October 13, 2011
Reuters vs. Reuters: News agency makes an ass of itself by trying to connect George Soros to Occupy Wall Street.
But some Reuters people realize it, and call their company out! “There was no story, and nothing to report.”
Reuters then backs down, changing the story line on its report.  Or does it? 
It all started with this report from Reuters, suggesting a link between one of the right wing’s major freak-out figures, George Soros (who does fund some liberal causes) and Occupy Wall Street. 
 
There has been much speculation over who is financing the disparate protest, which has spread to cities across America and lasted nearly four weeks. 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 with an inventive marketing campaign aimed at sparking an Arab Spring type uprising against Wall Street. Moreover, Soros and the protesters share some ideological ground.

So what are those “indirect links?” Thin. Very thin. In 2007-09 Soros funded the Tides Foundation, a kind of liberal clearinghouse that accepts donations from a wide range of givers and supports a wide range of progressive causes.  
 
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.  
Disclosure documents also show Tides, which declined comment, gave Adbusters grants of $185,000 from 2001-2010, including nearly $26,000 between 2007-2009.

How thin? We’ll let New York Magazine describe it. “Years before the Occupy Wall Street protests were even a gleam in anyone’s eye, a trickle of Soros’s money went to one of the groups involved.”
Perhaps the most amazing passage was this:

Pressed further for his views on the movement and the protesters, Soros refused to be drawn in. But conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh summed up the speculation when he told his listeners last week, “George Soros money is behind this.”

That’s a beautiful “but…”
New York mag speculated that the purpose might have been to grab linkage from the Drudge Report. If so, it worked. Screen shot.
The Awl noticed what was going on.
Here is what I said on Twitter:

Seriously, Reuters? This is pathetic: http://jr.ly/7fin And people know it’s pathetic.

To which Jim Impoco, executive editor of Thomson Reuters Digital, said:

That’s putting it kindly.

Anthony DeRosa, social media editor for Reuters, said on Twitter:

When I read “Rush Limbaugh summed up the speculation” I wanted to crawl under a rock.

Which I can well understand. 
Felix Salmon, financial blogger for Reuters, called the report “ridiculous” and took his employers to task: “The angle we went with is not a story,” he wrote.
And the “indirect link” is bullshit, he said. (My term.)

The fact that Soros gave money to Tides and that Tides gave money to Adbusters in no way means that there’s an “indirect financial link” between the two. That’s like saying that there’s an “indirect financial link” between me and Mitt Romney, because I lend money to Citigroup (I’m a depositor at Citibank), and Citigroup has given money to Romney.

Salmon spoke plainly…

Reuters cannot — must not — get a reputation as a right-wing media outlet. We have to report the news as impartially as we can. In this case, there was no story, and nothing to report. Inventing a tenuous and intellectually-dishonest link between Soros and OWS might get us traffic from Matt Drudge — but that’s traffic which, frankly, we don’t particularly value or care for. Much more importantly, it serves to undermine the heart of what Reuters stands for. And we can never afford to do that.

By the close of business, Reuters seemed to be backing down. Or was it? Here is what I mean….
This is the first paragraph of the Reuters story at 7:12 am New York time, headlined, Who’s Behind the Wall Street Protests?

Anti-Wall Street protesters say the rich are getting richer while average Americans suffer, but the group that started it all may have benefited indirectly from the largesse of one of the world’s richest men.

The first paragraph of the same story (with the same URL) at 5:38 pm New York time, headlined, Soros: Not a Funder of Wall Street Protests.

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.

But here was the first paragraph of the story (same URL) at 8:02 pm New York time, headlined (once again) Who’s Behind the Wall Street Protests?

Anti-Wall Street protesters say the rich are getting richer while average Americans suffer, but the group that started it all may have benefited indirectly from the largesse of one of the world’s richest men.

Hold on! At 9:20 pm we’re back to Soros: Not a Funder of Wall Street Protests.
I can’t discern what Reuters is up to here… Can you?
The New York Observer notes the confusion.
The Atlantic gets an explanation, of sorts, from Reuters.
The reviews are in: basically, everyone hated it.
(Photo by Hatters. Creative Commons license Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0)

Reuters vs. Reuters: News agency makes an ass of itself by trying to connect George Soros to Occupy Wall Street.

