By Alatheia Larsen ~
As U.S. citizens prepare to select the next president, one liberal donor spent more than $103 million on media over the last 14 years to promote his own progressive agenda.
Liberal billionaire George Soros pledged to give at least $25 million to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and other Democratic candidates and causes, according to Politico. And emails exposed by WikiLeaks showed Clinton staffers going out of their way to “make Soros happy” before the 2016 campaign even started.
But that’s just a small slice of the pie. Media groups in the U.S. promoting the same liberal platform as Clinton got more than twice as much Soros money.
Between 2000 and 2014, Soros pumped an astonishing $103,236,632 into media groups that circulate his liberal, anti-capitalist messages throughout the United States and abroad. Of that total, $61 million from Soros went to nine liberal media outlets In the United States which openly support the same liberal agenda as Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
As the presidential election progressed, Soros’ media allies have raised their voices in unison in favor of liberal policies touted by Clinton. In 2016 alone, they helped provide illegal immigrants with “relief from deportation,” encouraged presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to “call out the CIA” for the “overclassification” of emails on her personal server, written how-tos on wealth redistribution “without the guillotine,” given labor unions tips on how to “win and wield” more power, and supported the Fight for $15 movement, calling California and New York’s new $15 minimum wage a “huge victory.”
Soros directly donated to at least 141 media groups, including multimedia outlets, nonprofits, schools, “watch dogs,” legal groups, and journalism societies in the U.S. and internationally. Donations from Soros ranged from $5,000 to $32 million.
Through those recipients, Soros’s reach extends even further. Groups like New America Media and Media Development Investment Fund, for example, are themselves made up of hundreds of other, smaller media outlets who are indirectly influenced by Soros’ money.
Of the 141 groups supported by Soros, 14 have received more than $1 million apiece. At least nine of those 14 organizations used the money to engage in liberal advocacy, pushing liberal policies supported by both Soros and Clinton. Those nine groups collectively received more than $61 million.
The news media are supposed to provide “an impartial, accurate approach” to news, and “avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived,” according to the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics.
However, nine Soros-funded media groups revealed a decided tilt in favor of liberals and Clinton, and opposition to both Trump and conservative political positions.
The Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR), is an online, radio and podcast news outlet which claims to be “nationally respected for setting the highest journalistic standards.” It’s also a two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist. Between 2000 and 2014, Soros gave the group $3,285,600.
But in spite of its claims of journalistic “standards,” CIR singled out Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump for its attacks on Feb. 1, 2016. They published a series of critical articles ranging from profiling Trump donors and supporters, to lamenting that Trump supporters hate political correctness. CIR’s senior digital producer also painstakingly compiled 15 separate Trump soundbites into “The Trump Game” to “Get inside his head.” For each soundbite, readers voted for one of three reactions: “Cheer,” “Meh,” or “Boo.”
The group did not run a similar series of attacks on Hillary Clinton. Instead, CIR rarely mentioned her. One of the only mentions of Clinton came was in a Feb. 10, article which said she and Sen. Bernie Sanders (who was still in the race at the time) were “sparring over female supporters.” The article said that appealing to non-white voters seemed to be Clinton’s “strong suit.”
Unlike many Soros-funded media outlets The American Prospect magazine doesn’t attempt to hide its liberal advocacy. Its goal “to advance liberal and progressive goals” is proudly emblazoned in the About Us section. That promise, along with $1,380,000 from Soros, mark The American Prospect as a reliable source for left-wing perspective.
The American Prospect began 2016 by asking, “Can Democrats Channel America’s Discontent?” It also called Trump “something new and ominous in American political life,” and accused the Republican convention of probably being “white nationalist.”
The Columbia Journalism Review, which has an intimate relationship with Soros, is so blinded by its own liberal bias, it actually advised journalists to gloss over elements of Clinton’s email scandal in February 2016.
“Let’s stop treating the contents of the email like they are huge national security secrets that imperiled the nation just because US intelligence agencies said so,” CJR pleaded. The article then recommended the media criticize the CIA for “overclassification” and “still being embroiled in multiple FOIA lawsuits” instead of discussing Clinton’s misuse of her private email server.
Most outlets, however, promote Clinton more subtly. The most common way Soros-funded media groups have supported Clinton’s campaign is by avoiding her name, but praising her policies.
By supporting things like lenient immigration policy, stronger labor unions, and taxing the rich, these nine Soros-funded media outlets were able to covertly support Clinton — Soros’ pick for president.
Liberal Immigration Policy at Home With Soros-Funded Outlets
In March 2016, Soros donated $3 million to the Immigrant Voters Win PAC — a new Super PAC with just a few donors (Soros was the first). The PAC’s goal was to “register 400,000 new Hispanic voters before the November elections,” according to The Washington Free Beacon April 20, 2016.
