making the military look bad and one about prisoners at Guantanamo Bay add up to almost the perfect journalism fantasy - a huge budget, lots of major media partners and a liberal agenda unconstrained by advertising.
The operation has one more thing: a 14-person Journalism Advisory Board, stacked with CNN's David Gergen and representatives from top newspapers, a former publisher of The Wall Street Journal and the editor-in-chief of Simon & Schuster. Several are working journalists, including:
- Jill Abramson - New executive editor of The New York Times;
- Kerry Smith - The senior vice president for editorial quality of ABC News;
- Cynthia A. Tucker - The editor of the editorial page of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
ProPublica is far from the only Soros-funded organization that is stacked with members of the supposedly neutral press.
The Center for Public Integrity is another great example. Its board of directors is filled with working journalists like Amanpour from ABC, right along side blatant liberal media members like Arianna Huffington, of the Huffington Post and now AOL.
Like ProPublica, the CPI board is a veritable Who's Who of journalism and top media organizations, including:
- Christiane Amanpour - Anchor of ABC's Sunday morning political affairs program, ''This Week with Christiane Amanpour.'' A reliable lefty, she has called tax cuts ''giveaways,'' the Tea Party ''extreme,'' and Obama ''very Reaganesque;''
- Matt Thompson - Editorial product manager at National Public Radio and an adjunct faculty member at the prominent Poynter Institute.
The group's Advisory Council features:
- Ben Sherwood - ABC News president and former ''Good Morning America'' executive producer;
- Kathleen Hall Jamieson - Author and the Walter H. Annenberg Dean of the Annenberg School for Communication of the University of Pennsylvania;
- Michele Norris - Host of NPR's newsmagazine ''All Things Considered,'' public radio's longest-running national program.
Once again, like ProPublica, the Center for Public Integrity's investigations are mostly liberal - attacks on the coal industry, payday loans and conservatives like Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour. The center is also more open about its politics, including a detailed investigation into conservative funders David and Charles Koch and their ''web of influence.'' According to the center's own 990 tax forms, the Open Society Institute gave it $651,650 in 2009 alone.
The well-known Center for Investigative Reporting follows the same template - important journalists on the board and a liberal editorial agenda. Both the board of directors and the advisory board contain journalists from major news outlets. The board features:
- Phil Bronstein, director of content development and editor-at-large for Hearst Newspapers;
- David Boardman, The Seattle Times;
- Len Downie, former Executive Editor of the Washington Post, now VP;
- George Osterkamp, CBS News producer.
Readers of the site are greeted with numerous stories on climate change, illegal immigration and the evils of big companies. It counts among its media partners The Washington Post, Salon, CNN and ABC News. CIR received close to $1 million from Open Society from 2003 to 2009.
Why does it all matter? Journalists constantly claim to be neutral in their reporting. In almost the same breath, many bemoan the influence of money in politics. It is a maxim of both the left and many in the media that conservatives are bought and paid for by business interests. Yet where are the concerns about where their money comes from?
Fred Brown, who recently revised the book ''Journalism Ethics: A Casebook of Professional Conduct for News Media,'' argues journalists need to be ''transparent'' about their connections and ''be up front about your relationship'' with those who fund you.
Unfortunately, that rarely happens. While the nonprofits list who sits on their boards, the news outlets they work for make little or no effort to connect those dots. Amanpour's biography page, for instance, talks about her lengthy career, her time at CNN and her many awards. It makes no mention of her affiliation with the Center for Public Integrity.
$52 Million for Media Is Just the Beginning
It's a scene journalists dream about - a group of coworkers toasting a Pulitzer Prize. For the team at investigative start-up ProPublica, it was the second time their fellow professionals recognized their work for journalism's top honor.
For George Soros and ProPublica's other liberal backers, it was again proof that a strategy of funding journalism was a powerful way to influence the American public.
It's a strategy that Soros has been deploying extensively in media both in the United States and abroad. Since 2003, Soros has spent more than $52 million funding media properties, including the infrastructure of news - journalism schools, investigative journalism and even industry organizations.
