Newswire service Reuters published a piece today looking to follow the money and the foundation of Occupy Wall Street. The not-at-all-subtle headline by (Reuters’ New York and Northeastern Bureau Chief) Mark Egan and correspondent Michelle Nichols’ report: “Who’s behind the Wall St. protests?” Their answer is even better: liberal billionaire George Soros. How’d they get there?
1. Soros’ Open Society gave money to The Tides Center.
2. The Tides Center, a San Francisco-based quasi-clearinghouse for other nonprofit donations, gave money to AdBusters Magazine.
3. AdBusters—an anti-corporate Canadian magazine teenagers read when they’re 16 and listening to lots of Rage Against the Machine and dreaming of protesting globalization before they spend four years at Colgate, afterwards, ending up with a job at Wieden+Kennedy or something—made a poster suggesting people Occupy Wall Street.
4. AdBusters becomes relevant for the first time in, like, seven years when people actually Occupied Wall Street.
5. Reuters quotes Soros regarding Occupy Wall Street, context aside, as saying “I can understand their sentiment.”
6. Conclusion: George Soros is behind Occupy Wall Street.
7. Boom: Drudge Link.
This is basically like positing that because a Reuters reporter has an account at Bank of America and a history of spending money, he’s clearly funding the anti-Occupy Wall Street hypercapitalist-lobby.
Naturally, critics have not taken kindly to this reporting. Some reviews?
- The Atlantic‘s Alexis Madrigal: “This is how you do a hit piece on a distributed movement. Invent a leader with a Limbaugh quote and then attack him and the fictional mob he’s hired. Wow.”
- The Awl: “A+ Traffic-Trolling.”
- New York‘s Noreen Malone: “This story might not be out of place on Fox News, but at Reuters, which has always taken pains to stay above the partisan fray, it smells suspiciously like Drudge bait.”
- Max Read of Gawker: “which is better drudge bait, ‘SOROS BEHIND TK‘ or ‘MICHELLE OBAMA EATS FRIED TK’”
- New York Times reporter and The Lede blogger J. David Goodman: “Turns up little besides a shaky connection.”
- Reuters columnist and social media shaman Anthony DeRosa: “I’d sum up my personal feelings on the article as: that’s not @Reuters journalism.”
- Retuers’ own financial columnist Felix Salmon: “I think it’s ridiculous.”
- Notorious NYU journalism wonk Jay Rosen: “Seriously, Reuters? This is pathetic…I don’t see everything they run. But I do respect their operation. And I’ve never seen anything that lame from Reuters.”
- Executive editor of Thomson Reuters Digital Jim Impoco, following Jay Rosen’s comments: “That is putting it kindly.”
- Salon’s Justin Elliot: “Is Kevin Bacon the force behind Occupy Wall Street? It’s irresponsible not to ask.”
And so on.
firstname.lastname@example.org | @weareyourfek