At the same time, Soros-funded media organizations highlighted immigrant voters, specifically those who are in a “rush to become citizens” to vote against Trump. One media outlet has even been working to help legal immigrants vote and illegal immigrants avoid deportation.
Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, whose alumni have worked at The New York Times, Bloomberg, NPR, and all three broadcast networks, hosted a conference called “The Latino Vote: Myth vs. Reality” in January 2016. The conference drew attention to immigrants who were becoming citizens to vote against Trump.
Soros is inescapably tied to Columbia University. He’s given the school $11,236,257 — at least $1,445,484 of which directly to the journalism school.
According to NBC News, the Columbia Journalism School conference was “the official kick off of a new partnership between Columbia Journalism School and Telemundo (a division of NBCUniversal)” to cover the 2016 election.
National Public Radio followed Columbia Journalism School’s example and also used an illegal immigrant to encourage lenient immigration changes in the 2016 presidential election.
Soros gave NPR $2,300,000, but the group also accepted money from other liberal donors including the MacArthur Foundation.
In May 2016, an NPR All Things Considered broadcast featured immigration activists Fermin Vasquez and Jose Vargas, a Filipino illegal who has become a media darling.
Vargas previously worked for The San Francisco Chronicle, The Washington Post (where he and a team of reporters collectively won a Pulitzer Prize), and The Huffington Post.
We’re marching to be recognized in this country and build a future based not on fear but on hope,” said Vasquez, “And that’s our message to the American public that we’re — this is our country. We’re here to stay, and we contribute every day.”
Two weeks later, NPR also touted immigrants who were becoming citizens to vote against Trump.
New America Media, a “national collaboration and advocate of 3,000 ethnic news organizations,” received $3,109,679 from Soros. In the past year, it pushed for liberal immigration policies and collaborated with Ready California to help illegal immigrants avoid deportation through exemption programs.
The programs, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA), grant work permits and exemption from deportation to illegal immigrants who came to the United States as children or who have children who were born in the United States.
Though both programs are on hold, New America Media encouraged illegal immigrants to “Apply for DACA, Get Ready for DAPA” in March 2016, in case the Supreme Court rules in their favor. New America Media also touted the benefits of DACA by promoting the story of an illegal Korean immigrant who got “a social security number, a driver’s license and work authorization” because of the program.
While DACA and DAPA may be on hold for the moment, Clinton has promised to create a “path to citizenship” for illegal immigrants if she becomes president. By helping illegal immigrants prepare to permanently remain in the U.S., New America Media not only promoted Clinton’s immigration platform, but also helped the illegal immigrant population prepare for a Clinton presidency.
Clinton (and Sanders, while he was still a Democratic contender) also found an ally in Mic, a U.S. based project of the Media Development Investment Fund.
Between 2002 and 2014, Soros gave $32 million to Media Development Investment Fund (MDIF); a full 31 percent of his total media funding. MDIF “invests in independent media around the world,” mostly in areas where they claim “access to free and independent media is under threat,” (in 2014, they were supporting projects in 37 other countries).
MDIF also supports a few U.S. based media entities, including Mic — a “news and debate platform for millennials by millennials.”
Mic claims to offer millennials “quality coverage” to help them “make sense of the world.” But in reality, Mic only tries to make sense of the liberal world. Its “Policy” subsection reads half as a GOP roast and half as a liberal campaign.
The liberal outlet partnered with Spotify in September 2016 to create “Clarify,” a video series targeting millennials with left-wing election views on student debt, gun control, the economy, and civil rights.
In December 2015, Mic recycled Sanders’ attack that Trump’s “aggressive” immigration policy was “dividing the country in a way that stimulates income inequality and benefits only the wealthy.”
Mic also promoted protesters who successfully blocked Trump supporters from attending a rally in March. When one of the protesters, a former organizer for Soros’ Open Society Foundations, was arrested and questioned by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Mic gushed, “a Trump protester was transferred to immigration authorities and you need to know her name.”
Mic’s posted numerous videos on its Facebook page attacking Trump on immigration and other policies. One captioned “A friendly reminder of why we all need to go out and vote,” compiled several of Trump’s controversial statements. Mic also re-posted an anti-Trump attack ad created by Priorities USA, a Super PAC backing Clinton.
Labor Unions Get Support, Advice from Soros-Funded Media
“When unions are strong, America is strong,” declared Clinton’s campaign platform. Soros-funded media made the same case.
By advising unions on ways to “win and wield power,” celebrating when judges “rule in favor of union activists,” and featuring union leaders, these media groups showed off their own preference for strong unions.
In April 2016, The American Prospect proposed “new models of how workers can win and wield power” through labor unions in the 21st century.
A month later, the magazine sided with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) which was trying to admit Fight for 15 workers into the union. Unionization would set a “huge new precedent” for union authority, The American Prospect raved.