And that number is an understatement. It is gleaned from tax forms, news stories and reporting. But Soros funds foundations that fund other foundations in turn, like the Tides Foundation, which then make their own donations. A complete accounting is almost impossible because a media component is part of so many Soros-funded operations.
It turns out that Soros' influence doesn't just include connections to top mainstream news organizations such as NBC, ABC, The New York Times and Washington Post. It's bought him connections to the underpinnings of the news business. The Columbia Journalism Review, which bills itself as ''a watchdog and a friend of the press in all its forms,'' lists several investigative reporting projects funded by one of Soros' foundations.
The ''News Frontier Database'' includes seven different investigative reporting projects funded by Soros' Open Society Institute. Along with ProPublica, there are the Center for Public Integrity, the Center for Investigative Reporting and New Orleans' The Lens. The Columbia School of Journalism, which operates CJR, has received at least $600,000 from Soros, as well.
Imagine if conservative media punching bags David and Charles Koch had this many connections to journalists. Even if the Kochs could find journalists willing to support conservative media, they would be skewered by the left.
For Soros, it's news, but nothing new. As one of the world's richest men (No. 46 on Forbes' list), he gets to indulge his dreams. Since those dreams seem to involve controlling media from the ground up, Soros naturally started supporting Columbia University's School of Journalism. Columbia is headed by President Lee Bollinger, who also sits on the Pulitzer Prize board and the board of directors of The Washington Post.
Bollinger, like some of Soros' other funding recipients, is pushing for journalism to find a new sugar daddy or at least an uncle - Uncle Sam. Bollinger wrote in his book ''Uninhibited, Robust, and Wide-Open: A Free Press for a New Century'' that government should fund media. A 2009 study by Columbia's journalism program came to the same conclusion, calling for ''a national fund for local news.''
Conveniently, Len Downie, the lead author of that piece, is on both the Post's board and the board of the Center for Investigative Reporting, also funded by Soros.
Soros funds more than just the most famous journalism school in the nation. There are journalism industry associations like:
- The National Federation of Community Broadcasters;
- The National Association of Hispanic Journalists;
- And the Committee to Protect Journalists.
Readers unhappy with Soros' media influence might be tempted to voice concerns to the Organization of News Ombudsmen - a professional group devoted to ''monitoring accuracy, fairness and balance.'' Perhaps they might consider a direct complaint to PBS's Michael Getler, a director of the organization. Unfortunately, that group is also funded by Soros. At the bottom of the Organization of News Ombudsmen's website front page is the line: ''Supported by the Open Society Institute,'' a Soros foundation. It is the only organization so listed.
The group's membership page lists 57 members from around globe and features:
- Deirdre Edgar, readers' representative of The Los Angeles Times;
- Brent Jones, standards editor, USA Today;
- Kelly McBride, ombudsman, ESPN;
- Patrick Pexton, ombudsman, The Washington Post.
The site doesn't address whether the OSI money creates a conflict of interest. But then, who could readers complain to anyway?
There's more. The Open Society Institute is one of several foundations funding the Investigative News Network (INN), a collaboration of 53 non-profit news organizations producing what they claim is ''non-partisan investigative news.'' The James L. Knight Foundation also backs the network and is possibly the most-well-known journalism foundation. Knight President and CEO Alberto Ibargüen is on the board of directors for ProPublica.
INN includes the Investigative Reporting Workshop at American University, the liberal web start-up MinnPost, National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting, National Public Radio, and the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism. The network had included the liberal Huffington Post investigative operation among its grants, but HuffPo investigations merged with the possibly even more left-wing Center for Public Integrity, on whose board Arianna Huffington sits. INN hasn't posted its tax forms yet, but in the meantime ''the Center for Public Integrity is graciously acting as our fiscal agent.''
Liberal academic programs, left-wing investigative journalism and even supposedly neutral news organizations all paid for by a man who spends tens of millions of dollars openly attacking the right. George Soros is teaching journalists that their industry has a future as long as he opens his wallet.
