We’ve been hearing it for decades now….the media in the U.S. has a liberal bias. We’ve heard it so often from so many people that it has become an accepted norm. The only problem is, it isn’t true. Or if it was true at some point, it is no longer true. Here’s a prime example.
Today, as I was reading the news on Yahoo I found in the News For You section a link to an article entitled “Who’s Behind the Wall Street Protests?” that was written yesterday, Oct. 13, 2011. Being aware that the movement Occupy Wall Street (OWS) was a spontaneous movement, a true grass-roots happening that started in New York and then spread around cities in the US and now the world, I was curious. The article by Reuters news agency doesn’t pull any punches. They get right to the point. They assert that OWS isn’t a grass-roots movement but is instead the creation of one George Soros.
For the uninitiated, George Soros is a Hungarian-born philanthropist who has called the U.S. home for many decades. He frequently supports progressive-liberal causes and spends a great deal of money and time in those endeavors. One of his main motivations comes from surviving the Holocaust as a young man. Nothing like surviving senseless extinction at the hands of a fascist regime to make one value freedom and democracy, right? To liberals he is a kind man who believes in the worthiness of liberal causes, but I don’t know anyone, who is very active in liberal politics, who has ever met him or received anything from him. Many of us have, on occasion, joined with organizations that he has donated to such as MoveOn.org and the Center for American Progress. So many of our causes and our activities have indirectly benefited from his largess.
If you do a Google search on Soros you will be overwhelmed with information….I found over 2.2 million hits for his name alone–which doesn’t include all the organizations and causes to which he is linked. The reason isn’t because he’s wealthy, because there are plenty of very wealthy individuals in the U.S. that don’t get so many Internet mentions. The reason isn’t because he donates to progressive/liberal causes….again there are many wealthy people that do that too. No, the reason that George Soros is so talked about is because several important figures on the right in the MSM have decided to villify Mr. Soros as some kind of shadowy puppet master (e.g., Pres. Obama being cast as a “Manchurian Candidate” created by Soros, China, any and all enemies of the U.S. and any combination thereof) leading the country ignorantly to a Marxist state. Although nothing could be further from the truth, media figures such as Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Bill O’Riley, Pat Buchannen, etc, etc, etc…..have been pushing conspiracy theories stirring up the passions and fears of their libertarian and evangelical base to the point that far too many people are now buying into the theory, including some mainstream news sources like Reuters.
So linked on a Yahoo News page that will be seen by millions of users in the U.S. and around the world is an article baldly stating that Soros is behind the OWS protests. Their proof? Three things. 1) Soros previously donated money to a liberal ad agency in Canada who first started calls for “occupation” protests in response to large banking and investment companies that crashed the world economy and still earn billions in profits. This ad agency, called Adbusters, was the origin of the idea of OWS and the connection here is indirect as Soros is not the only donor to Adbusters and he didn’t donate money to them in support of this particular cause. The article at least admits that is indirect. 2) Soros and the protesters “share ideological ground”. Of course they do?! Soros is a self-proclaimed supporter of liberal causes. And so do I but that doesn’t mean that agree with everything that comes out of the mouths of OWS protesters nor does it mean that either Soros or I want the destroy my country and install a Marxist state. That’s like saying that if you share beliefs with a mass murderer, then you must be a mass murderer. Well, I believe that there are some beliefs that Timothy McVeigh had that millions of Americans also supported……but very few of them would say that means they were in cahoots with McVeigh. And 3) Rush Limbaugh said it. That’s the incredible contribution to journalism offerred up by Mark Egan and Michelle Nichols, two reporters from Reuters.
So, having read said piece of crap I thought I would investigate a little more. I looked up Adbusters and found out that they did indeed originate the idea but not the actual protests of OWS. Then I did a Google search on “Reuters wall street protests” and the third result down was an article on Reuters site by the same authors that is entitled, “Soros: not a funder of Wall Street protests” also published yesterday. In reading the article they actually engage in some journalism and spoke to Adbusters who said that Soro’s had NOT given them money directly but they wish he would. They had received money from a group called the Tides Agency which is directly funded by Soros. Soro’s aides say he’s never even heard of them. The ad agency indicated that 95% of their funding comes from individuals who subscribe to their magazine. These revelations are buried in paragraph 14 of the story. HOWEVER, the same reductionist logic that claims Soros IS behind OWS is right up at the top in paragraphs 2 through 4.
Still curious, I decided to see how Reuters reported on the funding behind another supposed grass-roots protest, the Tea Party. I did a Google search for the following string: “who is behind the tea party protests?” reuters
Guess what I found? Nothing. Not a single link or word about it. Take out the Reuters and I get 5 results. That’s it, 5 total. So I thought maybe its the phrasing…..so I took off the quotes and I found over 102 million results. Now many of these links are to the sites and stories of actual Tea Party members. And no doubt there are quite a few individuals who joined that movement with sincere beliefs and honest intentions because they love their country. However, I find it depressing that the same search replacing “tea party” with “wall street” finds thousands of results with or without the term Reuters in the search string. Then I did a search about the known (freely admitted) bank roll behind the Tea Party movement, the Koch Brothers of Koch Industries fame. Then I found about 1 million hits…..half of what you get on George Soros. And the types of links…progressive bloggers. What kind of links do you get when you search for Soros….MSM links. This is no coincidence. Let me explain why by asking a question.
Who is Reuters anyway? It is headquartered in London and was originally a news agency owned by Thomson Reuters. In 2008 it was merged with The Thomson Corporation, an information business, known mostly for its higher education textbooks.* Thomson is registered in Canada but has their headquarters in the U.S. (nice little tax maneuvering there I figure…..) In recent years they have divested themselves of traditional media (i.e., textbooks) in an effort to concentrate on digital and online media. The current CEO of Reuters is Tom Glocer and the current chairman is David Thomson (of the Thomson family that owns 70% of the company).
Who is Glocer and what is his angle? Well he has been with Reuters since 1993, moving up the ranks until he reached CEO in 2001. He lives in NYC, has a law degree and one can safely assume that he is filthy rich. ** As for David Thomson, filthy rich doesn’t even come close to describing his wealth, $23 billion at last count, ranked as #16 on the list of wealthiest families in the world by Forbes. I won’t bother going into his royal title, the “3rd Baron Thomson of Fleet”.***
What possible motive could these fabulously wealthy, media magnates have that would encourage the mis-characterization of the OWS protests (she asks disingenuously)? It couldn’t possibly be maintenance of the status quo, keeping the balance of power squarely on the side of corporations and the 1% could it? Could it?
I mean all the evidence, of which the Reuters story is only one tiny, tiny piece, is becoming a mountain of evidence that the MSM is manipulating the American public to turn against their best advocates, themselves, and in the end vote against their own best interests. I’m one of a few voices telling you not to believe it. The Soros boogeyman isn’t real and the ones that are real, like Dave Thomson and Rupert Murdoch, who own most of the news sources are invisible to the average American. Liberal media bias, don’t believe the hype.
*Full disclosure I have used many Thomson textbooks to teach computer programming courses over the years and have recommended them to other instructors as well.
**For you glibertarians and conservatards reading this, I’m not saying he didn’t earn it so don’t go there!
***I presume they aren’t referring to Fleet of enema fame (I couldn’t resist the scatological reference, I’m sorry!!!!)