The outlet also let itself be a platform for labor organizers who who want to increase union social justice activism.
“I think there’s a growing feeling that if you operate within the confines of the law, you restrict the things that potentially give you power,” Service Employees International Union activist Stephen Lerner told The American Prospect in June. “We have to be willing to go beyond what the law allows.”
The American Prospect also used the rise of app-based work like Uber and TaskRabbit (a website that connects people to local movers, cleaners, errand-runners, etc) to encourage workers to “embrace different strategies” to gain bargaining power. The June 28, 2016, article also supported a German union’s critical response to crowdsourcing “highly skilled work” because it “might undercut high-road employers and unionized workers.”
Mic also established itself as an ally for union leaders in the 2016 election.
Mic’s lengthy April interview with Lily Garcia, president of the National Education Association (the largest labor union in the nation), focused on her support for Clinton. “We have two good friends running on the Democratic side,” Garcia told Mic.
Garcia also said she was impressed with Clinton’s “commitment to children and education as a social justice issue,” and called the remaining Republican contenders (Trump, Kasich and Cruz) “quite terrifying.” In her view, if Sanders or Clinton did not win, “the future of everything” was at stake.
That same month, Mic celebrated when a Wisconsin judge “ruled in favor of union activists,” against a right-to-work law. The law would have allowed people to work without being forced to pay union dues if they weren’t union members.
Link TV, also funded by Soros, promotes pro-union people and positions as well.
Link TV is television outlet which claims to offer a “unique perspective” on “issues not often covered in the US media.” In reality, it pushes a progressive version of the news through syndicated programs like Democracy Now! and The Laura Flanders Show.
So far, Soros has donated $1,376,000 to continue Link TV’s liberal messaging.
A prime example was Laura Flanders’ June 20, interview with socialist Seattle city councilwoman Kshama Sawant. Sawant is an activist in her union’s local chapter (American Federation of Teachers Local 178), as well as a “visible presence in the Occupy Wall Street Movement,” according to Flanders. Sawant ran for (and won) Seattle City Council by supporting a $15 minimum wage, rent control, and “taxing the super-rich to fund mass transit and education.”
Sawant appeared on the show to praise then-presidential candidate and Democratic socialist Bernie Sanders. According to Sawant, Sanders showed that “the word ‘socialist’ isn’t a barrier” or a “bad label to have.”
Soros Supported Media Groups Revere $15 Minimum Wage
While Soros-funded media groups mostly line up with Clinton’s platform. But on wages they are even further to the left.
While Clinton promised a $12 federal minimum wage (and vowing to support “city and state efforts to raise their own minimum wage even higher”), Soros-funded media called the $15 minimum wage a “victory” and a “simple” policy — all while criticizing those who oppose it.
After California and New York increased their minimum wage to $15 in April 2016, Democracy Now!’s far-left host Amy Goodman gushed, “This is quite a remarkable victory in both New York and California!”
Her co-host Juan Gonzalez similarly fawned over the rapid growth of the Fight for 15 movement and predicted, “it’s going to continue to spread, because there’s too many Americans who cannot live on the federal minimum wage.”
NPR ignored the economic fallout of raising the minimum wage, insisting that “while some economic matters are stunningly complex,” the federal minimum wage is “simple.”
“The congressional response is simple, too: Democrats are for it; Republicans against,” NPR’s Senior Business Editor Marilyn Geewax said in the Nov. 10, 2015, column. Geewax then flaunted Democratic support for a $15 minimum wage.
She ended her column with comments from a minimum wage protester who vowed to “pay more attention to politics” in the 2016 election.
In February 2016, All Things Considered similarly criticized the Republican-controlled state legislature in Alabama for trying to keep Birmingham from raising the state’s minimum wage.
Minimum wage is “not enough to get by on in much of the country, so many states and cities have set higher minimums,” said host Robert Siegel, “When the city of Birmingham, Ala., tried to do that recently, the state legislature struck back.”
But the legislature’s position wasn’t cruel vengeance, it was trying to protect Birmingham from losing business to parts of the state with lower minimum wage, and concerned about increased unemployment.
Mic meanwhile has a contradictory relationship with minimum wage coverage.
In May 2016, Mic senior staff writer Ruth Reader identified the practical, negative results that come from raising the minimum wage when she reported that “Wendy’s is replacing cashiers with touch-screen kiosks.”
“The growing bot workforce comes as labor unions and workers campaign for a raise in the minimum wage,” Reader continued. The switch to kiosks will eliminate as many as five jobs per location.
But following the fourth Republican presidential debate in November 2015, Mic criticized the “tired myths” the candidates “peddled” against a $15 minimum wage. Mic even claimed that “business-friendliness and minimum wage laws aren’t mutually exclusive.”