Soros' Lifelong Fascination with Journalism
Media has long been one of the billionaire's interests. According to ''Soros: The Life and Times of a Messianic Billionaire,'' he has been fascinated by media from when he was a boy where early career interests included ''history or journalism or some form of writing.'' He served as ''editor-in-chief, publisher, and news vendor of'' his own paper, ''The Lupa News'' and wrote a wall newspaper in his native Hungary before leaving, wrote author Michael T. Kaufman, a 40-year New York Times veteran. The Communist Party ''encouraged'' such papers.
But journalists weren't always interested in Soros. He avoided any form of publicity until 1981 when he was subject of a cover story in Institutional Investor called ''The World's Greatest Money Manager.'' Even in 1983 when he remarried, The New York Times refused to carry the wedding announcement. They were ''nobodies.'' All that changed when he made $1 billion speculating on the British pound. His profile rose a great deal. He was also criticized in the British tabloids including the Daily Mail in 1992 when he was sued by former house staff in England.
In subsequent years, the Soros connection to journalism has reached all facets of his empire - charity, politics and financial transactions. It might be as sweeping as investments in old media like Times Mirror, new media like AOL or charitable giving like NPR. Or it might be the global reach of Open Society funding journalistic events, awards, grants and travel. Former Times foreign correspondent Michael T. Kaufman, who was later the author of ''Soros: The Life and Times of a Messianic Billionaire,'' discovered Soros had ''paid for airfare'' for a European speaking engagement. He hadn't even known Soros was funding that trip.
Now, Soros underwrites journalists, blogs, books, news outlets, TV and radio stations, online operations, start-ups and investigative journalism. The list of media outlets that Soros has helped support reads like a Who's Who of the left. From 2003 to 2009, OSI gave $52 million to roughly 180 media organizations, including the National Federation of Community Broadcasters and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.
A Worldwide Media Powerhouse
The Soros media empire truly spans the globe, but few even realize it because it's decentralized under numerous organizations, funded in turn by more than 30 Open Society Foundations.
Back in 1997, then-Times writer Judith Miller said much of his charity was focused on the media. ''For the past decade, George Soros, the Hungarian-born financier and philanthropist, has spent more than a billion dollars promoting a free press and political pluralism abroad,'' she wrote.
The donations have climbed to $8 billion, but he certainly has continued promoting the press, giving himself global influence in the process. Soros has financed bloggers, journalist travel or education, TV shows, Internet start-ups, investigative journalism and even blogs.
As early as 1994, that empire included ''40 independent radio and television stations and publications'' just in Eastern Europe, according to the March 10, 1994 Jerusalem Report. At the same time, Soros was backing a post-Communist publication called Transitions, but pulled the plug on it in 1999, according to The New York Times.
In 1998, Soros was spending money on Russian media. The Oct. 11, 1998 Times explained that ''Soros gave $10 million toward an $80 million fund he plans to create to help struggling, independent news organizations in Russia ride out the severe economic downturn in that country.''
Soros also made investments in Viacom, College Sports TV, journalism awards even backing events at the Frontline Club in London, what the Times called ''a popular way station for war correspondents.''
The charity work is almost impossible to track, but wherever the Open Society Foundations are, their involvement with journalism is not far behind. The foundation has an entire initiative devoted to the media. Its purported goal is ''to promote independent and viable media and professional, quality journalism in countries undergoing a process of democratization and building functioning media markets.'' The site lists 15 different media program coordinators in nations from Afghanistan to the Ukraine.
In one of its bigger efforts, OSI funded B-92, the Yugoslavia radio network that ''urged young Serbs to avoid the draft'' and spoke out against the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. But many operations are smaller. Journalists are chosen to study at Central European University, also funded by Soros. The foundations back the Czech newspaper Lidove Noviny or the Kabul Weekly in Afghanistan.
