Seems to be a big bogeyman in RW circles. Sort of a LW parallel to the Koch Brothers. But with more of an internationalist flavor, and he is much discussed worldwide, particularly (ISTM) in Eastern Europe. Mostly based on his organization, the Open Society Foundations.
But what’s the Straight Dope? How much influence do he and his organization really have? And to what extent is this influence exerted in service of LW causes, versus causes that would be supported by the spectrum of Western society?
[I’ve put this in GD because he seems to be a polarizing figure, but it may turn out that it belongs elsewhere.]
The cheap bastard only pays you $1500? Unless you’re one of the B-grade junior writers, you’re being ripped off. Thanks to George Soros, I make more than $5000 a week in my spare time, working from home in my pajamas writing liberal commentary, with nothing more than an Internet connection and my fertile brain.
See, the thing is, wealthy American industrialists are basically sweet innocent naifs who never know who to vote for, and never involve themselves in any kind of political influence, so George and I are always trying to turn them. This is why politics in America has always been a sort of stalemate between Soros and the Kochs, kind of like Superman vs. Lex Luthor. They’re the only players, really. But I’m pretty sure that by now George and I have turned every billionaire and wealthy industrialist in America into a solid voting bloc for the Democrats. They say that even the Kochs are having second thoughts.
The most significant thing about the Kochs is not so much their direct dollar contributions, but the way that they leverage their money and influence. Just to cite a few random examples:
The secretive donor conferences they hold regularly are basically giant fundraising events involving mostly the nation’s billionaires and the occasional prominent political ideologues; the Kochs individual contributions are minor compared to the total that they are instrumental in raising. And “dark money” donor organizations help make the contributions as anonymous as the donors would like, all helped along nicely by the Citizens United ruling.
The incursion of Koch money into post-secondary education to promote what can only be called libertarian studies, explicitly intended to produce a generation of like-minded zealots
The incursion of Koch money into what might be the very last bastion of independent journalism in America, public broadcasting, wherein David Koch is a major contributor to PBS and on the board of trustees of several of its flagship stations, and has already had a malign influence on its programming
Those totals are very low because they only address direct political involvement in campaigns. According to Wikipedia the Open Society Foundation has spent $1.5 billion supporting liberal causes in the US from 1993-2015, which is an average of 68 million a year. For instance Soros gave 33 million dollars in 2014 to groups associated with Black Lives Matter.
No, what’s funny is thinking of “getting money from the government” in terms of Pravda and the former Soviet Union. Public broadcasting in civilized countries generally operates under a well-defined mandate with strict legal independence. I was always amused, for instance, when the CBC in Canada kept getting accused of “liberal bias” even after almost a decade of Stephen Harper conservative rule.