Wednesday, May 18, 2011

How George Soros bought the Mainstream Media

The next time you hear (or voice) accusations about "political bias" in the mainstream media (a.k.a. the "MSM") -- or you wonder why a unified chorus of media voices all arise, simultaneously and "spontaneously," to offer identical opinions (often in the same words) on a given topic -- consider The Source.

I have capitalized those two words, hoping that they become a form of rhetorical currency when describing left-wing billionaire financier George Soros and his role as mainstream media impressario. Soros has taken it upon himself to make sure that the MSM chorus all sing from the same page, in the same key, on any issue of interest to him.

The Media Research Center's Business and Media Institute is about to release a major report describing the astounding reach and influence of Soros's money in the mainstream media. Dan Gainor of the Center has just published a two-part series on that summarizes the report's findings.

In part one, we learn that Soros and his network of advocacy and funding groups have close ties with some 30 major media outlets–including The New York Times, Washington Post, the Associated Press, NBC and ABC. Big names in "mainstream" journalism sit on the boards of Soros's organizations and funding-recipient groups; millions of dollars from his foundations and funding conduits go into MSM "journalism" (read: propaganda) projects; and even so-called journalism "watchdog" groups and newspaper ombudsmen -- who are supposed to police the news media for bias and violations of ethics -- are in his hip pocket. Gainor notes:
Journalists, we are constantly told, are 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.
Part two of the series reveals that. . .
Since 2003, Soros has spent more than $48 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 (doubtful), they would be skewered by the left.
Read the two-part series, and you'll understand exactly why the mainstream media have become members in good standing of our Ruling Class. Much of it can be traced back to The Source.

UPDATE -- As Gainor pointed out, consider how the media have been treating libertarian billionaires David and Charles Koch, brothers who have contributed heavily to classical liberal/limited government/free market causes and political movements:
The Koch brothers have been on the receiving end of non-stop attacks from liberal journalists and academics ever since Jane Mayer published a hit piece on them last year in The New Yorker purporting to show that their contributions were behind the rise of the “Tea Party” movement. This wildly exaggerated claim was meant to cast the Koch brothers as great villains, but villains possessed of a satanic combination of power and tactical brilliance. In a predictable course, Mayer’s fairy tale was circulated by the columnists and editorial writers of the New York Times and from there through a network of second-level columnists and political magazines until at length it came to the attention of the credulous foot soldiers of the liberal-left who have kept the pot boiling in recent months with ever more inventive and exaggerated versions of the original lie.
The media double standard is obvious: They'll trash the Koch brothers "non-stop," but not breathe a peep against George Soros. After all, you don't bite the hand that feeds you.