Soros-Funded Left-Wing Media Reach More Than 300 Million People Every Month
The global reach of the Soros media empire means it reaches millions of people. From nakedly partisan left-wing media like Think Progress, the blog for the Center for American Progress, and a TV show on MSNBC (recently canceled), to the supposedly impartial National Public Radio, Soros has impact on the flow of information worldwide.
It gives him incredible influence. Every month, reporters, writers and bloggers at the many outlets he funds easily reach more than 330 million people around the globe. The U.S. Census estimates the population of the entire United States to be just less than 310 million.
That's roughly the entire population of the United States with the population of Australia thrown in for good measure - every single month.
Just counting 13 prominent operations of the 180 media organizations he has funded equals 332 million people each month. Included in that total are big players like NPR, which received $1.8 million from Soros, as well as the little known Project Syndicate and Public News Service, both of which also claim to reach millions of readers.
And that's really just the beginning. That tally takes into account only a few of the bigger Soros-funded media operations. Many numbers simply aren't available. ''Democracy Now!'' - ''a daily TV/radio news program, hosted by Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez'' - is known for its left-wing take on global news. Its vitriol ranges from attacks on Blackwater founder Erik Prince and supporters of Andrew Breitbart (whom it calls ''Electronic Brownshirts''), to claims the U.S. is opposed to Arab democracy. Just that one Soros-funded operation is heard ''on over 900 stations, pioneering the largest community media collaboration in the United States.'' But it posts no formal audience numbers. Phone calls to ''Democracy Now!'' were not returned.
But Soros wildly understates his own impact. It might be through a ''media reform'' conference with congressmen, a senator, two FCC commissioners, a Nobel laureate and numerous liberal journalists. Or it might be through a radio station in Haiti, which he also supports.
The media reform event was sponsored by a group called Free Press, which has received $1.4 million from Soros. Free Press has two major agenda items - undermining Internet freedom by pushing so-called ''net neutrality,'' and advocating for government-funded media to the tune of $35 billion a year.
Many of those attending or speaking were affiliated with Soros-funded operations.
Free Press is just one of the better funded Soros groups. They also include the Center for American Progress ($7.3 million), which operates the heavily staffed Think Progress blog. That blog ''now has 30 writers and researchers,'' according to Politico. Other well-funded operations include the investigative reporting operations at the Center for Public Integrity ($3.7 million) and Center for Investigative Reporting ($1.1 million), as well as Media Matters ($1.1 million) and the Sundance Institute ($1 million).
That's not all. ''Soros' foundations gave 34 grants from 1997 to 2010 to local NPR member stations and specific programs that have totaled nearly $3.4-million, said the foundations' [spokesperson Maria] Archuleta. Recipients included WNYC and Minnesota Public Radio,'' wrote now former NPR ombudsman Alicia Shepard.
In fact, Soros funds nearly every major left-wing media source in the United States. Forty-five of those are financed through his support of the Media Consortium. That organization ''is a network of the country's leading, progressive, independent media outlets.'' The list is predictable - everything from Alternet to the Young Turks, who have since lost their MSNBC show.
A report by the Media Consortium detailed how progressives had created an ''echo chamber'' of outlets ''in which a message pushes the larger public or the mainstream media to acknowledge, respond, and give airtime to progressive ideas because it is repeated many times.'' According to the report called ''The Big Thaw,'' ''if done well, the message within the echo chamber can become the accepted meme, impact political dynamics, shift public opinion and change public policy.''
That mindset plays out in much of what the consortium's members do. Alternet describes itself as an ''award-winning news magazine and online community that creates original journalism and amplifies the best of hundreds of other independent media sources.'' It hates Tea Parties and complains about ''hatemongering'' as the ''ugly side of Evangelical Christianity.'' Each month, the site gets 1.5 million unique visitors to its unique view of the world.
Brave New Films, also funded by the Media Consortium, is run by the same people who run Brave New Foundation. Robert Greenwald and Jim Miller produce and distribute videos attacking businesses and conservatives. The site brags about a 2008 election video ''that exposes John McCain's double talk, for instance, and received 9 million views around the world.'' Their latest effort is yet another attack on Koch Industries, attempting to halt a much-needed pipeline from the Canada to the U.S.
