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Wednesday, September 4, 2013
MRC Drags Columbia U. Into Its Anti-Soros Crusade
Topic: Media Research Center

It's been a while since the Media Research Center has inflicted its obsession with George Soros on its readers, so we were due. And the MRC delivers with an Aug. 28 "special report" by Mike Ciandella using Soros to attack the Columbia University journalism school.

But as with many MRC "special reports," this one falls into the not-so-special category, sloppily written to suggest more sinister connections than the facts bear out.

Ciandella's big claim is that "Columbia has received $9.7 million from left-wing billionaire George Soros, more support than he has given to all but three other schools." But if you go to the section of the report detailing that, Ciandella says that the donations are since 2000, and his lack of further detail tells us that the amount is for all Soros donations to Columbia, not just to the j-school as he suggests.

(By contrast, the the Koch Family Charitable Foundations, operated by conservative billionaire Koch brothers, have given more than $29 million to George Mason University since 1985, and Ciandella doesn't seem too concerned about that.)

Still, that amount over 13 years is still one-fourth of what the Unification Church doles out every single year to keep the conservative Washington Times alive.

Ciandella also asserts that "Of the 40 full-time members of the faculty, 27 work at explicitly left-wing outlets including The Huffington Post, Slate, The American Prospect, Mother Jones, Salon, The Nation and Greenpeace." But "work for" typically means being paid, and Ciandella provides no evidence that the professors who "work for" these "left-wing" outlets receive money for their contributions. For instance, the Huffington Post does not pay its bloggers.

Ciandella goes on to huff that "Many of these professors not only write for these liberal outlets, but actually work full-time for them as well," citing as one example "Thomas B. Edsall with the Huffington Post." In fact, Edsall hasn't worked for the Huffington Post since 2010.

Further, Ciandella is using "left-wing" and "liberal" interchangeably, which further indicates the level of intellectual sloppiness in his report.

Ciandella even takes the respected Columbia Journalism Review for allegedly being "left of center":

On February 19, 2013, CJR published a fairly ironic report bashing the conservative-leaning Donor’s Trust, while referring to (and agreeing with) a report which claimed that Soros’s Open Society Foundations and the liberal Tides Foundation were “markedly more transparent about where money comes from and where it goes.”

Ironically, Ciandella doesn't disclose whether his employer, the MRC, has received any Donors Trust money. That lack of disclosure is typical here: Ciandella's report is bereft of endnotes that would detail where he got his information from, which a real researcher would do.

That's how bad and biased this report is.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:23 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, September 4, 2013 2:25 PM EDT

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