Is Glenn Beck Working for Reuters? UPDATED

That might explain the piece the wire service ran today, under the headline, “Who’s Behind the Wall Street Protests?”

Reporters Mark Egan and Michelle Nichols suggest that Glenn Beck’s demented chalkboard scribbles might have actually been on the right track; the protests “may have benefited indirectly from the largesse of one of the world’s richest men”– George Soros.

They write:

One name that keeps coming up is investor George Soros, who in September debuted in the top 10 list of wealthiest Americans. Conservative critics contend the movement is a Trojan horse for a secret Soros agenda.

Soros and the protesters deny any connection. But Reuters did find indirect financial links between Soros and Adbusters, an anti-capitalist group in Canada which started the protests.

Readers learn than none other than Rush Limbaugh has been able to see the clear-as-day connection:

But conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh summed up the speculation when he told his listeners last week, “George Soros money is behind this.”

Indeed, when one thinks of the grassroots activists occupying Wall Street, the first question is how on Earth they are bankrolling such a costly project.

Reuters eventually gets to the heart of the critique, and sure enough it involves the Tides Center–another Glenn Beck obsession. They report:

According to disclosure documents from 2007-2009, Soros’ Open Society gave grants of $3.5 million to the Tides Center, a San Francisco-based group that acts almost like a clearing house for other donors, directing their contributions to liberal non-profit groups. Among others the Tides Center has partnered with are the Ford Foundation and the Gates Foundation.

That’s actually a somewhat accurate description of what Tides does–which makes the connection to the demonstrations… what, exactly? Here we go:

Disclosure documents also show Tides, which declined comment, gave Adbusters grants of $185,000 from 2001-2010, including nearly $26,000 between 2007-2009.

So a philanthropic clearinghouse of sorts received money from a Soros charity. And Adbusters, over the years, has received money from that same clearinghouse. Couldn’t be clearer!

The Reuters piece has been picked apart by, among others, Salon‘s Alex Pareene and Noreen Malone at New York magazine. And a Huffington Post story points out that it’s been criticized by other Reuters journalists:

Several Reuters journalists also attacked the story. Business and media writer Felix Salmon called the article “ridiculous” and social media editor Anthony DeRosa said, “When I read ‘Rush Limbaugh summed up the speculation’ I wanted to crawl under a rock.”

UPDATE: According to the New York Observer, at some point Reuters switched to a story headlined “Soros: Not a Funder of Wall Street Protests.”

The original story unsurprisingly found its way to Fox News Channel— here’s an exchange from last night’s O’Reilly Factor with Margaret Hoover:

O’REILLY: I think these guys were organized by the George Soros-funded MoveOn operations. Reuters, by the way, has an article on that today that you have to read, Hoover, linking in the Soros money to these agitators.

HOOVER: And what that article actually said is that Soros money had funded the original group Adbusters.

O’REILLY: That’s right.

HOOVER: But the last time Soros directly funded it was seven years ago. Although a lot of Soros money — and this is the thing about Soros money, is that because it is…

O’REILLY: It’s everywhere.

HOOVER: It’s everywhere.

O’REILLY: It’s everywhere.

HOOVER: And small amounts to all these progressive groups that are progressive groups. There’s no way…

O’REILLY: You know what Soros money — did you see “Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” where if you went to sleep you became an alien? That’s like Soros money. You go to sleep and they come.

About Peter Hart

Activism Director and and Co-producer of CounterSpinPeter Hart is the activism director at FAIR. He writes for FAIR's magazine Extra! and is also a co-host and producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. He is the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly (Seven Stories Press, 2003). Hart has been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Associated Press. He has also appeared on Showtime and in the movie Outfoxed. Follow Peter on Twitter at @peterfhart.