Then there's the Young Turks and MSNBC host Cenk Uygur. In 2010, he was welcomed to the network with a press release detailing his web impact. ''One of YouTube's Top 100 Partners, the irreverent talk show averages over 18 million views per month and has over 320 million views overall on its YouTube Channel.''
The list goes on and on. Project Syndicate calls itself ''the world's pre-eminent source of original op-ed commentaries.'' It has wide reach. ''As of May 2011, Project Syndicate membership included 462 leading newspapers in 150 countries.'' Its monthly circulation is 72,815,528. Naturally, ''support comes from the Open Society Institute,'' the primary Soros foundation.
Project Syndicate's columnist line-up, spread to 462 newspapers, is impressively left-leaning or globalist: UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, former President Jimmy Carter, former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, as well as lefty economists Jeffrey Sachs and Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz.
Public News Service describes itself as ''a member-supported news service that advocates journalism in the public interest.'' It is a ''network of state-based news services' in 33 states. It claims it reaches 'a combined national weekly audience of 24 million.'' PNS is proud of its 2010 success. ''Last year the Public News Service produced over 4,000 stories featuring public interest content that were redistributed several hundred thousand times on 6,114 radio stations, 928 print outlets, 133 TV stations and 100s of websites. Nationally, an average of 60 outlets used each story.''
Nearly 30 Soros-funded Media Operations Part of 'War on Fox'
To hear the left tell it, Fox News has a ''history of inciting Islamophobia and racial and ethic animosity'' and tries to ''race bait its viewers.'' One staffer is called a ''hit man,'' while his network is accused of ''attack politics.'' A highly questionable study is hyped by numerous outlets claiming that it ''confirms that Fox News makes you stupid.'' Fox is called simply: ''The Liars' Network.''
Sure, liberals have it in for Fox News, but that deep-seated, anti-Fox agenda isn't just an organic response from the left. It's a George Soros-funded ''echo chamber'' ''in which a message pushes the larger public or the mainstream media to acknowledge, respond, and give airtime to progressive ideas because it is repeated many times.''
The goal is ''Taking Down Fox News,'' as ''Mother Jones,'' a member of the Media Consortium, described it in a headline. That article, about another Soros-funded operation called Color of Change, explained how ''it successfully urged several advertisers, including Best Buy, Wal-Mart, and RadioShack, to pull their ads from Beck's show.'' Liberals even threw a party to celebrate Beck's departure from Fox News, ''drawing hundreds of activists, journalists and political strategists from the nation's capital,'' according to the Huffington Post.
It was all part of an organized effort against Fox. In all, nearly 30 organizations have attacked Fox News in the six months since the beginning of December, 2010.
Think Progress, the heavily Soros-funded blog for the Center for American Progress, slammed Fox more than 30 times in six months. AlterNet, an especially unhinged liberal outlet, went after the network at least 18 times in those months. It is one of 45 organizations aided by Soros' support of the Media Consortium ''a network of the country's leading, progressive, independent media outlets.''
These outlets are all part of Soros' web of media organizations that mirror his view of Fox as their enemy. That's the way he describes it in the new book, ''The Philanthropy of George Soros.'' ''Those in charge of Fox News, Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes, have done well in identifying me as their adversary,'' he wrote. ''They have done less well in the methods they used to attack me: Their lies shall not stand and their techniques shall not endure.''
That anti-Fox agenda is reflected in plans by another group in Soros' pocket to target the network specifically. Media Matters founder David Brock said his Soros-funded operation ($1.1 million) will ''focus on [News Corp. CEO Rupert] Murdoch and trying to disrupt his commercial interests.''
The left hating Fox isn't new. But the efforts of the different groups take on an amazing similarity. Take the University of Maryland study that seemed so critical of Fox News. The study itself included this nugget: ''This suggests that misinformation cannot simply be attributed to news sources, but are part of the larger information environment that includes statements by candidates, political ads and so on.'' That didn't stop any of the groups from using it against Fox News. AlterNet, Washington Monthly, Think Progress and The Nation. It quickly moved into the mainstream media from there.