But some Reuters people realize it, and call their company out! “There was no story, and nothing to report.”

Reuters then backs down, changing the story line on its report.  Or does it? 

It all started with this report from Reuters, suggesting a link between one of the right wing’s major freak-out figures, George Soros (who does fund some liberal causes) and Occupy Wall Street. 

There has been much speculation over who is financing the disparate protest, which has spread to cities across America and lasted nearly four weeks. 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 with an inventive marketing campaign aimed at sparking an Arab Spring type uprising against Wall Street. Moreover, Soros and the protesters share some ideological ground.

So what are those “indirect links?” Thin. Very thin. In 2007-09 Soros funded the Tides Foundation, a kind of liberal clearinghouse that accepts donations from a wide range of givers and supports a wide range of progressive causes.  

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.  

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

How thin? We’ll let New York Magazine describe it. “Years before the Occupy Wall Street protests were even a gleam in anyone’s eye, a trickle of Soros’s money went to one of the groups involved.”

Perhaps the most amazing passage was this:

Pressed further for his views on the movement and the protesters, Soros refused to be drawn in. But conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh summed up the speculation when he told his listeners last week, “George Soros money is behind this.”

That’s a beautiful “but…”

New York mag speculated that the purpose might have been to grab linkage from the Drudge Report. If so, it worked. Screen shot.

The Awl noticed what was going on.

Here is what I said on Twitter:

Seriously, Reuters? This is pathetic: http://jr.ly/7fin And people know it’s pathetic.

To which Jim Impoco, executive editor of Thomson Reuters Digital, said:

That’s putting it kindly.

Anthony DeRosa, social media editor for Reuters, said on Twitter:

When I read “Rush Limbaugh summed up the speculation” I wanted to crawl under a rock.

Which I can well understand. 

Felix Salmon, financial blogger for Reuters, called the report “ridiculous” and took his employers to task: “The angle we went with is not a story,” he wrote.

And the “indirect link” is bullshit, he said. (My term.)

The fact that Soros gave money to Tides and that Tides gave money to Adbusters in no way means that there’s an “indirect financial link” between the two. That’s like saying that there’s an “indirect financial link” between me and Mitt Romney, because I lend money to Citigroup (I’m a depositor at Citibank), and Citigroup has given money to Romney.

Salmon spoke plainly…

Reuters cannot — must not — get a reputation as a right-wing media outlet. We have to report the news as impartially as we can. In this case, there was no story, and nothing to report. Inventing a tenuous and intellectually-dishonest link between Soros and OWS might get us traffic from Matt Drudge — but that’s traffic which, frankly, we don’t particularly value or care for. Much more importantly, it serves to undermine the heart of what Reuters stands for. And we can never afford to do that.

By the close of business, Reuters seemed to be backing down. Or was it? Here is what I mean….

This is the first paragraph of the Reuters story at 7:12 am New York time, headlined, Who’s Behind the Wall Street Protests?

Anti-Wall Street protesters say the rich are getting richer while average Americans suffer, but the group that started it all may have benefited indirectly from the largesse of one of the world’s richest men.

The first paragraph of the same story (with the same URL) at 5:38 pm New York time, headlined, Soros: Not a Funder of Wall Street Protests.

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.

But here was the first paragraph of the story (same URL) at 8:02 pm New York time, headlined (once again) Who’s Behind the Wall Street Protests?

Anti-Wall Street protesters say the rich are getting richer while average Americans suffer, but the group that started it all may have benefited indirectly from the largesse of one of the world’s richest men.

Hold on! At 9:20 pm we’re back to Soros: Not a Funder of Wall Street Protests.

I can’t discern what Reuters is up to here… Can you?

The New York Observer notes the confusion.

The Atlantic gets an explanation, of sorts, from Reuters.

The reviews are in: basically, everyone hated it.

(Photo by Hatters. Creative Commons license Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0)

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