Media Push to Tax the Rich Mirrors Clinton’s ‘Fair Share Surcharge’
In January 2016, Clinton took the idea of punitive taxation of the rich to a whole new level when her campaign announced a “Fair Share Surcharge.” She proposed a 4 percent tax on Americans making more than $5 million a year.
Soros-backed media supported the same policy. They have published stories on “how to redistribute wealth,” argued taxes should be raised “by as much as half again,” and claimed that the government needs “still more revenue.”
While The American Prospect did not address Clinton’s Fair Share Surcharge head on, the liberal magazine published tax-the-rich propaganda.
“How to Redistribute Wealth — Without the Guillotine,” for example, on April 28, 2016. The American Prospect’s solution was to not only tax billionaires’ paychecks, but “tax the wealth they’ve already amassed” as well.
Jared Bernstein, former chief economic advisor to Joe Biden and Obama economics team member, wrote a jarring article about the government’s “need” for more taxpayer dollars in The American Prospect’s Spring 2016 issue.
“if we want to improve our infrastructure, push back on global warming, fight poverty and inequality, and improve health and retirement security, we’re going to need still more revenue,” Bernstein wrote.
His statements proposing higher taxes included calls for raising taxes on the wealthy, everyone else and increasing the estate tax:
“Those with the highest incomes should face the highest tax rates”
“it’s a mistake to limit tax hikes to the very wealthy”
“a great place to start broadening the base is with the estate tax, which right now reaches only 0.2 percent of estates”
Bernstein even admitted he would support raising income tax rates “significantly, by as much as half again (to around 60 percent) or more” on people who make more than $400,000.
While Bernstein didn’t explicitly promote Clinton’s “Fair Share Surcharge” in that piece, The American Prospect’s co-founder and co-editor Robert Kuttner did.
“Bernie Sanders might be the best thing that ever happened to Hillary Clinton,” Kuttner gushed on Aug. 2, 2016. According to Kuttner, Sanders pushed Clinton to adopt “a far more progressive pocketbook program,” which includes taxing the rich “to pay for needed infrastructure and jobs,” attacking Wall Street, and challenging “dubious” trade
Media Matters for America, an online “progressive research and information center” has been advancing another form of election activism. Instead of directly supporting the liberal candidates or The Progressive Agenda, Media Matters seeks to discredit opposition to liberal policies including immigration, minimum wage, and taxing the rich. Soros has given Media Matters a total of $1,020,000 to continue their attacks on conservatives.
Entertainment Media Promote Same Agenda As Clinton and Soros
Soros’ considerable influence in the media was not just found in newsrooms and television stations. It’s also in film, music and entertainment media.
Sundance institute spreads “social change” by featuring films that celebrate gay rights, abortion, and wealth redistribution.
The Sundance Institute understands that film doesn’t just “delight and entertain.” It also has the power to inspire “empathy and understanding, and even lead to social change.” Liberals understand this power which is why Soros gave it an incredible $15,083,515 — the second largest amount he’s given to any media group.
With a donation that size, it’s unsurprising that Sundance — and the increasingly liberal Sundance Film Festival — are full of films that promote the same left-wing agenda under the guise of “storytelling.”
Though Sundance did not endorse a candidate, their films advanced the same “social change” items on Clinton’s platform. That included gay rights, income inequality, and abortion. Clinton repeatedly says abortion should be safe and legal — but has long abandoned saying it should be “rare.”
Of the 16 dramas at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, five featured gay themes or characters. As You Are, for example, followed the relationship of two teenage boys, The Intervention featured a lesbian couple, and foreign film Viva took place in Havana’s drag scene.
A documentary called Trapped promoted abortion-on-demand. It asked viewers to sympathize with women who wanted abortions but couldn’t get them because of restrictive abortion laws.
Three years ago, Sundance’s U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award went to Inequality for All, a documentary narrated by former Bill Clinton labor secretary Robert Reich.
That film hyped income inequality by making outlandish comparisons between the Koch brothers’ investments and a restaurant worker’s wages (minus tips), tried to create a $15 minimum wage movement and demanded its viewers “find, start and support unions.” In fact, the film’s website read like a summary of Clinton’s agenda packaged in documentary form. It demanded education investment and tax increases to “ensure everyone is contributing their fair share.”
Last but not least, Al Gore’s wildly inaccurate climate-alarmist film, An Inconvenient Truth, premiered at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival.
According to The Washington Post, “The official Sundance Film Festival guide calls the documentary a ‘gripping story’ with ‘visually mesmerizing presentation’ that is ‘activist cinema at its very best.’” That was high praise for a glorified slideshow — especially from a festival celebrating visual media.
Alatheia Larsen contributes posts at the NewsBusters site where she is a staff writer/research analyst for MRC Business.
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