That's just part of Soros' influence. In the case of Robert Greenwald, he's turned attacking Fox into a mini-industry. Greenwald is founder and president of Brave New Films, also part of the Soros-funded Media Consortium. Greenwald was also behind ''OUTFOXED: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism,'' The site for the movie that argues: ''FOX News is on a witch hunt. Fight back.'' The Brave New Films site has an entire section going after Fox called: ''When Fox Attacks.'' It claims: ''Videos from this campaign have been viewed over 8 million times.''
When Soros was criticized by Fox, multiple pieces of the Soros Empire responded. In one case, Jonathan Schell, a fellow at The Nation Institute, another part of the Media Consortium, made Fox News out to be anti-Semitic for criticizing Soros. An opinion piece titled, ''The Protocols of Rupert Murdoch,'' a reference to the infamous anti-Semitic ''Protocols of The Elders of Zion,'' blasted Glenn Beck.
Schell claimed Beck's criticism of ''the financier and philanthropist George Soros'' in effect ''recycles, almost in carbon copy, the tropes of the most virulent anti-Semitic ideologues.'' The column was distributed by another Soros-funded entity, Project Syndicate, which reaches ''462 leading newspapers in 150 countries,'' with a monthly circulation of 72,815,528.
It's that sort of cooperation that makes the Soros-funded ''echo chamber'' successful. Go on AlterNet and find articles from The Nation, a rant by Robert Greenwald or an interview by Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! Or go on New America Media's site and find an article from Color Lines.
The content from the 180 media sites that Soros helps support can be linked, cited or reposted, adding to the sense that there is strong interest in any particular ''progressive idea.'' It's just one more way George Soros influences the media.
George Soros is one of the most influential men in the world - in finance, in charity and, yes, in the media. Yet piecing together that influence is difficult because the media are so incurious about his actions.
When journalists become convinced an outlet is conservative, as they are with Fox News, they become enraged. Stories attacking Fox litter the media landscape. But an extensive and well-funded network of liberal media outlets with deep ties to mainstream news results in almost no coverage.
That's both unbelievable and unprofessional. Any individual funding more than 180 media outlets, with ties to dozens more through secondary sources, boards and the like, is the very definition of news.
But journalists don't want to report this story. To do so would mean they would have to be honest about the nature of the profession. They would have to admit:
- Reporters and editors often jump from activist liberal media outlets to mainstream organizations and back again;
- Many of the new journalism start-ups celebrated by the industry from ProPublica to Huffington Post to dozens of investigative journalism operations are all part of a growing liberal news network;
- Prominent journalists at the top outlets in the United States are affiliated with left-wing media outlets and see nothing wrong with such ties.
The whole infrastructure of journalism - education, industry organizations and news organizations - is intertwined with liberal media outlets. Conservative media organizations have no such ties.
Any one of these points proves the argument conservatives have long made - that the mainstream media are liberal from top to bottom. Journalists know this and, as their ties to liberal news organizations show, they just don't care.
The Business & Media Institute has some recommendations for the media to better handle their obvious conflicts of interest when it comes to Soros:
- Just Say No to Soros Cash: No purportedly ''objective'' journalist should serve on a board or advise any outlet that is financed by Soros. If academics do so, they should be open about their affiliations. But working journalists like Downie, Amanpour and Abramson should divorce themselves from the conflict.
- Question Motivations of News Sources: Reporters and editors should be aware when a story is being deliberately hyped by a network of linked organizations. Such times should always have reporters questioning not just the motives, but the facts of the case - whether it's on the right or the left.
- Spend Time Investigating the Left: Journalists have no trouble finding incentive to do detailed analysis of conservatives, but spend little time questioning the motives or funding of liberal organizations. Reporters should do a more detailed investigation into the Open Society Foundations and their influence throughout the media.