George Soros is arguably the most influential liberal financier in the United States, donating more than $8 billion just to his Open Society Foundations. In 2004, he spent more than $27 million to defeat President George W. Bush and has given away millions more since to promote the left-wing agenda. But what goes almost without notice is Soros' extensive influence on and involvement with the media.
Since 2003, Soros has donated more than $52 million to all kinds of media outlets - liberal news organizations, investigative reporting and even smaller blogs. He has also been involved in funding the infrastructure of supposedly "neutral" news, from education to even the industry ombudsman association. Many other operations Soros supports also have a media component to what they do.
His media funding has helped create a liberal "echo chamber," in the words of one group he backs, "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 the Soros-supported "Mother Jones" described it.
Despite his denials, Soros has extensive reach into the media. The Media Research Center's Business & Media Institute conducted a detailed analysis of George Soros and his influence on the media. It found:
Soros Spends More Than $52 Million on Media: 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. That's a low estimate because many organizations have a media component to what they do but it is impossible to separate the operations.
Ties to Major Media: Soros has connections to more than 30 mainstream news outlets - including The New York Times, Washington Post, Associated Press, CNN and ABC.
Breach of Ethics: Prominent journalists like ABC's Christiane Amanpour, New York Times Executive Editor Jill Abramson and former Post editor and now Vice President Len Downie serve on boards of operations that take Soros cash. But according to the Society of Professional Journalists' ethical code, journalists should 'avoid all conflicts real or perceived.' Reporters and editors serving on boards of groups funded by Soros openly violate both aspects of this guideline.
Reaching More Than U.S. Population: Every month, reporters, writers and bloggers at the many outlets Soros funds - from big players like NPR to the little known Project Syndicate and Public News Service, both of which claim to reach millions of readers - easily reach more than 332 million people around the globe. The population of the entire United States is less than 310 million.
Fox News is Target No. 1: Nearly 30 groups funded by the liberal billionaire have attacked Fox News in the six months since the beginning of December, 2010. Soros-funded media operations claim Fox News has a "history of inciting Islamophobia and racial and ethic animosity" and that it tries to "race bait its viewers."
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 web 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.