Saturday, October 15, 2011

And now, for something not-so-different

We devote most of our line space here at RMEW to an analysis of Reuters use of propaganda in its Middle East reporting.  But it doesn't end there.  Indeed, dubious journalistic practices crop up anywhere Reuters correspondents seek to inject their ideological leanings into their work.

Take for example, this story published on Thursday of this week following reports that billionaire financier George Soros may have funded, in part, the current "Occupy Wall Street" demonstrations.  Reuters correspondents Mark Egan and Michelle Nichols lead with the headline:
Soros: not a funder of Wall Street protests
Technically, the colon indicates that Soros is disclaiming responsibility for funding the protests, i.e., Soros is the one doing the talking.  But read with a less careful eye, the headline appears to be an objective and definitive finding (which as we will see, it is not).

Indeed, the first story paragraph reasserts the notion that Soros is (absolutely, positively) not responsible for funding the protests:
NEW YORK (Reuters) - George Soros isn't a financial backer of the Wall Street protests, despite speculation by critics including radio host Rush Limbaugh that the billionaire investor has helped fuel the anti-capitalist movement.
It's not until the third paragraph that Egan and Nichols tell us from whence they derive this conclusive truth:
Soros spokesman Michael Vachon said that Soros has not "funded the protests directly or indirectly." He added: "Assertions to the contrary are an attempt by those who oppose the protesters to cast doubt on the authenticity of the movement."
Ah, so it's simply a spokesman for Soros doing the disclaiming.  Thank you for that clarification.

Egan and Nichols then go on to map the much-reported relationship between Soros and the Tides Foundation (Soros has given $3.5 million to Tides) which has, in turn, donated $185,000 to the anti-capitalist group Adbusters, that has acknowledged inciting the Wall Street demonstrations.  But the Reuters correspondents seek to support their thesis that Soros has had no hand in the funding of the protests by again parroting Soros' own spokesman:
Vachon said Open Society specified what its donations could be used for. He said they were not general purpose funds to be used at the discretion of Tides -- for example for grants to Adbusters. "Our grants to Tides were for other purposes."
Of course, the reality is that money is fungible; for every dollar donated to Tides by Soros for "other purposes", a dollar donated to Tides by other sources is freed-up to be given to Adbusters.

Egan and Nichols fail to point out the obvious, but then that would distract from their propaganda campaign on behalf of George Soros.

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