Hardly a day goes by without the media raising questions about the influence of powerful GOP megadonors, but five liberal billionaires have been pouring money into politics in recent years with nary a peep from the Fourth Estate, according to new report from the Media Research Center’s Business and Media Institute and provided exclusively to Breitbart News.
These five left-wing donors have contributed at least $2.7 billion since 2000 “to groups pushing abortion, gun control, climate change alarmism, and liberal candidates,” the report found. But perhaps in part because the group owns a combined 88 media outlets, they have generally benefited from acclaim from the media, who described them as “giving back” to their communities.
The report studied five “clones” of famous liberal donor George Soros: former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffett, eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, hedge fund manager Tom Steyer, and Soros’ own son Jonathan Soros.
Because of their massive wealth, MRC–a conservative group that works to expose liberal bias in media–says they have been able to shape and influence public policy and popular opinion with little scrutiny from the press.
“Broadcast networks applauded when billionaire hedge fund manager Tom Steyer promised $100 million to influence environmental policy. CBS News praised Steyer for ‘giving back,’ and ABC News called the billionaire an ‘everyman,'” MRC wrote, adding:
Steyer wasn’t alone. Warren Buffett has donated more than $1.2 billion to the abortion industry, with contributions stretching back until at least 1989. Yet, since 2001, ABC, CBS, and NBC have only mentioned Buffett’s abortion funding once, out of 545 stories about him or interviews with him. And when former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg promised to devote $50 million to limit American gun rights, the networks praised his efforts as ‘grassroots’ and as a way to ‘combat gun violence.’
While “ABC, CBS, and NBC have mentioned Buffett in 545 stories since January 2001, the three broadcast networks only once alluded to Warren Buffett’s connection with abortion during their morning and evening news shows,” Mike Ciandella of MRC’s Business and Media Institute wrote. “These same three networks praised Bloomberg for his $50 million ‘grassroots’ effort to fight the NRA, and dubbed Steyer and Jonathan Soros an antidote to the ‘secretive’ Koch brothers. Omidyar hasn’t even been mentioned by the networks since 2011,” he added.
Although the report does not address it, members of the group have also spent vast sums lobbying to push comprehensive immigration reform, and Bloomberg donated $250,000 to a super PAC to help Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) stave off a primary challenge.
Bloomberg, Buffett, Omidyar, Steyer, and Jonathan Soros have built an empire that spans every issue across the spectrum of politics and amassed large media distribution networks.
For example, the 88 separate media outlets they own comprise “a combined print circulation of 3.6 million and a digital circulation several times larger,” the MRC wrote. Of those 88 outlets, 46 are print newspapers in national election swing states of Florida, North Carolina, Iowa and Virginia.
“Warren Buffett made headlines, in more ways than one, when he began buying up 75 small and mid-sized newspapers throughout the country. Bloomberg and Omidyar also own small media empires in their own right, while Steyer and the younger Soros have poured millions into liberal media outlets including Mother Jones, Media Matters, and Think Progress,” the MRC wrote.
The report cites a leaked 2013 briefing report from the Democracy Alliance–a secretive “coalition of liberal bankrollers”–that noted what the left’s goal was in organizing this media and political influence operation: “Progressives’ long term success hinges on our ability to fundamentally change our current political system – including large questions about who can vote, the role money should play in politics, and what our courts look like,” the leaked leftwing strategy document reads.
“The Democracy Alliance, founded in part by liberal billionaires George Soros and Peter Lewis, seeks to coordinate the donations of dozens of wealthy liberals including eco-activist billionaire Steyer and Soros’ own son, Jonathan,” Ciandella wrote. “The Alliance encourages its supporters to donate to 172 liberal groups that made up a ‘Progressive Infrastructure Map.'”
Each one of these Soros “clones” plays a different role in that progressive influence operation, spreading their funding across the spectrum of issues, hitting everything from environmentalism to abortion to gun control.
When it came to abortion, Ciandella noted, “Buffett was king,” having used his foundation to donate $1.2 billion to various pro-abortion institutions. On gun control, Bloomberg ran point for the left–funneling $50 million to go after Americans’ Second Amendment protections.
“EBay founder Pierre Omidyar used $250 million of his extensive personal resources to launch his own journalism organization, First Look Media,” Ciandella continued. “It became a platform for anti-American reporter Glenn Greenwald, whom NSA-leaker Edward Snowden entrusted with many of his stolen secrets. Greenwald has been an outspoken critic of Israel and defender of Hamas. He accused the US. government of seeking to ‘enable Israeli aggression’ during the Israeli/Palestinian conflict in July 2014.”
Steyer is at the center of “funding climate change alarmism,” Ciandella wrote, and Jonathan Soros is picking up his father’s “legacy” running an operation that “hypocritically targets Super PACs” aiming to “get money out of politics.”
The report from MRC’s Business and Media Institute rates each one of the liberal donors on their effectiveness on a one through five scale, with five being the most effective. Bloomberg got the highest rating of 4.5, Steyer came in second with 4, Buffett and Jonathan Soros tied for third with 3, and Omidyar came in fifth with an effectiveness rating of 2.
Media outlets Bloomberg controls include Bloomberg and BusinessWeek. The ones that Steyer influences include the Center for American Progress, Common Sense Media, and Center for Ecoliteracy. Buffett controls 75 local newspapers through BH Media Group, and the major source for Jonathan Soros to influence media is through the Center for Responsive Politics. Omidyar’s influence in media heads through First Look Media, Center for Public Integrity, Center for Responsive Politics, and Sunlight Foundation.
The report added, “There are dozens of other millionaires, billionaires, and political game changers on the left. Several big liberal players were not included in this report, including Rob McKay, the Taco Bell heir and big campaigner for higher minimum wage laws; George Kaiser, the billionaire oil tycoon who invested heavily in Oklahoma politics; Drummond Pike, the creator of the highly influential Tides Foundation.”