$3.6 Million from Soros Backs 'Occupy Wall Street', Media Ignore or Downplay Connection

Left-wing financier George Soros is at it again. While he may claim he’s not behind the Occupy Wall Street protests, funding from his foundations says otherwise. Soros threw his support behind the movement at a United Nations panel on Oct. 3, “I can sympathize with their grievances.” But he does more than just sympathize, his foundations funded groups that back the protests and steer their “progressive” message.

Reuters even posed the question “Who’s behind the Wall St. protests?” on Oct. 13, but downplayed Soros’s actual financial involvement. Even though “Soros and the protesters share some ideological ground,” the story added. But Reuters undersold the connection significantly.

The protesters stand by their claim that theirs is purely a grassroots movement. But it is hard to ignore the concerted effort by liberal groups, unions, and other Soros-funded entities that prop-up and fuel the Occupy movement. An echo-chamber of left-wing blogs and news sites that receive Soros cash continues to push the anti-capitalist protest story. Articles repeatedly praise labor and climate activists for their support while denigrating police for their efforts to keep the peace.

Organizations that joined the protesters were granted more than $3.6 million from Soros’s Open Society Foundations. On Oct. 5 there was a “march in solidarity with #occupywallstreet” that listed seven such groups out of the 16 overall supporting the protest. Those seven organizations received $3,614,690 from Soros’ Open Society Foundations since the year 2000, with more than $2 million going to Common Cause Education Fund, part of Common Cause, and another $1.1 million to MoveOn.org.

Even the protesters admit the hypocrisy of having billionaire Soros and MoveOn.org “joining forces to voice their ‘support’ for an anti-Wall Street movement” and that it ‘should set alarm bells ringing.” Additional funding went to the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Community Voices Heard, Coalition for the Homeless, Neighborhood Economic Development Advocacy Project (NEDAP), and 350.org.

Those left-wing organizations were joined by their friends in the progressive media. A publication for the protesters, the “Occupy Wall Street Journal,” is supported by the Independent Media Center which received more than $70,000 from two parts of the Tides organization. This group donates millions of dollars to liberal causes and is partially funded by Soros. Since 2000, Tides received $25,991,845 from his Open Society Foundations. Reuters only noted the $3.5 million from 2007-2009 but failed to mention the long history of funding and the other $20 million.

Tides is made up of the Tides Center, which received $7,537,482, and the Tides Foundation, which got an additional nearly $18,454,363. Adbusters, which Reuters called “an anti-capitalist group in Candada which started the protests,” received $184,721 in Tides money.  

Soros-funded progressive media also championed the protest. The liberal echo-chamber that reaches more than 300 million people every month has been hard at work promoting the protests. The Media Consortium received $425,000 from Soros’s Open Society Foundations, and affiliates have been busy promoting Occupy Wall Street. These sites promoted stories about big labor support, climate activists’ support, and police brutality.

Media Consortium member AlterNet, which is part of the Independent Media Institute that got an extra $495,000 from Soros, has a section of their website for “Special Coverage: Occupy Wall Street.” Here it has articles that bust “5 conservative economic myths” such as “regulations kill jobs” and “business does everything better than government.” It also lauds big labor for joining the protests. AlterNet’s Kristen Gwynne was even arrested during a protest.

The Center for American Progress received $7.3 million from Soros’s Open Society Foundations. CAP is also where former Green Jobs Czar Van Jones, now a senior fellow, landed after being forced out of the Obama Administration,. Two of their blogs, that also happen to be part of the Media Consortium, helped promote the protest, Campus Progress and Think Progress. They also wrote about climate activists that support the movement. Campus Progress described “police brutality” at the protests while Think Progress thinks there is a “double standard on occupy wall street and the tea party.” They criticized how conservative pundits vilify the 99 Percent Movement as “misguided, irrelevant, or even dangerous” while embracing the Tea Party as part of the “conservative echo chamber.”

As the Business & Media Institute has reported, a study 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." Ironic how Think Progress used the same “echo chamber” term to write-off the so-called conservative “double standard”. 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."

Consortium members used this methodology once again when they covered the protests. One common theme was the celebration of big labor when they joined the Occupy movement. Left-wing magazine Mother Jones praised plans to offer manpower and resources, stage marches, and add “organizing muscle” to the protests. A similar article by In These Times quoted AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka that they will support the protest “in every way.”

Climate activists were also hailed for their support while police efforts were sharply criticized. Grist celebrated climate activists for getting involved. A coalition led by 350.org founder Bill McKibben embraced the movement, which Soros gave $8,900. However, Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman went down to the protests for a closer look and proceeded to write how the protest expanded “despite police effort to ‘silence’ demonstrations.” More examples of “police brutality” were covered by Alternet while Think Progress posted an update on the Transport Workers Union refusal to bus protesters that the police arrested to show support.