Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler was the April fool on Saturday as he gave those claiming that Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who is currently prosecuting former President Donald Trump, is funded by George Soros three Pinocchios. Even worse, Kessler claimed such claims were “incendiary” and play “into antisemitic conspiracy theories.”
Kessler’s first attempt to rebut the claims is that “the intense focus on Soros is misplaced. Soros never directly funded Bragg, but instead contributed to a group that supported Bragg and other liberal candidates seeking to be prosecutors.”
Soros gave money to a group and that group gave money to Bragg, most people would say that means Soros funded Bragg. If Soros didn’t want his money going to people like Bragg, he would not be giving it to groups that support him.
Kessler then went full partisan activist, “Moreover, the repeated mention of Soros plays into antisemitic conspiracy theories that Soros, a Hungarian American Holocaust survivor, is a wealthy puppet-master who works behind the scenes to manipulate elections and further his goals. The Anti-Defamation League found in 2018 that Soros figures in a significant number of antisemitic tweets.”
In response to the absurd allegations of anti-Semitism, Trump campaign spokesman Steven Cheung asked “What world are you living in?”
Under the subheading “The Facts,” Kessler compared Soros to the Koch brothers by labeling him as “boogeyman,” but that has nothing to do with what he claims to be fact-checking.
He also wrote, “Soros supports candidates through occasional direct contributions, but mainly though his Democracy PAC or to groups that support candidates with what are known as independent expenditures... Independent expenditures are not coordinated with a campaign but work in support of one, such as through sending mailers or operating phone banks.”
Another distinction without a difference. Kessler continued to painfully attempt to argue Soros’s relationship with Bragg is not what conservatives are alleging. He reported that on May 8, Color of Change announced it’s plan to spend $1 million supporting Bragg and that on May 14, Soros sent Color of Change $1 million.
Kessler goes to great lengths to say that Soros’s donation had no impact on Color of Change’s endorsement, but again that misses the point. If Soros didn’t support Bragg or people like him, he would never have given Color of Change the money. Indirect support is still support.
Kessler also stresses “there is no evidence Soros has influence over Bragg,” but, once again, Kessler misses the point. Soros has an ideologically soft-on-crime preference for people like Bragg and donates money to groups who support prosecutors who share those preferences.
Wrapping up his article, Kessler returned to his absurd idea that focusing on Soros is anti-Semitic:
The incendiary focus on Soros raises more difficult questions. Given the tenuous connection between Soros and Bragg, it’s a dangerous game that plays into stereotypes of rich Jewish financiers secretly controlling events. ‘Even if unintentional, politicians and pundits repeating these unsubstantiated conspiracies essentially validate the same hateful myths propagated by antisemites,’ the ADL warns. ‘A person who promotes a Soros conspiracy theory may not intend to promulgate antisemitism. But Soros’s Jewish identity is so well-known that in many cases it is hard not to infer that meaning.’
If Soros is, as Kessler earlier implied, a Koch Brothers-like boogeyman, then how is criticizing him anti-Semitic? It isn’t and this “fact-check” is just a not-so clever way to try to shut people up.