The just-held National Conference for Media Reform in St. Louis – which featured charges that the U.S. military targets journalists in Iraq – was sponsored by a group that received $400,000 from the George Soros-funded Open Society Institute over the last two years.
The organization, the Free Press, is based in Massachusetts and claims to be nonpartisan. But Soros, a convicted insider trader, spent $23 million last year to try to defeat President Bush.
Linda Foley, president of the 35,000-member Newspaper Guild, stirred controversy at the event by alleging, without evidence, that the U.S. military had “targeted” journalists in Iraq and had a “cavalier” approach toward their deaths.
Left-leaning former PBS television host Bill Moyers also spoke to the conference.
A new report by media watchdog Accuracy in Media, or AIM, provides details of Soros’ funding and draws attention to how the billionaire’s Open Society Institute subsidized a journalist working on a CNN program designed to further his agenda of ending incarceration for dangerous criminals.
AIM says the CNN program, “Reasonable Doubt: Can Crime Labs be Trusted?,” which aired several times in January, was written in part by a journalist, Robin Mejia, who had received $45,000 from the Soros-funded OSI. The show was prepared in cooperation with the Center for Investigative Reporting and hosted by Aaron Brown.
The AIM report, written by AIM editor Cliff Kincaid, is available at the group’s website.
AIM says the conference represents the latest effort of a “Soros-supported media network” whose political clout was demonstrated just before last year’s presidential election when Sinclair Broadcasting was preparing to air “Stolen Honor,” a film raising questions about the impact of John Kerry’s 1971 anti-war testimony on U.S. POWs being held by the communists.
Kerry had branded U.S. soldiers as war criminals, and POWs interviewed in “Stolen Honor” said this resulted in more torture. The Democratic Party, the Kerry campaign and various groups denounced Sinclair for planning to air the film.
MediaChannel.org, Common Cause, the Alliance for Better Campaigns, Media Access Project, Media for Democracy and the Office of Communication of the United Church of Christ held an anti-Sinclair news conference and denounced the broadcaster for allegedly abusing the public airwaves by planning to air “propaganda.”?
The anti-Sinclair effort forced the network to abandon any hope of airing the entire film.
The critics called for the Federal Communications Commission to intervene to stop Sinclair. All of these organizations – except for the possible exception of the Office of Communication of the United Church of Christ – are funded by the Soros Open Society Institute. Media Matters, a left-wing media watchdog group that also was pressuring Sinclair, was “developed” with help from the Center for American Progress, funded by Soros.
Two of the speakers at the Media Reform conference were David Brock of Media Matters and Andrew Jay Schwartzman of the Media Access Project. Together with Thomas Athans of Democracy Radio, they are backing a “Renew the Fairness Doctrine” campaign to have the FCC monitor and regulate conservative media sources.
Their website is registered to Nicco Mele, the webmaster for Howard Dean’s 2004 campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Mele started the Internet strategy group EchoDitto along with several other former members of the Dean Internet team. It now is a consulting firm with close to 20 full-time employees and a variety of high-profile clients and projects.
Those projects include Air America Radio, Alliance For Security, Barack Obama’s U.S. Senate campaign, Campaign For America’s Future, Defenders of Wildlife, Democracy For America, Democracy Radio, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Miramax Books, NoIraqDraft.com, Service Employees International Union and the U.N. World Food Program.
While the Soros-funded “media reform” movement seeks to stifle or mute conservative voices, evidence has emerged that Soros is underwriting journalists who promote his own point of view on major issues.
Robin Mejia, identified at the end of the CNN “Reasonable Doubt” documentary as a “producer/reporter” and “writer,” told AIM she has not concealed the fact that she received $45,000 from the Soros-funded Open Society Institute.
Meijia confirmed that she solicited funds from the Open Society Institute by promising to conduct research into the problems of forensic science and how they lead to wrongful convictions. That was the theme of the CNN show.
The Center for Investigative Reporting, identified by CNN as helping to produce the program, received $142,600 from the Open Society Institute for its “partisan justice” investigative journalism project and a separate $52,000 for a “Courting Justice” project.
In its own account of its role in the CNN “Reasonable Doubt” show, CIR acknowledges that, “Funding for this investigation was provided in part by a 2003 Soros Justice Media Fellowship awarded to Robin Mejia by the Open Society Institute and by a grant to CIR from the Ford Foundation and CIR’s Investigative Venture Fund.”
The CIR board includes such media luminaries as Seymour Hersh, who specializes in atrocity stories about U.S. military personnel; Moyers; Mike Wallace of “60 Minutes”; and Judy Woodruff of CNN.
AIM was alerted to the CNN program by experts on the criminal justice system who were shocked that the network would air such a one-sided show and conceal the Soros role in funding a journalist who worked on it.
On the CNN website, the program was advertised this way: “A joint investigation by CNN and the Center for Investigative Reporting examines the lack of standards, quality controls and training at many of the nation’s forensic laboratories and raises serious doubts about some forensic scientists.”
The program left the impression that people were being wrongly incarcerated for rape and murder because of problems in crime labs relating to forensic evidence.
But one analyst told AIM, “The truth is that, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, less than half of all murders end with a murder conviction. Once convicted, the average sentence served for murder is 13 years. While some people may be wrongly incarcerated, the most serious problem is that society is not protected from the large number of violent criminals who are never prosecuted or who serve light sentences.”
This issue, the analyst told AIM, was not discussed in the program because it does not serve the Soros agenda.